We live in a time of unprecedented environmental change. Humans are modifying the air, water, ice and soil in so many new and unexpected ways.  And the consequences, already deadly, will only become more severe. Oceans are rising, poles are melting, and forests are on fire. Entire species are being consigned to the fossil record as the planet’s protective blanket warms dangerously. Our impact is so great that we may have entered a new geological era. According to many in the scientific community, 10,000 years of the Holocene have been ended by human action, ushering in what is known as the Anthropocene (Greek for Age of Man) [1]. The end result of all this is unknown. But even if the future remains murky, what should happen in the present is crystal clear: as a collective, humanity must adapt to the forces it has unleashed and begin addressing the structural issues that continue to drive them. This would be a global solution to a problem that knows no borders.

What makes this difficult is that global  governance is fractured into nation states- fragile and ultimately imagined entities [2], each laying claim to a portion of the Earth’s surface. Each one has a unique political and economic culture; each one has different resources at its disposal. This means that they vary hugely in their response to ecological challenges in both scope and substance. Despite numerous international  summits attempting to address them, no global cohesion has been reached. And the more time passes, the more the challenges grow.

In the series of articles that we are bringing you this week, we will explore how a selection of nation-states are attempting to tackle the environmental pressures they face. We will kick off on Tuesday with a feature on Pacific Islands, investigating what they’ve done to combat their geographic vulnerabilities and stand up to the spectre of climate change. On Wednesday, our attention will shift from the mid-ocean to the mid-continent, as we concentrate on Costa Rica and Bhutan. We will see how their environmental preservation efforts are linked to ecotourism and gross national happiness. On Thursday, we’ll investigate countries at the top of the development ladder as we ask how the Nordics are managing to balance economic prosperity and environmental protection. Finally, on Friday, we will take a step back to observe the big picture: To what extent are states working together? Are traditional and rising powers meeting their climate targets? Will it be enough to stem the relentless tide of environmental meltdown?

We do hope that you will join us on our exciting voyage of ecological exploration as Switzerland celebrates its 5th annual sustainability week.

Retrouvez les articles de ce dossier aux liens suivants:

Mardi: Plongée dans les défis des îles du Pacifique
Mercredi: Détour par le Costa Rica et le Bhoutan
Jeudi: Investigation des modèles scandinaves
Vendredi: Vue globale sur la gouvernance à l’échelle planétaire
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