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KN Rockstrom

Johan Rockström

New Paradigm to Navigate Humanity's Future on Earth


It is within the last 15 years that deep new scientific advancements have resulted in fundamental insights, giving us new concepts and frameworks such as the Great Acceleration and the Anthropocene, Tipping Elements in the Earth system, the Holocene stability, and the Planetary Boundaries framework. Taken together, this leads to two distressing facts that need to penetrate all higher education, across all disciplines; (1) that we are now - as humanity - at risk of distabilising the entire Earth system, i.e., the liveability on Earth, and (2) that we are no longer a "small world on a large planet" with apparent infinite growth potential as finite resources seemed so redundant, to now being a "large world on a small planet", where we are hitting the biophysical ceiling of Earth's finite carrying capacity. This "changes everything", necessitating a Paradigm shift, where human development, at any scale or sector, must "reconnect to the Planet" and be guided by science-based guardrails, targets, or boundaries, to avoid irreversible changes that undermine life support systems on Earth. Taken together, this requires rapid and fundamental integration of Earth system understanding across all disciplines of higher education, and in particular in economics and political science, as a way to once and for all position society and the economy, within the safe operating space on a stable and resilient Earth system.


New Paradigm to Navigate Humanity's Future on Earth - Keynote and Discussion



   Johan Rockström is an internationally recognized scientist on global sustainability issues. He led the development of the Planetary Boundaries framework for human development in the current era of rapid global change. He is a leading scientist on global water resources, with more than 25 years of experience in applied water research in tropical regions, and more than 150 research publications in fields ranging from applied land and water management to global sustainability.
In addition to his research endeavors, which have been widely used to guide policy, Rockström is active as a consultant for several governments and business networks. He also acts as an advisor for sustainable development issues at international meetings including the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conferences (UNFCCC). Professor Rockström chairs the advisory board for the EAT Foundation and the Earth League and has been appointed as chair of the Earth Commission.