Assessing planetary boundaries is a way of checking the health status of Earth’s operating systems. This week scientist published research on their assessment of the 9 planetary boundaries. Planetary boundaries are the limits of key global systems such as climate, water and wildlife diversity, beyond which their ability to maintain a healthy planet is in danger of failing.
This assessment is the first of all 9 planetary boundaries and as such is the first health check of the entire planet. They found that 6 of the 9 boundaries have been surpassed because of human caused pollution and destruction of the natural world. This means we are living beyond the capacity of that Earth system and it can no longer be depended on to support our needs. Air pollution and ocean acidification are not yet broken but may be close and atmospheric ozone is safe after action was taken to protect it in recent decades.
Scientist are most alarmed that the Living world is at the highest risk level (plants and animals) as these are essential to provide resilience such as trees to fix carbon. The scientists say that changing how we live can and taking action to restore healthy functioning ecosystems will slow progress towards potentially fundamental changes in Earth’s physical, biological and chemical life that we need to support all.
Professor Johan Rockstrom, one of the Reports authors, stated that ‘If you want to have security, prosperity and equity for humanity on Earth, you have to come back into the safe space and we are not seeing that progress currently in the world. The Earth could be thought of as a patient with very high blood pressure: that does not indicate a certain heart attack, but it does greatly raise the risk’
The report is published in: