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Johan Rockström

Notable Individual

Johan Rockström (b.1965) is director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Professor of Environmental Science at Stockholm University and chair of The Earth League group of 17 concerned scientists.  He led the team that published the seminal “Planetary Boundaries” framework (“A Safe Operating Space for Humanity,” Nature 461, 2009, 472-475), describing nine fundamental thresholds that could be catastrophic if transgressed, by triggering non-linear and abrupt environmental changes.  Three boundaries have already been transgressed: climate change, rate of biodiversity loss, and nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.  Six other boundaries still safe or in the zone of uncertainty involve air pollution, chemical pollution, ocean acidification, freshwater consumption, land use change, and ozone depletion.  Rockström is the author of >100 research articles, co-author with Anders Wijkman of Bankrupting Nature: Denying Our Planetary Boundaries (Report to The Club of Rome, 2012), and co-author with Mattias Klum of Big World Small Planet: Abundance Within Planetary Boundaries (2015).  He has developed two TED talks and a free MOOC course on planetary boundaries for the UN’s Sustainable Development Academy.  He has received several awards, such as Sweden’s Most Influential Person on the Environment (2012, 2013), and Knight of the Legion of Honour in France (2016).  Rockström will step down from SRC in Oct 2018 to become joint director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

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