Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Long Range Thinking: Ready for the most exciting phase in human history?

This TED presentation is a must-see: it makes dealing with climate change and related problems seem achievable, and the presenter (Johan Rockstrom) delivers a fantastically engaging first half presentation via an inflatable globe and some unconventional stage moves, before moving into an assertive, more pragmatic second half.

He makes the case that this will be the most exciting 30 years in human history, as we undergo an unprecendented social and economic transformation in order to make the Earth a viable, ongoing business proposition for 9 billion people.

Rockstrom lists nine parameters (or 'safety fences') that humanity has to operate within. Basically, he sets out an owner's guide to operating the Earth. Those parameters are:

- climate change
- ozone levels
- ocean acidification
- levels of nitrogen and phosphorus
- freshwater use
- rate of biodiversity loss
- changes in land use
- air pollution
- chemical pollution

Rockstrom identifies three of these parameters as having already passed into the danger zone:

- climate change
- levels of nitrogen and phosphorus
- rate of biodiversity loss

By setting parameters that we have to operate within, and identifying the ones that urgently need to be dealt with, Rockstrom makes dealing with climate change and its related problems seem achievable.

Highly recommended (and a hat-tip to Hot Topic, where I first saw this presentation on the quadruple squeeze.)
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