Message for Rio+20 - Mattias Klum

14 May 2012 | Article

As I write this, I'm on my way to India's Corbett National Park to photograph tigers for Professor Johan Rockström's and my upcoming book, The Human Quest: Prospering Within Planetary Boundaries. I think about the accelerated pace in which we undermine our own long-term prosperity, for example, by threatening and destabilizing biodiversity on our planet.

We are the first generation with the knowledge that humanity has become a force capable of undermining the capacity of Earth to support human prosperity. This is, relatively speaking, a new insight and therefore a formidable privilege, but it is also a colossal responsibility.
Now, preserving the remaining beauty on Earth is a core strategy for resilience and human prosperity which means that we ensure that the social-ecological systems we all live in host a rich variety of life forms with different ecological functions.We live in an inter-connected world. The stability of the Earth system, and its long-term capacity to support our world, has become every nation’s concern—indeed, every citizen’s concern—along with how we as a global community manage the entire biosphere.

A deep mindshift is required in order to reconnect our societies and our development to the biosphere, and once we agree as a world community to respect the Earth’s planetary boundaries, we can focus our efforts on solutions for prosperity within a safe operating space. A world transformation to global sustainability is not only necessary but also possible: we have the intelligence, the creativity, the technological know-how, and the power to navigate free from a disastrous outcome for the future, which means that our Human Quest is no utopia, it is a realizable dream.