The Anthropocene: From Global Change to Planetary Stewardship

Author(s): Will Steffen, Åsa Persson, Lisa Deutsch, Jan Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams, Katherine Richardson, Carole Crumley, Paul Crutzen, Carl Folke and Line Gordon, et al.
In: Ambio 0044-7447. Doi: 10.1007/s13280-011-0185-x.
Year: 2011
Type: Journal / article
Full reference: Will Steffen, Åsa Persson, Lisa Deutsch, Jan Zalasiewicz, Mark Williams, Katherine Richardson, Carole Crumley, Paul Crutzen, Carl Folke and Line Gordon, et al. 2011. The Anthropocene: From Global Change to Planetary Stewardship. Ambio 0044-7447. Doi: 10.1007/s13280-011-0185-x.

Publication review

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.

Share

Stockholm Resilience Centre is a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Stockholm Resilience Centre
Stockholm University, Kräftriket 2B
SE-10691
Phone: +46 8 674 70 70
info@stockholmresilience.su.se

Organisation number: 202100-3062
VAT No: SE202100306201