Society is experiencing extreme climate events and rapid biodiversity loss, alongside a rise in fake news and rapid technological innovation. How can we connect the dots between today’s biggest societal issues, the state of the planet now, and the future we are shaping? Our Future on Earth 2020 is a report synthesizing the latest Earth science alongside current events. Drawing on insights from researchers in the physical and social sciences, and from over 20 different countries, the report helps to explain the links, tensions and trade-offs within our entire planetary system.
Published within the report is a survey of over 200 scientists who identified five issues (climate change, extreme weather, biodiversity loss, food and water) as a critical nexus of risk that could lead to a global systemic crisis. The survey chapter calls for the world’s academics, business leaders, and policymakers to ensure these five global risks are treated as interacting systems, rather than addressed one at a time, in isolation. Indeed, the report underlines that nexus thinking and opportunities extend across all social, economic and environmental spheres. For example, transformations in the finance sector can boost investment in renewable energy and resilient communities. To counter the denial of complexity that comes with populism, grassroots organizations, citizen movements and indigenous groups continue to make the link between social justice and environmental protection. And the report notes we must approach climate mitigation and adaptation as a social challenge, rather than just a technical challenge that focuses on emissions reductions in high carbon-emitting sectors.
Produced by the international research organization, Future Earth, the report aims to provide decision-makers and the general public with a regular progress update on global sustainability, reflecting on our common sustainable development path as first introduced by the Brundtland Report over 30 years ago.