Bankrupting Nature: A Report to the Club of Rome on the Planetary Boundaries We Have Crossed and How to Restore Them
Bankrupting Nature: Denying Our Planetary Boundaries PDF Free
Have you ever wondered how much we can exploit the Earth's resources without causing irreversible damage to our planet? Do you want to learn more about the scientific framework that defines the safe operating space for humanity within the Earth system? If so, you might be interested in reading Bankrupting Nature: Denying Our Planetary Boundaries, a book by Johan Rockström and Anders Wijkman that warns us about the risks of crossing the ecological thresholds that regulate the stability and resilience of our biosphere. In this article, we will explain what Bankrupting Nature is, why it is important to respect our planetary boundaries, and how you can download the PDF for free.
bankrupting nature denying our planetary boundaries pdf free
What is Bankrupting Nature?
Bankrupting Nature is a book that was published in 2012 by Routledge as a report to the Club of Rome, a global think tank that deals with a variety of international issues, including environmental sustainability. The book is based on the concept of planetary boundaries, which was first proposed by a group of scientists led by Johan Rockström, the director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, in 2009. The concept identifies nine critical processes that regulate the functioning of the Earth system and defines safe limits for human interference with them. The book argues that we are already transgressing several of these boundaries and that we need to take urgent action to avoid catastrophic consequences for ourselves and future generations.
Why is it important to respect our planetary boundaries?
Respecting our planetary boundaries is important because they represent the conditions that have allowed life to flourish on Earth for millions of years. They reflect the complex interactions and feedbacks among the physical, chemical, biological, and social components of our planet, which together create a dynamic equilibrium that supports biodiversity, human well-being, and economic development. By exceeding these boundaries, we risk disrupting the balance and triggering abrupt and irreversible changes that could endanger the stability and resilience of our biosphere. For example, climate change could lead to melting ice caps, rising sea levels, extreme weather events, droughts, floods, wildfires, crop failures, food insecurity, water scarcity, migration, conflict, and disease. Therefore, respecting our planetary boundaries is not only an ethical duty but also a rational necessity for our survival and prosperity.
How can we download the PDF for free?
If you are interested in reading Bankrupting Nature: Denying Our Planetary Boundaries but you don't want to spend money on buying the book or you don't have access to a library that has it, you might be wondering how you can download the PDF for free. Well, there are several ways to do that online, but you have to be careful because some of them might be illegal, unsafe, or unreliable. Here are some tips to help you find and download the PDF for free:
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The nine planetary boundaries
In this section, we will explain what are the nine planetary boundaries that define the safe operating space for humanity within the Earth system. We will also provide some examples of how we are affecting them and what are the safe limits for each one.
Climate change is the alteration of the Earth's climate due to human activities that emit greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and fluorinated gases (F-gases), into the atmosphere. These gases trap heat and warm up the planet, causing changes in temperature, precipitation, wind patterns, ocean currents, sea level, ice cover, and extreme events. Climate change affects all aspects of life on Earth, from ecosystems and biodiversity to human health and security.
The safe limit for climate change is defined by the amount of radiative forcing (RF), which is the difference between incoming and outgoing energy in the Earth system measured in watts per square meter (W/m2). The pre-industrial RF was about 0 W/m2, meaning that there was a balance between incoming solar radiation and outgoing infrared radiation. The current RF is about 2.6 W/m2, meaning that there is more energy coming in than going out. The safe limit for RF is estimated to be 1 W/m2, meaning that we have already exceeded it by 1.6 W/m2.
Biodiversity loss is the reduction of the variety and abundance of life on Earth due to human activities that destroy habitats, overexploit resources, introduce invasive species, spread diseases, pollute environments, and drive climate change. Biodiversity loss affects the functioning and resilience of ecosystems and their services, such as food production, water purification, soil formation, nutrient cycling, pollination, pest control, climate regulation, recreation, and cultural values.
The safe limit for biodiversity loss is defined by the rate of extinction (E/MSY), which is the number of species that go extinct per year divided by the number of species that would go extinct per year under natural conditions measured in million species years (MSY). The natural rate of extinction is estimated to be 0.1 E/MSY, meaning that one species would go extinct every 10 million years on average. The current rate of extinction is estimated to be 100 E/MSY, meaning that 100 species are going extinct every year on average. The safe limit for E/MSY is estimated to be 10 E/MSY, by 10 times.
Land use change
Land use change is the modification of the Earth's land surface due to human activities that convert natural ecosystems, such as forests, grasslands, wetlands, and peatlands, into agricultural lands, urban areas, infrastructure, and other artificial landscapes. Land use change affects the storage and cycling of carbon, water, and nutrients, as well as the habitat and diversity of plants and animals.
The safe limit for land use change is defined by the percentage of global ice-free land area that is covered by cropland (CROP), which is the land that is used for growing crops for food, feed, fiber, fuel, or other purposes. The pre-industrial CROP was about 2%, meaning that 2% of the land was used for cropping. The current CROP is about 12%, meaning that 12% of the land is used for cropping. The safe limit for CROP is estimated to be 15%, meaning that we are approaching it.
Freshwater use is the consumption and withdrawal of freshwater from surface and groundwater sources due to human activities that require water for domestic, agricultural, industrial, and environmental purposes. Freshwater use affects the availability and quality of water for humans and ecosystems, as well as the regulation of floods and droughts.
The safe limit for freshwater use is defined by the percentage of global runoff (blue water) that is consumed by humans (WFC), which is the amount of water that is evaporated or incorporated into products or wastes and not returned to its original source. The pre-industrial WFC was about 5%, meaning that 5% of the runoff was consumed by humans. The current WFC is about 26%, meaning that 26% of the runoff is consumed by humans. The safe limit for WFC is estimated to be 25%, meaning that we have already exceeded it by 1%.
Biogeochemical cycles are the processes that cycle elements and compounds between living organisms and non-living environments, such as carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and others. Biogeochemical cycles affect the productivity and diversity of life on Earth, as well as the chemistry and climate of the atmosphere and oceans.
The safe limits for biogeochemical cycles are defined by two indicators: the amount of nitrogen (N) that is removed from the atmosphere by human activities and added to the biosphere (N2 fixation) measured in teragrams per year (Tg N/yr), and the amount of phosphorus (P) that is mined from natural sources and added to the biosphere (P2 mining) measured in teragrams per year (Tg P/yr). The pre-industrial N2 fixation was about 0 Tg N/yr, meaning that no nitrogen was fixed by humans. The current N2 fixation is about 150 Tg N/yr, meaning that 150 Tg of nitrogen are fixed by humans every year. The safe limit for N2 fixation is estimated to be 35 Tg N/yr, meaning that we have already exceeded it by 115 Tg N/yr. The pre-industrial P2 mining was about 1 Tg P/yr, meaning that 1 Tg of phosphorus was mined by humans every year. The current P2 mining is about 14 Tg P/yr, meaning that 14 Tg of phosphorus are mined by humans every year. The safe limit for P2 mining is estimated to be 11 Tg P/yr, meaning that we have already exceeded it by 3 Tg P/yr.
Ocean acidification is the decrease in the pH (a measure of acidity) of the ocean due to human activities that emit carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. CO2 dissolves in seawater and forms carbonic acid (H2CO3), which lowers the pH and reduces the availability of carbonate ions (CO32-), which are essential for many marine organisms to build their shells and skeletons. Ocean acidification affects the health and diversity of coral reefs, shellfish, plankton, fish, and other marine life.
The safe limit for ocean acidification is defined by the aragonite saturation state (Omega), which is a measure of how much carbonate ions are available in seawater relative to aragonite (a form of calcium carbonate). The pre-industrial Omega was about 3.44, meaning that there was enough carbonate ions for aragonite to form. The current Omega is about 2.97, meaning that there is less carbonate ions for aragonite to form. The safe limit for Omega is estimated to be 2.75, meaning that we are approaching it.
Atmospheric aerosols are tiny particles or droplets that are suspended in the air due to human activities that burn fossil fuels, biomass, and waste, or natural processes such as volcanic eruptions, dust storms, and wildfires. Atmospheric aerosols affect the reflection and absorption of solar radiation, the formation and properties of clouds, the chemistry and quality of the air, and the visibility and health of humans and animals.
The safe limit for atmospheric aerosols is defined by the change in the aerosol optical depth (AOD), which is a measure of how much aerosols reduce the transparency of the atmosphere to solar radiation. The pre-industrial AOD was about 0.08, meaning that there was little aerosol loading in the atmosphere. The current AOD is about 0.14, meaning that there is more aerosol loading in the atmosphere. The safe limit for AOD is estimated to be 0.25, meaning that we still have some margin.
Chemical pollution is the contamination of the environment with synthetic chemicals or substances that are toxic, persistent, or bioaccumulative due to human activities that produce, use, or dispose of them. Chemical pollution affects the health and function of ecosystems and organisms, including humans, by disrupting their physiological, behavioral, or genetic processes.
The safe limit for chemical pollution is not yet defined by a single indicator, but by a combination of indicators that measure the exposure and effects of different types of chemicals on different levels of biological organization, from molecules to ecosystems. Some examples of these indicators are the concentration of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in human breast milk, the concentration of mercury in fish tissue, the concentration of endocrine disruptors in water, the incidence of cancer in wildlife, and the diversity of soil microbes.
Ozone depletion is the reduction of the ozone layer in the stratosphere due to human activities that emit ozone-depleting substances (ODSs), such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, methyl bromide (CH3Br), and others. Ozone is a gas that absorbs harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and protects life on Earth from its damaging effects. Ozone depletion affects the health and survival of plants, animals, and humans by increasing their exposure to UV radiation, which can cause skin cancer, eye cataracts, immune system disorders, crop failures, and ecosystem damage.
The safe limit for ozone depletion is defined by the column ozone (O3), which is a measure of how much ozone is present in a vertical column of air above a given location measured in Dobson units (DU). The pre-industrial O3 was about 290 DU, meaning that there was enough ozone to shield life from UV radiation. The current O3 is about 283 DU, meaning that there is less ozone to shield life from UV radiation. The safe limit for O3 is estimated to be 276 DU, meaning that we still have some margin.
The consequences of crossing the boundaries
In this section, we will explain what are some of the possible consequences of crossing the planetary boundaries for ourselves and future generations. We will also provide some examples of how these consequences could affect different regions and sectors of society.
One of the most severe consequences of crossing the planetary boundaries is ecological collapse, which is the sudden and irreversible loss of structure, function, and diversity of ecosystems and their services. Ecological collapse could result from exceeding one or more boundaries or from their interactions and feedbacks. For example, climate change could exacerbate biodiversity loss by altering habitats and species distributions; land use change could exacerbate freshwater use by reducing infiltration and runoff; biogeochemical cycles could exacerbate ocean acidification by increasing nutrient inputs; atmospheric aerosols could exacerbate chemical pollution by transporting contaminants; chemical pollution could exacerbate ozone depletion by degrading ozone molecules; and ozone depletion could exacerbate climate change by altering radiative forcing.
Ecological collapse could have devastating impacts on human well-being and security by undermining our food production, water supply, health, livelihoods, culture, and peace. For example, ecological collapse could lead to famine, drought, epidemics, poverty, displacement, conflict, and violence. Some regions and sectors that are particularly vulnerable to ecological collapse are: - Sub-Saharan Africa, people depend on rain-fed agriculture and natural resources for their survival and development; - Small island developing states, where many people live in low-lying areas that are threatened by sea level rise and storm surges; - The Amazon basin, where the largest tropical rainforest in the world provides vital ecosystem services for regional and global climate, water, and biodiversity; - The Arctic, where the melting of ice and permafrost could release large amounts of greenhouse gases and affect the livelihoods and cultures of indigenous peoples; - The coral reefs, where the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world support millions of people with food, income, tourism, and coastal protection.
Another consequence of crossing the planetary boundaries is social unrest, which is the expression of dissatisfaction, frustration, anger, or violence by individuals or groups against authorities, institutions, or other groups due to perceived or actual grievances or injustices. Social unrest could result from the direct or indirect impacts of crossing the boundaries on human rights, dignity, equality, democracy, and justice. For example, climate change could cause displacement, migration, and competition for scarce resources; biodiversity loss could erode cultural identity and spiritual values; land use change could dispossess indigenous peoples and local communities; freshwater use could create conflicts over water allocation and access; biogeochemical cycles could degrade soil fertility and crop yields; ocean acidification could reduce fish stocks and income; atmospheric aerosols could impair respiratory health and visibility; chemical pollution could harm reproductive health and cognitive development; and ozone depletion could increase skin cancer and eye cataracts.
Social unrest could have negative impacts on human development and stability by disrupting social cohesion, trust, cooperation, and governance. For example, social unrest could lead to protests, riots, strikes, boycotts, rebellions, coups, and wars. Some regions and sectors that are particularly prone to social unrest are: - The Middle East and North Africa, where political instability, economic inequality, and religious extremism are exacerbated by water scarcity, food insecurity, and climate change; - Latin America, where social movements, indigenous rights, and environmental justice are challenged by land grabbing, deforestation, and mining; - Southeast Asia, where rapid urbanization, industrialization, and globalization are accompanied by poverty, inequality, and corruption; - Europe, where rising populism, nationalism, and xenophobia are fueled by migration, unemployment, and austerity; - The United States, where racial discrimination, police brutality, and gun violence are aggravated by polarization, misinformation, and distrust.
A third consequence of crossing the planetary boundaries is economic decline, which is the reduction of the production, consumption, trade, income, wealth, and well-being of individuals, households, businesses, regions, or countrie