A new study by the Earth Commission, published in Nature, highlights the measures and quantifies the conditions needed for people and the planet to thrive, outlining Earth’s finite limits and the importance of placing justice at the centre of targets, regulations and global decision-making.
According to the study, humans are taking colossal risks with the future of civilization and everything that lives on Earth. Developed by more than 40 researchers from across the globe, the scientists deliver the first quantification of safe and just Earth system boundaries on a global and local level for several biophysical processes and systems that regulate the state of the Earth system.
Freshwater systems is one area considered and, according to the Earth Commission, the ‘Safe’ boundary for surface water is to ensure we do not alter natural flows in river systems by more than 20%. The boundary is already significantly breached. The ‘Safe’ boundary for groundwater is for the annual extraction not to exceed the annual average replenishment for that specific regional groundwater source.