One can have development and change while still

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one can have development and change while still maintaining ecosystem func- tioning) suggests that there are absolute boundaries to how much pressure human society can impose on nature. This insight has led to the development of frame- works such as the ecological footprint (GFN 2016 ) and the planetary boundaries (Steffen et al. 2015 ), which relate human pressures on nature to nature s capacity to sustain such pressures. As mentioned in Sect. 1 , the ecological footprint framework focuses on the productivity of land (and sea), by relating the available area to the area needed to produce the renewable resources used by humans and to sequester greenhouse gases emitted by humans. The planetary boundaries framework instead suggests nine biophysical global boundaries which human pressures cannot trans- gress unless in fl icting risks of nonlinear changes leading to collapse of important ecosystem functions. In other words, the planetary boundaries framework suggests a safe operating space for human society to develop within. So, it provides a de fi nition for a sustainable state of the planet, at least in environmental terms and at least for pressures acting on a global scale. The ecological footprint metric and the planetary boundaries framework repre- sent attempts to use science to identify a desired absolute state of sustainability. Also, there are political agreements based on keeping human pressures on natural systems within certain limits. Globally, examples of such agreements are the two-degree goal in international work for reducing climate change (UNFCCC 2016 ) and the Montreal Protocol for phasing out chloro fl uorocarbons in order to protect the stratospheric ozone layer (United Nations 2016 ). On a national level, 20 S. Roos et al.
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examples of agreements include the 17 Swedish environmental objectives, which guide national attempts of protecting various aspects of nature (Swedish EPA 2015 ). The political agreements are often in fl uenced by science, but they are the result of political processes; thus, they accommodate compromises between dif- ferent interests and different notions of what is politically possible to accomplish. In other words, they are heavily in fl uenced by value-based considerations. It should be noted that also more scienti fi c attempts to de fi ne sustainability are in fl uenced by value-based considerations, although perhaps not to the same extent as the political agreements. For example, the planetary boundaries are limits, which, if transgressed, in fl ict risks which the scientists behind the framework deem to be unacceptable. What to consider as an unacceptable risk is a value-based decision. In this case, the scientists have chosen to adopt the precautionary principle, i.e. that in case of uncertainty, we are better safe than sorry. Still, the outcome is certainly more science-based than the outcome of (more) political processes. It is, however, important to remember that de fi ning sustainability will always include value-based considerations.
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  • Fall '19
  • Sustainable fashion, Sandra Roos

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