Planetary boundaries pioneer Johan Rockström wins 2024 Tyler Prize for environmental achievements



Planetary boundary frameworks determine the limits within which humans can safely operate within the natural world

Johan Rockström, recipient of the 2024 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.Photo: Jadranko Marjanovic/Tyler Prize

The 2024 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement recognizes Johan Rockström for his groundbreaking contributions and pioneering work in developing the Planetary Boundary Framework, the science that defines the safe space on Earth for humans to operate. awarded.

Rockstrom is Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and co-chair of the Earth Commission. PIK said in a statement on February 29, 2024, that this framework provides the boundaries for global development and the basis for human justice.

The prestigious Tyler Prize is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of the environment.Rockstrom The award will be presented at a ceremony on May 17, 2024 in Potsdam, Germany.

The Planetary Boundaries is an international collaboration across multiple Earth system science disciplines. This theory establishes clear boundaries for the nine Earth systems and emphasizes that their stability and resilience are critical to preserving life as we understand it.

framework, Published in 2009we define these systems as follows:: Climate change; rate of biodiversity loss (terrestrial and marine). Interference with the nitrogen and phosphorus cycle. Depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer. Ocean acidification. Global freshwater use. Land use change. chemical pollution. and atmospheric aerosol loading.

“This framework sought to identify Earth system processes and associated thresholds that, if exceeded, could lead to unacceptable environmental changes.” Rockstrom 2009. If too many planetary boundaries are crossed, he says, there is a risk of “reaching a tipping point that compromises Earth’s life support systems.”

“If we push the Earth system too far, we put important biological and physical systems, such as forests and ice sheets, beyond tipping points and at risk of fundamental changes in their state and functioning,” Rockström said. cited deforestation in the Amazon rainforest as an example.

Established in 1973, the Tyler Environmental Achievement Award recognizes world leaders in the environment and sustainability.

The Tyler Prize Executive Committee recognized Rockstrom for his “science-based approach to the sustainable development of people on a stable and resilient planet,” said Julia Marton-Lefebvre, chair of the Tyler Prize Committee. It awarded a prize of $250,000 and emphasized the need for a holistic and interdisciplinary approach. The growing environmental crisis.

“He[Rockström]elucidated the essential environmental limits within which humanity must operate to ensure a sustainable future, and his scientific results influenced policy and engaged the general public. Together with their capacity to engage, they have made an invaluable contribution to the well-being of the planet,” said Marton Lefebvre.

This recognition is important because humans are “far outside the safe operating zone” at six of the nine planetary boundaries, the magazine said. Latest updates Moreover Published in September 2023 by Catherine Richardson, Professor of Oceanography at the University of Copenhagen.

Rockstrom said Katherine Richardson is one of a variety of scientists who have contributed to advances in planetary boundary science over the past 15 years. his statement They also acknowledged Will Steffen, an Australian professor of earth system science, who helped develop the original theory and the way it is defined and quantified. Stephen passed away in 2023.

one book, Breaking boundaries: The science of our planetCo-authored with Rockström, it became a documentary about the excess of streaming services. Netflix, Narrated by renowned British biologist and natural historian Sir David Attenborough.

Indeed, the framework has also helped shape public responses to climate change and sustainable development, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDGs include explicitly Four of the nine planetary boundaries: freshwater (SDG 6), climate (SDG 13), oceans (SDG 14), and biodiversity (SDG 15).

“As a matter of urgency, we must recognize and act on the overwhelming scientific evidence that our patient Earth is in poor health, as human pressures on Earth continue to mount and breach planetary boundaries. We’re at risk of destabilizing the entire planet,” Rockstrom said.

Since 1973, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement has recognized world leaders in the environment and sustainability. Past winners include Jane Goodall, Michael Mann, Daniel Polley, and Gretchen Daly.

Last year, two fisheries experts, Daniel Pauly and Rashid Sumaila, won this Pavan Sukhdev wins award in 2020an Indian economist who formulated the green economy, and Gretchen C. Daley, a conservation biologist.

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