Much political and scientific focus has been on climate change in recent years. What is really unique about climate change, however, is that it has reminded us that there are limits to how much environmental change humans can induce without undermining the basis of our existence and triggered an understanding that local and regional environmental management is not enough. Climate change has taught us that we also need to develop mechanisms for management of resources at the global level. How might this management take place? How would it interact with local and regional management initiatives and what activities in addition to greenhouse gas emissions need to be constrained? The concept of “Planetary Boundaries” has been proposed as a possible framework for developing management of global resources. This framework argues that climate and biodiversity are the two “core” boundaries that must be respected to minimize the risk of human activities leading ultimately to a change in the state of the Earth System. Seven other Earth System processes that all are heavily impacted by human activities are identified. Common to these is the fact that their role in maintaining Earth System state operates through changes in climate and/or biodiversity. In this talk, the framework is presented and discussed in relation to local and regional environmental management initiatives.


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