Towards an Earth System Economics

Online seminar by Prof. Eric D. Galbraith from McGill University

07 May 2024
KST 17:00 – 18:00

Join us online: Meeting ID: 826 1968 2188 Passcode: 179037

Earth system science has made great progress on understanding the atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere, but has failed to functionally incorporate its most dynamic component: the global human system. Yet, this incorporation is needed to project how the system can potentially evolve toward a sustainable future that is aligned with goals for human flourishing. Part of the challenge facing both theorists and policymakers is that the understanding of the global human system is fragmented between fields (e.g. economics, psychology, politics, sociology) and none of them are easily integrated with the quantitative understanding of the interconnected planetary system within which we live. As one possible solution to this, I suggest an approach that ties together quantifications of human biological features, time use, and the technosphere to provide simple understandings of key human processes and fluxes. As examples, I will show recent results from a global compilation of time use – the global human day – as well as a global mapping of the technosphere, using a new end-use categorization scheme. The approach can be applied across scales, is readily integrated with biogeochemical, ecological and climate models, and is explicitly oriented toward metrics for human well-being.