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Earth outside ‘safe operating zone’ for humans in crucial areas, scientists find

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Financial Times or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: Earth has exceeded "safe operating" limits in six out of nine critical areas due to human activities, raising the threat of abrupt and irreversible changes, recent research reveals
• The planet is likened to “a patient that is unwell,” and there's uncertainty about the duration we can keep overstepping these essential boundaries without triggering permanent harm

🔭 The context: The identified boundaries crossed include climate change, biosphere integrity, land system change, freshwater use, vital phosphate and nitrogen flows, and chemical compound levels
• A related study indicates that earth system boundaries combined with social justice issues have surpassed safe limits, with interdependencies making risks in one area amplify threats in other

🌎 Why it matters for the planet: Breaching planetary boundaries reduces Earth's resilience and heightens risks to human life
• With most key areas nearing critical limits, immediate action is essential to protect our planet and its inhabitants

⏭️ What's next: Scientists emphasized that all nine critical environmental areas can still be rehabilitated, citing the ozone layer's partial recovery post-Montreal Protocol
• One of the most powerful solutions suggested by the study would be to return total forest cover back to the levels of the late 20th century, as well as ending the burning of fossil fuels 

💬 One quote: “Biodiversity is fundamental to keeping the carbon cycle and the water cycle intact. The biggest headache we have today is the climate crisis and biodiversity crisis” (Johan Rockström, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research)

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