Sustainable Development Online Course (2)

[Course] Planetary Boundaries and Human Opportunities: The Quest for Safe and Just Development on a Resilient Planet

Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University &

Module 2 – Holocene and Anthropocene

Compared to paleo-climatic records of extreme variations in temperature, sea level and other indicators of environmental change, over the last 100,000 years, the Holocene (the last 10,000 years) was a period of unprecedented climactic stability. The biomes and ecosystems in the world sustain and support the Holocene state of the world.

There is evidence that the human pressures on the planet point at the risk of us moving out of the Holocene; in fact it has gone so far that science today indicates that we are entering a whole new geological epoch, the Anthropocene.
So we are faced with the new challenge of navigating a 3-6-9 world: on average science points in the Anthropocene that we’re moving toward a 3 degrees Celsius warming in this century (a place we haven’t been over the past 3 million years); we are in the sixth mass extinction of species, the first mass extinction to be caused by human beings, another species in the world; we are committed to 9 million people.

In short, human activities are pushing planetary development onto an undesired trajectory where humankind is now in the driving seat for navigating the future of humanity. one of the guiding principles for sustainable development in the Anthropocene is that precaution must be operationalized as a guiding principle for human development.

Resilience – a non-linear thinking in the Anthropocene

Uncertainty and uncontrollability – the real world

Three areas for action in resilience thinking –

  • To develop new understanding to cope with uncertainty, the unknown, and the evolution of new things. – the social, technical, and institutional ways to enable learning.
  • To build resilience to the unexpected, to be prepared for the unexpected, both to be able to cope with shock, but also to take advantage of potentially positive surprises.
  • To develop capacity to navigate change.

Have a good vision about Anthropocene, and develop programs toward that good vision.


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