There is no pixie dust!

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The Earth System is an emcompassing planetary system that comprises the biosphere, i.e., the sum of all living biota and their interactions and feedbacks with the geosphere, including the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and upper lithosphere. Over its evolution, the earth system has been driven predominantly by astronomical and geophysical forces. However, in the last six decades or so, there is a large increase in the rate of growth of the anthropological causes. This recent trend is further highlighted when put against the remarkable stability of last ten millennia, the epoch that start with the end of the last glacial period,…

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What’s after, what’s next

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We have difficulty accepting that society, economy, technology, and nature are deeply intertwined and co-evolving. This is leading to declining biosphere integrity, disrupting biophysical flows, climate change and the disruption of social foundations, frustrating an economic transformation, just to name a few. Another neglected item is the ongoing convergence between infotech, nanotech, biotech and cognitive sciences that could restructure not just economies and societies but our very bodies and minds. These aforementioned challenges are enormous in scale and complexity, and we will need to take equally enormous leaps in our imagination to meet them successfully. It cannot be stressed enough…

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Choosing a sustainable path will require transformative change, underpinned by levels of ambition, coordination, and political will.

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We are part of nature, not separate from it. We rely on nature to provide us with food, water and shelter; regulate our climate and disease; maintain nutrient cycles and oxygen production; and provide us with spiritual fulfilment and opportunities for recreation and recuperation, which can enhance our health and well-being. We also use the planet as a sink for our waste products, such as carbon dioxide, plastics and other forms of waste, including pollution. Since 1900, the human population has more than quadrupled and per-capita income has increased at least fivefold. Global average life expectancy at birth has more…

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There is increased awareness that situational complexity is now the norm rather than the exception.

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Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future. John F. Kennedy, Address in the Assembly Hall at the Paulskirche in Frankfurt June 25, 1963 It is hard to get by in the world as we know it today. It is complex and full of surprises. Dealing with forthcoming challenges requires acknowledging the complexity of policymaking, and the fact that the issues that policymaking tries to address have become too complex to successfully guide through linear policymaking processes. Our current liberal political system was shaped during…

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MORE CONCERNING THEN EVER ….

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In addition to my writings on climate change, biophysical limits, depletion of raw materials, massive extinction of species, etc., there is a major issue that is happening right under our nose: socio-economic disparities weaken the resilience of our cities. Stretching the boundaries of my knowledge on economics and social science I dare to state that resilience can only remain useful as a concept and as progressive practice, if social dimensions are taken into account. Social-economic exclusion, disparities, inequality etc and the resulting poverty, are complex problems that manifests themselves in many different areas of life, are multidimensional and can encompass…

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DISRUPTION IS UPON US, AND THERE IS NO ESCAPING IT.

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Leadership can navigate the complexities of geopolitics, the challenges of biophysical boundaries and opportunities to make sense of what is often an opaque and dynamic world. INFINITE THINKING IN A FINITE WORLD At the start of the industrial revolution the world was deemed a larder full to the brim of wonderful resources to be consumed. Fossil fuels such as coal/ oil and gas were perceived to be limitless, becoming the dominant form of energy used by societies that viewed nature as a resource to be utilized for progress. We inherited a 3.8-billion-year store of natural capital, but at present rates…

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The burden and the joy of being Homo Sapiens, the wise species.

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The Anthropocene is commonly understood as the epoch in which the technological activity of industrialized humanity becomes the dominant factor shaping the Earth and its associated life-supporting systems. Supplementing the Holocene, where the relatively warm climate was considered to be the critical geological factor, the Anthropocene places anthropic technological activity in the center, thus marking the time in which natural and human forces are intertwined, so that the fate of the one determines the fate of the other. The concept of the Anthropocene is not isolated to the scientific fields of climate science, geology, and earth-system science, but moves beyond…

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THE FUNDAMENTALLY AMBIGUOUS NATURE OF TECHNOLOGY

By | Algemeen | One Comment

Technology and/or Nature: Denatured/Renatured/Engineered … In our high-tech world, do we live at the end of nature? Is the technosphere replacing the biosphere? Can humans control their genetically inherited Pleistocene appetites in an Anthropocene Epoch? Living on an engineered planet? Would this fulfill human destiny or display human arrogance, failing to embrace our home planet in care and wonder? The future holds advancing technology to create unimaginable futures, but do not want to live a de-natured life, on a de-natured planet. We are powerfully reshaping human existence: the degradation, if not destruction, of large parts of the natural world, and…

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Decision-Making in Complex Dynamic and Evolutive Systems

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The year 2020 has surprised humans in many ways. From encountering a pandemic, addressing a global recession, and witnessing the global geopolitical changes, humanity is standing in ambiguous times. However, not everything is uncertain. Throughout the year, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, Internet of Things, and augmented/virtual reality, amongst others have spearheaded innovation with a promising future. These technologies have validated that despite the crisis, technology will transform the world. Not only do we have more access to information than ever before, but we also see a confluence of cyber, physical, and biological technologies that no longer exist…

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We possess the skills, resources, and innovative capacity to create many possible futures.

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Today, there are increasing signs that the biosphere as a whole is affected in its regulation of biological and geophysical processes by the current scale of human activities. As society has moved from a relatively ‘empty world’ in which human activity was small relative to overall planetary processes to a relatively ‘full world’ in which human activity dominates the planet, an exclusive emphasis on economic growth could produce serious, and possibly irreversible, ecological damage. At the same time, overall economic growth has failed to bring wealth and improvements in well-being to many around the globe. The industrial society of today,…

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