Population growth, climate change and species loss are changing the Earth. Humans play a major role in this. What can the relationship between humans and the Earth look like in the future? Do we have any chance at all to change our behaviour in order to treat the earth and its resources more carefully? And what new knowledge do we need for the future?
The fact that humans have a massive influence on the Earth system and are changing it is now an established scientific fact. At the latest through industrialisation since the beginning of the 19th century, humans have left their fingerprint on the Earth system. Today, science understands better how climate change, global warming and the overexploitation of the earth by a growing world population are connected. At the same time, looking at the complex system of this interaction raises new and big questions, which the new Max Planck Institute for Geoanthropology will also address. It will explore the interactions between the geosphere and man-made systems. For at present it is not yet possible to decisively counteract this fatal development.
This forum discusses what the relationship between humanity and the Earth could and should look like in the future. Do we have any chance at all to change our behaviour in order to treat the earth and its resources more sparingly? Do findings, knowledge and technology - on which the greatest hopes currently rest - offer a way out of the dilemma? What knowledge do we need and where should research start? Or is human development, which is designed to expand, at a dead end? Can we ever return to the nature from which we emerged through culture and technology?