In the long human history from the period of the use of stone ax tools and the agricultural revolution to the various phases of the industrial revolution from the 18th century and onwards all sorts of innovative approaches have been applied by humans for the sake of survival and prosperity. In earlier days the environmental impacts due to these solutions were limited—although not always locally or even regionally negligible as the example of hunting of big animals illustrates.
Closer to our times the character of the solutions, their systemic connections and the global width of application has drastically changed the situation. Today it is not only the “classical” industrial manufacture of products that have environmental repercussions, but the entire support system for daily life which includes a global connectivity of food provisions and new kinds of energy solutions as examples. These illustrate the integrated cross sectorial nature of the challenge due to their character, intensity and global embrace. Indeed, humans have during the latest generation taken over as the prime driving force with regard to global environmental impacts. And the character of the transformation is accelerating.
Thus we are quickly moving into a new historical era—sometimes called the Anthropocene. This confronts us with issues about the relation between actions at different scales—including challenges regarding the material base for society and its natural environmental embedding. This has been referred to—in risk handling terms at global level—to a concern for living within a safe space set by "planetary boundaries".
The interplay between the global macro level and other levels, not least with regard to governance and responsibility considerations, i.e. "stewardship", is at the core of our current societal situation. Systems and resilience considerations are now coming into the forefront when approaching this key "grand challenge". But also the societal distributional aspects increase in importance. The basis of our knowledge production and handling in connection to the expressed and used value systems are here of central importance when we have to face what stewardship at different scale levels from micro to macro might entail.
Research news | 2018-12-13
Money sent home by migrants can prevent undesired farmland abandonment, as well as the promise of extensive forest regrowth
Research news | 2018-12-09
Amid transitions from swidden agriculture to market-driven oil palm plantations, women remain disadvantaged when it comes to access to land, labour and social capital
Research news | 2018-12-03
Review paper summarizes scholarship of resilience and economics, and projects how management of resilience could benefit sustainability measurement
Research news | 2018-11-28
The seventh in a series of seven "deep dives" looking into the connections between resilience and development
Research news | 2018-11-25
Not enough city dwellers are exposed to nature in cities. That could have serious impacts on their health
Research news | 2018-11-20
The sixth in a series of seven "deep dives" looking into the connections between resilience and development