Planetary Times #3: Will we listen to “Breaking Boundaries”?

Before Article

Planetary TimesThis 3rd edition is about the planetary boundaries, especially the documentary Breaking Boundaries.

An absolute must-see: “Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet”

Netflix has just released the brilliant documentary “Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet”, narrated by the legendary David Attenborough. This documentary is about the life’s work of the Swedish professor Johan Rockström: the nine planetary boundaries. In one hour you’ll learn how each boundary is progressing and what can be done to reverse our impact on these boundaries, with the end goal to create a safe operating space for humanity. If we do not take action by now, we will be in a high-risk danger zone in which life on Earth is no longer certain. Despite that we have already crossed several critical boundaries, we still have a chance to turn it around. Bold action is needed. As Rockström calls it: “What happens over the next centuries will be determined by how we play our cards this decade.”
He further discusses that environmental issues should be a top priority of the security council of each country. In addition, he outlines four priorities to stay within the planetary boundaries:

  • Cut CO2 emissions to zero. (We only have 7 years of ‘carbon budget’ left if we continue like we are doing now)
  • Plant more trees to offset the carbon that is already emitted (tree planting is one of the most cost-effective and achievable solutions to the climate crisis)
  • Healthy diets and sustainable production of food (eating healthy food might be the single most important way of contributing to safe the planet)
  • Create a circular economy (designing out waste is fundamental to stay within the safe zone of all planetary boundaries)

We must bend the curve of negative impact on the planet now and start creating positive change. Watch the documentary on Netflix.

The future is not determined, the future is in our hands; what happens over the next few centuries will be determined by how we play our cards this decade.


– Professor Johan Rockström

Planetary BoundariesWhat’s next

After watching Breaking Boundaries, you’ll probably want to learn more about the planetary boundaries. Rockström and his colleague Owen Gaffney describe the science behind the planetary boundaries in more detail in their book, which is also called “Breaking Boundaries”. This book further explains the planetary boundaries and why it is the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced. The story includes unique images of Earth produced by Globaïa, the world’s leading visualizers of human impact. Especially for those who are already advanced in sustainability (science), this book sets out all the important knowledge and reasonings about the planetary boundaries.

Rethink Talks: a podcast on resilience and global change

There is more besides the book and film. The Stockholm Resilience Centre, an international research centre on resilience and sustainability science, provides you with a podcast series on interesting topics regarding the planetary boundaries and much more. Listen to the Rethink Talks podcast series here.

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.

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