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The anthropocene: from global change to planetary stewardship
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm Environment Institute.
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
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2011 (English)In: Ambio, ISSN 0044-7447, Vol. 40, no 7, 739-761 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Over the past century, the total material wealth of humanity has been enhanced. However, in the twenty-first century, we face scarcity in critical resources, the degradation of ecosystem services, and the erosion of the planet's capability to absorb our wastes. Equity issues remain stubbornly difficult to solve. This situation is novel in its speed, its global scale and its threat to the resilience of the Earth System. The advent of the Anthropence, the time interval in which human activities now rival global geophysical processes, suggests that we need to fundamentally alter our relationship with the planet we inhabit. Many approaches could be adopted, ranging from geo-engineering solutions that purposefully manipulate parts of the Earth System to becoming active stewards of our own life support system. The Anthropocene is a reminder that the Holocene, during which complex human societies have developed, has been a stable, accommodating environment and is the only state of the Earth System that we know for sure can support contemporary society. The need to achieve effective planetary stewardship is urgent. As we go further into the Anthropocene, we risk driving the Earth System onto a trajectory toward more hostile states from which we cannot easily return.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 40, no 7, 739-761 p.
Keyword [en]
Earth System; Anthropocence; Planetary stewardship; Ecosystem services; Resilience
National Category
Natural Sciences Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-65739DOI: 10.1007/s13280-011-0185-xISI: 000298500100003OAI: diva2:464556
16 authors: Steffen, W., Å. Persson, L. Deutsch, J. Zalasiewicz, M. Williams, K. Richardson, C. Crumley, P. Crutzen, C. Folke, L. Gordon, M. Molina, V. Ramanathan, J. Rockström, M. Scheffer, H.J. Schellnhuber and U. Svedin. - Special Section Issue: 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability / Guest edited by Carl Folke and Johan Rockström.Available from: 2011-12-13 Created: 2011-12-13 Last updated: 2012-01-29Bibliographically approved

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Persson, ÅsaDeutsch, LisaCrumley, CaroleFolke, CarlGordon, LineRockström, Johan
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