Ticking time bomb in the human-Earth system
Submitted by astone on Wed, 06/13/2012 - 10:43
The Australian Academy of Science’s second Australian Earth System Outlook Conference, Ticking Time Bombs in the Human Earth System, will examine globally significant global risks that pose unmanageable and undesirable change on all of us if we do not start acting to prevent them today.
Human activities since the industrial revolution have had profound effect on our planet, changing atmosphere, waters and soils, modifying the energy balance at the Earth’s surface and, consequently, climatic patterns; acidifying land and sea; reducing the diversity of the biosphere and raising sea level.
We are now living in the “Anthropocene”, where man’s influence on the planet is completely changing its nature.
Continuing major human impacts on global systems are becoming unavoidable. Two iconic examples of this include climate change and mass extinctions.
It is also clear the global time bombs of this era cannot be managed by the invisible hand of market forces but will require conscious and concerted action. Well-informed, integrated management of the Earth system is a great challenge for global governance of the 21st century.
This conference will examine how the Earth system works, including the role of humans as an integral part of the system, and look to the knowledge required for humanity to thrive in the 21st century and beyond by maintaining a well-functioning and resilient Earth system.
To narrow the focus of this broad area, the conference will address four themes that have the potential to be significant tipping points.
The conference will be held at The Shine Dome, Australian Academy of Science, Canberra, on Monday, November 26 to Tuesday, November 27.