Humanity faces a major global challenge in achieving wellbeing for all, while simultaneously ensuring that the biophysical processes and ecosystem services that underpin wellbeing are exploited within scientifically informed boundaries of sustainability.
This paper proposes a framework for defining the safe and just operating space for humanity that integrates social wellbeing into the original planetary boundaries concept (Rockström et al., 2009a,b) for application at regional scales.
It argues that such a framework can:
- Increase the policy impact of the boundaries concept as most governance takes place at the regional rather than planetary scale;
- Contribute to the understanding and dissemination of complexity thinking throughout governance and policy-making;
- Act as a powerful metaphor and communication tool for regional equity and sustainability.