Seneca College - Green Citizenship Campaign

Planetary Boundaries

The "Planetary Boundaries" image graphically interprets research conducted by the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Nature has many tipping points or boundaries as the Planetary Boundaries image indicates. These boundaries represent the safe operating limits of the Earth’s capacity to regulate itself in a way comfortable for humans. When human activities, combined with other non-human caused factors, exceed these boundaries, a stable state is disrupted. The Planetary Boundaries formulation determines what researchers believe to be the tipping points for a variety of phenomena which humans are warned against exceeding. The image shows human activity's impact has gone beyond the boundary line for both bio-diversity loss and nitrogen/phosphorous loading. It also shows that human impact is in danger of exceeding recommended tipping points for ocean acidification and freshwater use. As for items such as atmospheric aerosol loading, and chemical pollution, there is not as yet sufficient data to draw reasonable conclusions.

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