PerspectiveESSAY

Living by the lessons of the planet

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Science  21 Apr 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6335, pp. 251-252
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal4863

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Summary

For centuries, scientists, economists, and other scholars have been concerned about humanity's collective impact on the environment, and whether our species has started to overwhelm the biological and physical systems of our planet. As our population, technology, and economic power have rapidly grown in recent decades, so has our impact on the planet. And now, in the early 21st century, it is clear that we have started to strain entire planetary-scale systems in the environment, including biodiversity, land resources, fresh water, and even our climate system. How can science help us understand, and manage, this crucial moment in human history?