The Changing Face of Our Planet

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The changing face of our planet

It is easy to take our World for granted. Here we are, held by an invisible force onto this planet that is spinning through the Universe. There is water, oxygen and food available and the planet is hospitable to us, providing virtually everything that we require to survive.

But many of us are starting to wake up to the fact that this human-friendly environment is not something that we can take for granted. In fact we are shaking the very foundations of the structure of our World. This has been the focus of 2 studies that have been published recently. They have painted a very worrying picture of how life on Earth is changing. Scientists from across the world collated the data and the findings have just been presented in seminars at the World Economic Forum.

The unsurprising claim is that humans are damaging the essential processes that underpin life on Earth, and at a rate that has never before been seen. We are literally “eating away at our own life support systems”. The video clip below gives an insight into the studies.

The study is quoted here:

The planetary boundaries framework defines a safe operating space for humanity based on the intrinsic biophysical processes that regulate the stability of the Earth System. Here, we revise and update the planetary boundaries framework, with a focus on the underpinning biophysical science, based on targeted input from expert research communities and on more general scientific advances over the past 5 years. Several of the boundaries now have a two-tier approach, reflecting the importance of cross-scale interactions and the regional-level heterogeneity of the processes that underpin the boundaries. Two core boundaries—climate change and biosphere integrity—have been identified, each of which has the potential on its own to drive the Earth System into a new state should they be substantially and persistently transgressed.

The researchers identified nine key elements that provide a liveable environment for humans here on Earth over the course of five years. Four of these nine have now been classified as ‘exceeding safe levels’. This is al due to human behaviour, including polluting the land and water systems, greenhouse gas emissions and the extensive use of chemicals for agriculture.planetary-boundaries-credit

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