Renewable Matter # 2 / Numero #2

Rockström, 'Biomaterials: A Viable Alternative to Fossil Fuels'

The Finite Nature of our Planetary Resources, the Gravity of the Effects of Climate Change, the New Technological Paradigms That Keep us from Surpassing Nature's Limits. A Conversation with the Author of the Latest Report to the Club of Rome.

by Emanuele Bompan

To identify and quantify planetary limits so that human activity does not cause unsustainable environmental mutations. This is the aim of the research carried out by Johan Rockström, Professor in Environmental Science and Sustainability at the University of Stockholm and Executive Director of the prestigious Stockholm Resilience Centre, one of the main research centres on the planet’s resilience. 

His research on limits started in 2009 through the analysis of nine parameters beyond which humanity should not venture in order to avoid tipping points, catastrophic and almost irreversible transformations. These limits include the thinning of the ozone layer, loss of biodiversity, climate change, chemical contamination, ocean acidification, change in the use of soil, flows of phosphorus and nitrogen, aerosols. This extremely sophisticated study provided Rockström with a complex and organic vision of planetary macro-transformations. His research is published in Bankrupting Nature (Routledge, 2012). Renewable Matter met him in Sweden to talk about planetary limits, starting from matter itself.


Our ecological footprint surpasses the Earth’s absorption capacity. One of the less known elements of the planetary equation is the impact of the extraction of many raw materials. 

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