We are now a big world on a small planet. The Great Acceleration starts with the expansion of human exploitation of the world, seen in urbanization, land-use transformation for agriculture, and industrialization (and the resulting biodiversity loss, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, deforestation, etc). Only since the 1950s has human interaction with the Earth system had global effects. We’ve seen 1°C temperature rise over the past hundred years cause challenges for the world economy. Obesity and noncommunicable diseases are also on the rise, and agriculture is the world's largest single source of negative exponential rise in environmental pressures. Professor Rockstrom describes the current situation as two giants colliding: the first giant is the recognition that these pressures translate increasingly to risks of abrupt tipping points, and the second giant is the affluent population of the world. All citizens on the earth have a right to development, but there is also an ethic of providing the right for all inhabitants to have equal access to the remaining ecological space in the world. Professor Rockström shows the “hockey stick” curve and discusses water and energy scarcity.
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