An Earth system law perspective on governing social-hydrological systems in the Anthropocene
The global hydrological cycle is characterized by complex interdependencies and self-regulating feedbacks that keep water in an ever-evolving state of flux at local, regional, and global levels. Increasingly, the scale of human impacts in the Anthropocene is altering the dynamics of this cycle, which presents additional challenges for water governance. “Earth system law” provides an important approach for addressing gaps in governance that arise from the mismatch between the global hydrological cycle and dispersed regulatory architecture across institutions and geographic regions.
In this article, we articulate the potential for Earth system law to account for core hydrological problems that complicate water governance, including delay, redistribution, intertwinements, permanence, and scale. Through merging concepts from Earth system law with existing policy and legal principles, we frame an approach for addressing hydrological problems in the Anthropocene and strengthening institutional fit between established governance systems and the global hydrological cycle.
We discuss how such an approach can be applied, and the challenges and implications for governing water as a cycle and complex social-hydrological system, both in research and practice.
Research news | 2022-08-05
Not only clear-cuts, but even forest degradation drives CO2 emissions
Further degradation of the Amazon rainforest can lead to enormous C02 emissions in the upcoming decades, unless it is halted soon, new study finds
Research news | 2022-08-04
Growing tree cover can boost or dwindle water availability
Tree restoration is a great way to mitigate climate change and store atmospheric carbon. But when trees are planted at a large scale, regional water availability can be seriously affected
Research news | 2022-07-05
New exhibition at Skansen open-air museum features inputs from centre
Last week, Skansen, an open-air museum in Stockholm, launched the first part of an exhibition about biodiversity with contributions by the Stockholm Resilience Centre
Research news | 2022-07-01
Human actions drastically alter river flows
Diminishing water flows may jeopardize the lives of millions of people that depend on the rivers for food production, energy or sanitation
Research news | 2022-06-30
Dig into our resilience-inspired pop culture summer tips
Find your summer inspiration with one of these Anthropocene-themed books, podcasts, and movies
Research news | 2022-06-29
Seafood industry collaboration launches first progress report
SeaBOS, a science-business collaboration including ten of the world's largest seafood companies, reflect on first five years of work