Studium Generale: Planetary Boundaries and the Anthropocene
|Academy Building, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Human activities are reshaping our planet in profound ways. This has led scientists to propose a new geologic epoch called the Anthropocene, characterized by rapid technological progress that has brought many human beings many benefits. But combined with the growing world population this progress creates new problems and raises pressing questions about possible limits. Suddenly a concept like Planetary Boundaries starts to matter. Physicist Will Steffen explores the challenges we need to face in the 21st century, including the Earth’s tipping point and a range of social and environmental problems.
Will Steffen is one of the internationally leading scientists that created this overarching concept of Planetary Boundaries. With his colleagues, he works on a systematic examination of the most pressing problems and tries to understand how close humanity is to the point where processes could become irreversible. From 1998 to mid-2004, Steffen was Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, based in Stockholm. His research interests span a broad range within climate and Earth System science, with an emphasis on the incorporation of human processes in Earth System modelling and analysis; and on sustainability and climate change.
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