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Über dieses Buch

Rebuilding the Earth highlights humanity’s interdependence with the planet’s ecosystems. Today, these ecosystems are seriously degraded, compromising future security and opportunity. It is essential that we set about rebuilding the metaphorical ‘ark’ of nature upon which our future prospects depend. Central to this book are several case studies of regenerative approaches drawn from every continent on the planet. These approaches are founded on restoration and protection of ecosystems – water and soil, forests, marine and coastal resources, urban infrastructure, farming practices and in corporate supply chains.
Rebuilding the Earth is above all optimistic about the daunting challenges facing global society. It is about culture change, addressing the necessity of and the means for putting nature and people back into the heart of societal thinking, policy and action. It advocates for sustainable development in its deepest green sense, but also pragmatically framed in social, technological, governance and economic contexts. The concluding message is “Yes, we can!”

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. Introduction

Abstract
The emphasis of this book is upon optimism about the potential to rebuild the natural infrastructure upon which future human opportunity depends. It curates many existing solutions scattered throughout the world where ecosystem enhancement has occurred as a basis for increasing human security and prospects. It seeks understanding of the principles underpinning their successes, drawing guidance from this to inform increasingly sustainable decision-making.
Mark Everard

2. Nature’s Sinking Ark

Abstract
Chapter 2, Nature’s Sinking Ark, outlines some of the hard realities of the modern world and the prognoses for eroding natural capital. The concept of socio-ecological systems, central to this understanding, defines the systemic interdependencies between people and other aspects of natural systems. Socio-ecological systems can be in a cycle of degradation, wherein declining ecosystem health and functioning inevitably limits human opportunity. Alternatively, a regenerative cycle can occur where protection or restoration of foundational ecosystem processes supports future human wellbeing. Oversight of the wider unintended ramifications of narrowly exploitative uses of supportive ecosystems, though otherwise laudable in their intent to efficiently meet our needs, very often drives ‘degenerative landscapes’ in which narrowly-framed uses inadvertently degrade ecosystems and, with them, interlinked human prospects.
Mark Everard

3. Rebuilding the Ark

Abstract
Chapter 3, Rebuilding the Ark, embarks on a global journey, collating case studies from across the world to illustrate and characterise instances where people have collaborated to not merely halt damage to supporting ecosystems but to restore them as a foundation for reversing cycles of degradation. These ‘regenerative landscapes’—recovering or protected ecosystems supporting socio-economic benefits and expanding opportunities for all—contain vital lessons informing a change of course to realise a sustainable future, not merely in a biological sense but one that also embodies human security, opportunity, prosperity, beauty and the achievement of life potential.
Mark Everard

4. Our Conjoined Future

Abstract
Chapter 4, Our Conjoined Future, draws upon ‘regenerative landscape’ case studies to emphasise the need for a fully systemic approach to solutions that optimise outcomes for all ecosystem services and their associated beneficiaries, rather than perpetuating current narrow exploitation patterns that favour the few yet overlook the many. The chapter also addresses what sustainable development means in a world of growing human numbers reliant upon declining natural resources. It emphasises the importance of going well beyond current minimalist understandings and regulatory transpositions of ‘lightening society’s loads on ecosystems’, instead realising the explicit bold, intergenerational vision of the 1987 ‘Brundtland Commission’ definition of sustainable development. Systemic application of the STEEP framework is introduced as a systems-based model for understanding social and ecological interdependencies within complex contexts of technology choice and management in political economies. Consideration is also given to where leadership happens in society.
Mark Everard

5. A Systemic Decision-Support Framework

Abstract
Chapter 5, A Systemic Decision-Support Framework, establishes key and contextual questions related to each component of STEEP as a framework to guide decision-making at all scales on a systemically connected basis. This framework is proposed to inform decision-making from a systemic context in pursuit of genuinely sustainable, resource-conserving and equitable, regenerative socio-ecological systems, or at least to promote progress from current practice towards that ideal goal cognisant of shortfalls and areas for further research, reform and improvement. The framework has relevance to decision-making across all major societal policy areas, the chapter providing applied examples not only within policy areas but importantly of integration between them.
Mark Everard

6. Epilogue: Rebuilding the Earth—Yes, We Can!

Abstract
Chapter 6, Epilogue: Rebuilding the Earth—Yes, We Can! emphasises that this is all about culture change, addressed with the optimism that regenerative change is already happening in scattered instances across the world. These exemplars can teach us much about how to rethink our decisions at international, national, state and right down to highly localised scales, and to achieve coherence between all these scales. Action at all levels, and from all sectors of society, is required to rebuild the metaphorical ark of natural species, processes and ecosystem services supporting continuing human security and wellbeing.
Mark Everard

Backmatter

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