What is the world we want to see in 2050? That is the question posed by One Earth, a new initiative that lays out a global vision for an abundant and thriving planet.
One Earth sees a not-so-distant future when humanity and the natural world coexist in harmony. Instead of pockets of nature in a human-controlled world, we envision a thriving wilderness dotted by green cities of the future. By 2050, more than two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities, creating an unprecedented opportunity to protect our natural resources, while providing access to clean air and water, healthy food, and sustainable livelihoods for all people.
With contributions from scientists around the world, One Earth has developed a bold, new plan that tackles three of the world’s greatest problems —climate change, biodiversity loss, and food & water security. It seeks to ensure the resilience of our biosphere through a three-pillar strategy: 100% clean, renewable energy; conservation of 50% of our lands and oceans; and a shift to regenerative, carbon-negative agriculture globally by 2050.
Achieving these three goals will take a monumental effort, innovative technologies, and a new way of seeing and understanding nature and the built environment. But the science tells us that not only can we accomplish this, we must, if we are to stay below the dangerous global warming tipping point of 2°C. New research shows that biosphere feedbacks, including declining ocean and forest carbon sinks, will put us on a course for 2.5°C or higher, even under ambitious climate mitigation scenarios, unless we take urgent action to protect the integrity of our biosphere.
One Earth adopts a big data approach to solving this crisis. In 2017, scientists around the world collaborated on one of the largest geospatial computations ever conducted in the environmental sector, incorporating a wide range of data sets to create a global map of the “safety net” needed to ensure the survival of all life on the planet. The global map is organized by 190 bioregions, groupings of terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecoregions, allowing for detailed analysis of interdependencies between energy production, environmental conservation and restoration, and food and water access in each region.