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In 2050, the billions of people living on Earth have found a way to manage the planetary system effectively. Everyone has access to adequate food, shelter, and clean water. Human health is no longer considered outside of the health of the ecosystems in which people live. Ecological awareness is an integral part of education. People respond effectively to social and environmental hazards, and societies care for the most vulnerable amongst them. The economy, too, has shifted. Carbon dioxide management is under control, and energy efficiency is the norm. The remaining rainforests have been preserved. Coral reefs are recovering. Fish stocks are thriving.
Is any of this really possible? How can our complex social and economic systems interact with a complex planetary system undergoing rapid change to create a future we all want? This book is a contextualised collation of ideas articulated by the 50 participants of the Planet 2050 workshop held in Lund in October 2008, as part of The Planet in 2050, an interdisciplinary Fast Track Initiative of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme.