Human activities have a growing number of environmental hazards that are interconnected and becoming more complex. This has far-reaching implications for humans, economies, and the environment.
The Anthropocene is a geological time when humans are the dominant force for change on the planet. The Anthropocene is marked by an ever more interconnected and accelerating universe.
We must rethink risk in light of the rapid pace and interconnectedness of our world. It is the architecture that links crises that causes their ripple effects to occur in unpredictable ways. This was evident in the 2008-2009 financial crises, which had a significant impact on food costs and ultimately led to land grabs across Africa, Asia, and South America.
Many international policy groups have taken increasingly complex steps to capture risks. They used frameworks like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report on Reasons to be concerned about climate change risks and the World Economic Forums annual Global Risks report.
Although environmental risks, such as extreme weather and water stress, play an increasing role in these assessments and assessments, the majority of literature on global systemic threat has been dominated and dominated by technology and finance. This is partly due to the importance of technology and markets. While all these initiatives are important in improving our understanding of global risk, they cannot capture the human-environmental interactions that are creating new systemic environmental threats.
In a recently published paper in Nature Sustainability, it is stressed that we must embrace concepts of global, human-driven environmental risks and interactions that cross large scales of time and space. It is more than adjusting your quarterly financial outlooks to reflect the coming five or ten year. We must look further back and forward in order to see the complex and non-linear nature of human’s impacts on the Earth system.
Four case studies are highlighted by the authors that focus on different aspects of Anthropocene Risk. It turns out that groundwater extraction in India for irrigation purposes leads to more rainfall in East Africa. But, India could make a trade-off with countries that are dependent on changing precipitation if it moves to more sustainable groundwater extraction.
Another study examines the future of sea level rise in coastal megacities. Global sea levels could rise as high as two metres by 2100. Some regions may experience higher levels. This is a problem when you consider investing in infrastructure that will last 50 years or longer.
Even though the concept of Anthropocene is controversial, it is a valid idea. It is not true that everyone in the world is responsible for the current crisis. Particularly, large numbers of the world’s powerful and wealthy have benefited from carbon emissions. This is the defining characteristic of Anthropocene Risk.
While it may seem strange to place emphasis on power imbalances in the context of global environmental risks, The complex and non-linear reality of the Anthropocene means that the current international order is not sustainable. It is important to address our past and present problems in order to create a just and sustainable future.
Many people and organizations have accumulated wealth while releasing significant amounts of carbon. This should be used to address the social and environmental injustices that perpetuate these Anthropocene threats. Although this is happening to some extent, it needs to be increased.
The world is entering a new era full of uncertainty and surprise, so there’s an opportunity to adopt a new economic model. This means doing things differently. For example, engaging with organizations that promote social and environmental justice.
Richard Feynman, a renowned physicist, once stated: “If you want to solve an issue that we have not solved before,”
Humanity has never experienced the type of changes we are currently facing and will continue to experience in the coming decades. There is no precedent for the Anthropocene’s scale in terms of social, economic, and geopolitical changes. Feynman suggests that we must open the door to new ideas and solutions.