Probleme lösen im Anthropozän

STOCKHOLM – Atmen Sie einmal tief ein. Kosten Sie den Atemzug einen Moment lang aus. Und nun führen Sie sich Folgendes vor Augen: Keiner unserer modernen menschlichen Vorfahren hat jemals so etwas eingeatmet – und so, wie die Dinge sich entwickeln, werden unsere Nachfahren das auch nicht tun.

Seit Beginn der industriellen Revolution hat die menschliche Aktivität die Zusammensetzung der Atmosphäre erheblich verändert. Das CO2-Niveau ist heute höher, als es das seit mindestens 800 000 Jahren war. Die Menge an Stickstoff und Schwefel, die im Erdsystem zirkuliert, hat sich verdoppelt. Der pH-Wert der Ozeane verändert sich in bislang ungekanntem Tempo und erreicht ein Säureniveau, das die Meeresorganismen in den letzten 20 Millionen Jahren nicht erlebt haben.

Die Menschheit – die derzeit nahezu 40 % der eisfreien Landflächen des Planeten bewohnt – beeinflusst eindeutig viele der grundlegenden Prozesse des Planeten. Laut Nobelpreisträger Paul Crutzen stellt dies eine so tiefgreifende Veränderung dar, dass es auf den Anfang einer neuen Epoche hinausläuft: das Anthropozän.

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