Johan Rockström works to redefine sustainable development, and figure out what needs to happen.

Why you should listen

Johan Rockström leads the Stockholm Resilience Centre, focusing on a new approach to sustainability: the capacity to use change and crisis to spur renewal and innovative thinking. In 2009, working with an international team of scientists, he identified and quantified a set of nine planetary boundaries within which humanity can continue to develop and thrive for generations to come -- while crossing them could generate abrupt or irreversible environmental changes.

Since then, the boundaries research has spread among international organizations, governments, NGOs and companies and has been adopted as a new framework to guide the discussion about "sustainable growth". It is currently debated as a core part of setting the criteria that will follow the UN's Millennium Development Goals. Rockström also chairs Future Earth, an initiative to advance integrated science for global sustainability.

What others say

“As the global population increases towards nine billion people sustainable development should be seen as an economy serving society within Earth's life support system.” — Johan Rockström

Johan Rockstrom’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Johan Rockstrom


Why the Pope’s embrace of science matters

June 30, 2015

Pope Francis' June 2015 encyclical "Laudato Si: On care for our common home" has been praised for supporting the science on climate change. But as Johan Rockström, who's been involved in high-level discussions between scientists and the Vatican, explains, the story of how the Pope has integrated science and religion represents a profound shift in world view.

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Live from TEDGlobal

The future of the sustainable Earth: Johan Rockström at TEDGlobal 2013

June 13, 2013

Johan Rockström returns to the TEDGlobal three years after his talk on environmental development to talk about the — hopeful! — future of our environment in crisis. Life in the Holocene is full of problems, but it’s not without unexpected turns of resilience and promise. Rockström grasps a piece of metal on stage, explaining that […]

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