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Radical changes are needed for transformations to a good Anthropocene

Radical changes are needed for transformations to a good Anthropocene

Abstract

The scale, pace, and intensity of human activity on the planet demands radical departures from the status quo to remain within planetary boundaries and achieve sustainability. The steering arms of society including embedded financial, legal, political, and governance systems must be radically realigned and recognize the connectivity among social, ecological, and technological domains of urban systems to deliver more just, equitable, sustainable, and resilient futures. We present five key principles requiring fundamental cognitive, behavioral, and cultural shifts including rethinking growth, rethinking efficiency, rethinking the state, rethinking the commons, and rethinking justice needed together to radically transform neighborhoods, cities, and regions.

Radical departures

The scale, pace, and intensity of human activity on the planet1 is driving global biodiversity and ecosystem decline2, fundamentally altering earth’s climate system3, and increasing social and economic global connectedness4 in ways that threaten stability, resilience, and sustainability of local and regional human and ecological systems5. These patterns suggest we are living in what has been described as the Anthropocene Epoch6 characterized by rapid and fundamental human-driven alterations of earth systems across the globe7. These major shifts to the stocks and flows of human life-support systems8,9 challenge sustainability at any scale without fundamental and radical transformations in human activities and supporting financial, legal, political, and governance systems10.

To shift the human enterprise toward a sustainable relationship with, and within, the earth system requires much more than small tweaks and incremental change11. Instead, it will require radical departures from the status quo8,12,13,14,15,16 where the complex system of intertwined sustainability challenges17 are confronted in order to shift multiple unsustainable trajectories toward ‘good’ Anthropocenes18 where normative goals for sustainability are achieved19 and political and economic power structures deliver the common good20.

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, , Urban Sustainability , anthropocene, human activity, nature,

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