Humanity is on an unsustainable course of growth
Increasing in numbers, we devour the resources of our planet to such a degree that it threatens the very basis of our existence. We reduce the richness of Earth everywhere, be it in the diversity of the biosphere, the beauty and stability of the ecosystems, or the abundance of clean water or healthy food. Some of human constructions based on these planetary resources are arguably beautiful and natural resources are being used to both save and improve human lives. Unfortunately, we much too often also find that our substitutes for nature are ugly and malfunctioning, like badly planned cities, a huge network of highways, railroads, man-made waterways and reservoirs, industrial deserts, open-pit mines, waste dumps, large areas of non-arable land, and large amounts of toxic pollutants.
Our quantitative estimates of our impact on the planet are poor, and the predictive capabilities of our models are limited. Thus, we do not know to any degree of certainty the true scale of our impact on our environment today and cannot reliably predict the impact we will have tomorrow.
Humanity has developed into a considerable force in the Earth's system without having learned to wield the power. Sustainability of our civilization, our societies, our whole species, or even the biosphere as we know it depends on our ability to acquire control over our newly developed power and our willingness to use this power for the good of the planet, recognizing that we only can prosper if our home, our planet, Earth is in good shape.
Understanding our impact is key to reducing it
Without fully understanding and acknowledging our impact on our home planet, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to
reduce our impact, and with that, to reduce the degradation of the planet and the consequence for humanity. In his book Eaarth - Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, Bill McKibben summarizes the extent to which we have transitioned Earth into a new planet that deserves a new name, and he analyses the consequences this has for our survival. James Lovelock in The Vanishing Face of Gaia reaches to similar conclusions about the crucial impact of a oversized humanity on a planet in a delicate homeostasis, and see severe consequences waiting for us just around the corner. And there are many more of our great thinkers, who have come to similar conclusions about our impact and the likely consequences.
It is our goal to contribute to a better understanding of what the impacts of our rapidly growing footprint are on the sensitive planet Earth seems to be and to help develop strategies to reduce the footprint, increase the resilience to consequences of our re-engineering of our home, and prepare adaptations to the changes we will not be able to mitigate fully.