This week Jeremy Williams reviewed the new report from the US-based Breakthrough Institute called “Nature Unbound: Decoupling for Conservation”. The Breakthrough Institute founded in 2003 has been influential in leading “a positive, optimistic paradigm called ecomodernism, which embraces modernity to leave more room for nature and expand human prosperity. Breakthrough advances the ecomodernist paradigm in three main ways: research, communications, and network-building. Its research is designed to illuminate pathways to “decouple” the link between human development and environmental destruction”.
Their previous An Ecomodernist Manifesto published in April 2015 outlined a path forward to use humanity’s powers to create a good Anthropocene. It continues to stir dialogue and debate. Here is an extract from the Manifesto:
A good Anthropocene demands that humans use their growing social, economic, and technological powers to make life better for people, stabilize the climate, and protect the natural world. These two ideals can no longer be reconciled. Natural systems will not, as a general rule, be protected or enhanced by the expansion of humankind’s dependence upon them for sustenance and well-being.
Intensifying many human activities — particularly farming, energy extraction, forestry, and settlement — so that they use less land and interfere less with the natural world is the key to decoupling human development from environmental impacts. These socioeconomic and technological processes are central to economic modernization and environmental protection. Together they allow people to mitigate climate change, to spare nature, and to alleviate global poverty.