With the future humanity itself teetering on a proverbial knife-edge as it fights to stave off the ravages of man-made destruction to our natural world, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation was quick to embrace last week’s Earth Day. It issued a no nonsense statement that spelled out the dangers of climate change and our loss of biodiversity as we continue to compromise the nine planetary boundaries – the environmental limits within which humanity can safely operate.
“This cannot go on,” it read. “We are already experiencing global devastation because we have overstepped four of these boundaries, and more will follow if we do not change our ways.
On Earth Day this year – 22 April – we must remind ourselves that humanity’s future depends on us finding ways to live within these limits.”
The nine planetary boundaries, listed in 2009 by the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Australian National University. They are: climate change, biodiversity loss and extinctions, the Earth’s nitrogen cycle and phosphorus reserves, ocean acidification, land-system change (such as deforestation), freshwater use, stratospheric ozone depletion, the release into the air of microscopic particles that affect living organisms and the climate, and the introduction of “novel entities” (things we have not yet thought of).
The statement continued: “We urgently need to change our behaviour, at a systemic level, as well as at an individual level… We need to rethink how our political economy functions, as much as we need to re-imagine our individual behaviour, from what we eat to how long the working week is.”
Read the full statement at https://www.tutu.org.za