Abstract

In just the last few centuries of the Earth’s 4.5 plus billion year history humans have interfered with the Earth’s biological, chemical and geological processes to such an extent that anthropological forces now seem to be the dominant drivers of global environmental change, ushering in what some refer to as the Age of the Anthropocene (Crutzen, 2002). Industrial and extractive activities, although conducted in pursuit of human progress, are pushing the Earth system beyond its safe operating zone, with potentially catastrophic consequences for large parts of the planet (Rockström et al., 2009). We are prematurely and recklessly ending the previous geological era, the Holocene, which was marked by 13,000 years of unprecedented climatological stability that enabled civilisations to develop and thrive (Berger and Loutre, 2002). I argue that access and allocation, and its link to global environmental change, is fundamentally a governance challenge.

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