We’ve crossed the land use change planetary boundary, but solutions await

We’ve crossed the land use change planetary boundary, but solutions await

Eight weeks after visiting a patch of Malaysian rainforest, Mongabay founder Rhett A. Butler learned it had been logged for wood chips to supply a paper plant. A teenager at the time, Butler recalls being devastated. “This place of wonder and beauty was lost forever,” he wrote in a 2018 story. “The orangutan, the hornbills, the butterflies, and even the leeches would have to make do in their dramatically changed environment. “I was at a loss for words when I would try to explain my sadness to my grade-school friends,” he went on. “Why, they asked, did I care about the destruction of a distant mosquito-ridden forest? … So I started writing.” Eventually, this writing morphed into Mongabay.com, the website you’re now reading that draws millions of views per month and daily tells the story of our rapidly transforming planet. That story is largely one of land systems change: humans altering the land, destroying forests and other habitats, only to replace it with pastures and plantations, mines, roads and other infrastructure. Land systems change is one of the nine planetary boundaries first defined by an international group of scientists at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) in 2009. The planetary boundary framework suggests that Earth has critical operating systems, each precariously balanced like a vehicle descending safely down a steep mountain road. But once humanity violates a planetary boundary, we risk destabilizing Earth’s operating systems and potentially heading over an existential cliff beyond which life as we know it, and humanity…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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