"Humanity’s challenge in the 21st century is to eradicate poverty and achieve a prosperity for all within the means of the planet’s limited natural resources".
This paper from Oxfam - A Safe and Just Space for Humanity, came out earlier this year as a challenge paper for Rio +20, asbut we think its deservant of a post. The author - Kate Raworth a senior researcher at Oxfam in the UK. The paper explores what a fair and sustainable model of prosperity might look like using the image of a 'donut' to bring the concept of biophysical limits together (in this case planetary boundaries) with the complementary concept of social boundaries and describes the inner space as a safe operating space for humanity to thrive.
"Moving into this safe and just space demands far greater equity – within and between countries – in the use of natural resources, and far greater efficiency in transforming those resources to meet human needs".
(Fig 1 - Oxfam's flicker Stream - The Doughnut - a safe and just space for humanity within planetary and social boundaries)
The paper and its framework aims to be a global-scale compass that can help to chart the course.
Oxfams work here is well aligned to the Converge project in exploring 'how given a projected population of 9 billion in 2050 we can manage and allocate the earth's resources" through the lens of equity within limits. Its interesting that in the Converge project so far we have not decided whether to put equity inside limits or beside limits, whereas Oxfam have prosperity within limts - Equity therefore being seen as a boundary for a prosperous system. Something to mull on no doubt!