One Biosphere is an alliance of people and organizations who are united to preserve the quality of our global environment through our forum and publications, education, advocacy, research and communications among our members and partners.
Towards a Sustainable BiosphereA sustainable biosphere generally refers to the global ecological system that integrates all life forms and their inter-relationships in a manner that maintains availability of global resources on an indefinite basis. In recent years, due to the uncertainties caused by apparent climatic change and global warming, broad and urgent concerns over sustainability have been raised at many divergent levels.
The concept has been discussed in many forums in connection with living plants and animals in a variety of ecosystems. In terms of the human population, sustainability has been considered in the context of current human needs and the obligation to allow future generations to benefit from those resources in order to meet their own prospective requirements.
In terms of ecology, every ecosystem needs to maintain its ecological processes, functions and biodiversity in the future. Natural resources can only be consumed at a rate at which they may be replenished organically. Many scientific studies have concluded that that our human population is living in an unsustainable manner through consumption of the biosphere's limited natural resources far more rapidly than they can be replaced by nature. For instance, experts have estimated that it has taken over 50 million years to form the earth's oil reserves. However, in a matter of 125 years, modern civilization has burned almost half of all known global oil reserves.
Given the rapid pace of consumption of the global oil and other resources, it is imperative that human societies make a cooperative effort to control human usage of our natural resources at a sustainable pace. Managing the consumption of the planet's finite resources is of critical concern to the present and future of modern human civilization.
The concept of sustainable development entails the pace of development that meets the needs of the present without relinquishing the ability of future generations to satisfy their needs. Sustainability is a complex term that may be addressed in different ways relative to diverse elements of our biological network, human structures such as sustainable cities and regions and human activities such as sustainable agriculture and forestry.
Unsustainable ecological practices pose increasing threats to the earth's climate, water, forests, biodiversity, food and energy supply. These elements threaten the foundations of human existence and well-being. Modernizing countries disproportionately suffer severe ecological consequences of the exploitation of the earth's limited natural resources by industrialized countries and international corporations.
The United Nations has been at the center of the struggle over the future of the earth's environment. Its global conferences and intergovernmental policy groups such as the Commission on Sustainable Development ("CSD") are key arenas for debates between eco activists desiring greater environmental protection and laissez faire capitalists who oppose regulations in favor of free markets and economic growth. We work closely on key environmental issues and embrace the role of the U.N., national, state, provincial and local governments, businesses and NGO's in shaping sound environmental policy.