28 Oct 2014 5:00pm - 6:30pm Lady Mitchell Hall, Sidgwick Site


This event is free, open to all and part of the Festival of Ideas

Johan Rockström, Humanitas Visiting Professor in Sustainability Studies 2014, will give a series of three public events entitled Earth Resilience and World Development: Pathways towards global sustainability in an era of rapid global changes and participate in a concluding symposium on Friday 31 October.


Humanity is at a new juncture. We have entered the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch, where the World (the aggregate impacts of the global human entreprise) constitutes a geological driving force of change on Earth. We now face real risks of large and irreversible changes in the environmental living conditions on Earth. This redefines world development. Now, rising evidence shows that global sustainability is a prerequisite to attain social and economic development at all scales, from local communities to the global economy. A new paradigm for sustainable development is therefore needed, defined by the new challenge of attaining long term human prosperity within the safe operating space of a resilient and stable planet. “Planetary boundaries” constitute a scientific framework that enables the definition of this safe operating space, defined to provide the world with a high chance of safeguarding a stable planet for future generations. These insights are increasingly recognized by the world community, reflected, e.g., in the development of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015. The challenge is that nobody knows whether the world in fact can meet the twin objectives of meeting human needs of a rapidly growing and wealthier world population within a safe and just operating space on Earth. It seems clear though that it will require that we become planetary stewards of a grand transformation to global sustainability.  

Events in the Series

Human Prosperity within Planetary Boundaries (HUMANITAS)
28 Oct 2014 5:00pm - 6:30pm, Lady Mitchell Hall, Sidgwick Site

Public lecture.

Planetary Boundaries 2.0: Defining a safe Operating Space for Humanity on Earth (HUMANITAS)
29 Oct 2014 5:00pm - 6:30pm, Department of Geography, Downing Site

Cambridge Conservation Initiative Seminar.

Competition of Life Game (HUMANITAS)
30 Oct 2014 11:00am - 1:00pm, University Centre (Mead Room)

Interactive event for teenagers along with Professor Johan Rockström. Participants are divided into teams of 4-5 and using simple tools to represent renewable resources, this activity will hopefully inspire understanding and discussion on the different strategies people use to manage resources in the real world.

From Sustainable Development to Global Sustainability (HUMANITAS)
31 Oct 2014 2:00pm - 6:00pm, SG1&2, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road

Concluding symposium with respondents Bill Adams (Cambridge), Gretchen Daily (Stanford Woods) and Bill Sutherland (Cambridge).

About the Professorship

The Humanitas Chair in Sustainability Studies has been made possible by the generous support of Tellus Mater Foundation.

Over its 5 year duration, the Visiting Professorship will touch on a diverse range of topics relating to sustainability studies, ranging from the environment and behaviour, to policy and economics.

The Humanitas Chair in Sustainability Studies is organised in collaboration with the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), a unique collaboration between the University of Cambridge and leading internationally-focussed biodiversity conservation organisations clustered in and around Cambridge, UK. CCI seeks to transform the global understanding and conservation of biodiversity and the natural capital it represents and, through this, secure a sustainable future for all life on Earth. The CCI partners together combine and integrate research, education, policy and practice to create innovative solutions for society and to foster conservation learning and leadership. 

Previous Humanitas Visiting Professors in Sustainability Studies

2013-14: Gretchen Daily

Standing Committee

Mike Rands (Excecutive Director, Cambridge Conservation Initiative)
William Sutherland (Zoology)
Bhaskar Vira (Geography)

Hosting College

Trinity Hall

Upcoming Events


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk