Johan Rockstrom: TED Talk: Let the environment guide our development

April 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Human growth has strained the Earth’s resources, but as Johan Rockstrom reminds us, our advances also give us the science to recognize this and change behavior. His research has found nine “planetary boundaries” that can guide us in protecting our planet’s many overlapping ecosystems.

If Earth is a self-regulating system, it’s clear that human activity is capable of disrupting it. Johan Rockstrom has led a team of scientists to define the nine Earth systems that need to be kept within bounds for Earth to keep itself in balance.

Johan Rockstrom
Johan Rockstrom

Why you should listen to him:

Johan Rockstrom is a leader of a new approach to sustainability: planetary boundaries. Working with a team of 29 leading scientists across disciplines, Rockstrom and the Stockholm Resilience Centre identified nine key Earth processes or systems — and marked the upper limit beyond which each system could touch off a major system crash. Climate change is certainly in the mix — but so are other human-made threats such as ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity, chemical pollution.

Rockstrom teaches natural resource management at Stockholm University, and is the Executive Director of the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Stockholm Resilience Centre. He’s a leading voice on global water, studying strategies to build resilience in water-scarce regions of the world. Fokus magazine named him “Swede of the Year” in 2009 for his work on bridging the science of climate change to policy and society.

“Rockstrom has managed in an easy, yet always scientifically based way, to convey our dependence of the planet’s resources, the risk of transgressing planetary boundaries and what changes are needed in order to allow humanity to continue to develop.” Anna Ritter, Fokus magazine

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