— Environment —

Earth: A safe place to live?

What are the planetary boundaries?

It is unthinkable not to have a series on climate change and the environment. For those who don't know yet, what we call the environment is important to humans, but not for the planet and life in general. 

The planet has been rotating around its axis for 4.6 billion years and life has been there for about 4 billion years. Humanity won't influence that. Nature can withstand quite a lot, if human wellbeing is not considered. Even a meteorite impact did not kill all life. 

So why is the environment important to us? 

Because the environment, at least for humans, is bounded by what is called the planetary boundaries. These delineate the conditions necessary to make - and keep - human life possible and pleasant. This includes a certain concentration of oxygen. And water that is not acid. Our metabolism and food pyramid depend on it. It's not just about diesel versus petrol. 

If we believe we are important, the current equilibria are better not stretched to the limits. Again, what are the limits? Limits of conditions that are safe for humans. It's not about the planet or life. It's about us. Nature has to meet certain requirements so that humans feel good. 

Those requirements are in jeopardy. Read our articles on the environment and climate change. GondwanaTalks editor Kathelijne Bonne also writes Weekly World Climate Change News for the Universal Versatile Society, a UN Environment Programme recognized organization.

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I learned a lot on this topic through the free online courses of the SDG Academy (United Nations). SDG stands for Sustainable Development Goals. Jeffrey Sachs of the UN explains it awfully well.