Humanity is confronted with profound and
mounting man-made environmental crises. The
United Nation’s Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
provided an alarming inventory of the
degree of deterioration in many of the world’s
ecosystems (MEA 2005). Global warming is now
widely recognised as an immediate threat to
humanity. As the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change shows, only a few years are left to
radically decarbonise the world economy if disastrous
global warming is to be avoided (IPCC 2014).
Other environmental crises have so far received
less public attention, but are also serious and
potentially threatening the continuity of human
life on Earth. These include the loss of biodiversity,
depletion of water reserves, ocean acidification
and reduction of soil fertility, among others
(Rockström et al. 2009).

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