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Name: Mishelle Sarango Marín

Date: September 26, 2018

ESSAY: PLANETARY BOUNDARIES

The reviewed essays deal with the planetary boundaries for the exploitation of natural
resources, which can be defined as a safe context for human societies for development and
prospecting, based on our understanding of the evolution of functioning and sensitivity of the
Earth system. Both documents deal with the characteristics for and against this theory,
addressing different approaches such as the conservation approach and the sustainable
development approach, which in reality are often opposed.

The first article "Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet" was
an essay that raised the benefits of establishing this kind of limits in order to achieve a
sustainable use of the natural resources we possess. This article established that the planetary
limits do not dictate how cities should develop, but that they constitute an important tool in
political decision making, so that by determining a safe operating space for the exploitation of
resources, more efficient decisions can be made. It also seeks to maintain the integrity of the
biosphere, the biogeochemical cycles, the change in land use and the use of drinking water. It
should be noted that this study establishes as planetary limits the environmental phenomena
caused by the anthrogenic influence between them, climate change, acidification of the oceans
and depletion of ozone in the atmosphere.

The second article "Planetary Boundaries for Biodiversity: Implausible Science, Pernicious
Policies" had a more conservationist approach and established three reasons why planetary
boundaries had a negative influence on the conservation of biodiversity. In the first place it
establishes that there can be a double moral in the determination of planetary limits because
in some cases we can sacrifice biodiversity to increase the productivity of ecosystems.
Secondly, it states that since the planetary limits do not have specific definitions or
standardized measurement units, so the policies developed based on them lose credibility.
In the third place, it is established that by not considering the complexity of ecosystems, we
can think that our activities do not have significant impacts on biodiversity.

In conclusion, in my opinion the focus of both articles is correct. Although it is true we often
sacrifice biodiversity to increase the productivity of ecosystems, but it is also true that the
planetary limits provide us with the guidelines to achieve the sustainability of the exploitation
of resources. It is up to us to find the right medium term for the use of the resources that are
still available to us and to improve the quality of those that are already violated.