What started as an internal newsletter to share knowledge with our mission-driven team at CFP, will now become a public one. Hello world, please say hi to the Planetary Times. Here CFP consultant Boas Kraaijeveld will share the most relevant content on biodiversity & climate change.
Can we reverse our negative impact?
Last week was already Earth Overshoot Day for the Netherlands. This means that we would need three planets if the whole world was living like the Dutch. In other words, we are exceeding the planetary boundaries. The time has come to not just sustain but to regenerate. Bold action is needed.
Using the words of Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission: “The most important thing to remember today: We have to learn to live within the planetary boundaries”
In this edition, I will highlight the newest innovations that could help safeguard the planetary boundaries. New to the concept of planetary boundaries? Watch the TED talk of Dr. Johan Rockström, the leading scientist of the development of the Planetary Boundaries framework. Got it? Now let’s get started!
Google Maps’ Timelapse Innovation
Wouldn’t it be nice to look back in time and see exactly what happened on our planet? It sounds futuristic but thanks to the newest update of Google Maps, this is now possible. With Google Maps’ Timelapse we can actually see what our impact has been on the planet for the last 35 years.
We can safely say that human behaviour is shaping the planet. The images speak for themselves. It is absolutely shocking to see the Amazon being wiped out and glaciers being melted at such unprecedented rates. Everybody can now see that we have entered the Anthropocene, the new epoch where human activity is shaping our planet’s behaviour.
Discover the impact of human activity on our planet here.
1000 solutions for a better environment
Despite that, the images show that we are definitely not heading towards the right path, we can still turn it around. Disruptive innovations are needed that transform complete sectors into sustainable ones. All sectors have to drastically change, and yes, this is possible. Even the most polluting industries can become climate neutral. And this might go faster than we think. Think of airplanes that fly on solar energy. Sounds futuristic, but Bertrand Piccard already showed the world that even this is possible. But flying on solar energy alone was not enough for him, he even set a new challenge: selecting 1000 profitable solutions that accelerate achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. As Bertrand Piccard calls it: “Ecology as the driving force of the economy.” This might be the disruptive change we need. Learn more here.
Bring nature back into cities
With more efficient innovations alone, we are not going to achieve the SDG’s and create a safe-operating space within the planetary boundaries. System innovations are needed that have a positive impact on our planet, not just a less negative impact. The built environment can play a major role in this. Only applying insulation and installing solar panels will not be enough to reverse biodiversity loss and improve the city’s resilience to future climate risks. We have to change at a systems level and bring back nature into cities. Examples to make that happen are green roofs, garden walls, guerilla vegetables, or tree planting in (un)common areas. The podcast “Creating Green Cities” created by the Ecologic Institute discusses urban nature-based innovation. These solutions have a positive impact on the planet and actually regenerate ecosystems.
Hopefully, in the next years, we will look back at Google Maps Timelapse and actually see the positive change we’ve achieved! One way or another, we have to learn to live within the planetary boundaries.
Get in touch
This article is written by Boas Kraaijeveld, a consultant at CFP Green Buildings. Boas holds a Master Global Business & Sustainability at the Rotterdam School of Management. For his graduation thesis, he investigated how business model innovations can enhance the planetary boundaries. Since then, he actively follows the (scientific) news and shares this knowledge with the rest of the world.
Get in touch with Boas if you have suggestions or feedback on this article.