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Time to act: Understanding earth system governance and the crisis of modernity

Guimarães, Roberto Pereira, Yuna Souza dos Reis da Fontoura and Glória Runte. 2011. Time to act: Understanding earth system governance and the crisis of modernity. Earth System Governance Working Paper, No.19.

Abstract

Despite the frequent calls for action, decisions and agreements made at successive international conferences, the levels of socio-environmental unsustainability have increased considerably over the past decades. The changes in the global environment have reached a point at which they seriously threaten human security and the ecological and social pillars of modern civilization. In short, the globalization of the environmental crisis compels us to acknowledge that the history of humankind is in fact inexorably entwined with the history of its relationships with nature. We, therefore, analyzed the human dimensions associated with global environmental change in order to propose a new paradigm for the current society. We also demonstrate the main factors described by Jared Diamond (2006) that the past societies used to overcome the negative tendencies and threats that had put these communities’ very survival at risk. After this, we associate them with the new ethical-political challenges that the financial crisis in the first decade of the 21st century has brought to the international agenda and its relationship with the institutions’ inability to act regarding global environmental change.

The Working Paper is available here (pdf).

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