It seems that humans are in a race against time to kill off the planet Earth, and are leaving no stone unturned to accelerate the process through which we reach Armageddon.
A recent study has found that the Earth has crossed 6 of the nine planetary boundaries that determine how healthy a planet is thanks to our activities. Crossing the 9th boundary would mean the planet’s health is fatally critical and on the verge of a significant collapse.
The update of the planetary boundary framework reveals that human activities are increasingly impacting the planet, elevating the risk of triggering significant alterations in Earth’s overall conditions.
According to the researchers, this framework defines nine “planetary boundaries,” which are crucial components of the global environment responsible for regulating the stability and habitability of our planet.
The extent to which these safe boundary levels are breached is a direct result of human-driven activities that affect these environmental components, the researchers assert.
The planetary boundaries framework draws upon the latest scientific insights into how the Earth system operates, aiming to delineate a “safe operating space” for humanity. It limits the degree to which human actions can influence critical processes without the risk of potentially inducing irreversible changes in Earth’s conditions, which are essential for our well-being.
The researchers emphasize that, for the first time, they have presented metrics for all of these boundaries. Their findings reveal that six of these boundaries are being exceeded, and the transgression is escalating for all of them, except for the degradation of Earth’s ozone layer.
The study, published in the journal Science Advances, represents this framework’s third update and involves the collaboration of 29 scientists from eight different countries.
The increasing trend of breaching these boundaries is a cause for concern, as explained by Katherine Richardson, a professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the study’s leader.
She likened it to monitoring our blood pressure, stating that crossing six boundaries doesn’t guarantee immediate disaster but serves as a clear warning signal. She emphasized the need to reduce the stress on these six planetary boundaries for our well-being and future generations.
An important takeaway from this study is the need for more attention to be directed toward understanding the interactions between these boundaries. Focusing solely on human-induced climate change is insufficient if we aim to safeguard the Earth system from irreversible harm, noted Johan Rockstrom, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the original proponent of this framework in 2009.
Wolfgang Lucht, Head of PIK’s Department of Earth System Analysis and a study co-author, stressed that mitigating global warming and preserving a functional biosphere must be pursued simultaneously, as these represent the twin pillars of Earth’s stability.