Over the course of the last decade, references to a bioeconomy have steadily grown in relevance, ranging from institutional discourses involving international actors and agencies to the formulation of national strategies and securing its role in wider agendas, such as the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and global climate change policy.
Biodiversity loss is the most important global threat, not climate change. At least, that is what researchers at the Stockholm Resilience Centre say. The planetary boundaries model they have developed is currently the most popular systematisation of global processes.
The findings on biodiversity are indeed shocking: species are vanishing at such high speed that researchers are talking in terms of a sixth major mass extinction happening within human history. Except that this time it will not be caused by a geological disaster, but by human beings, our production and consumption patterns and our modes of living. The consequences of this process are completely uncertain. What is clear is that they affect the fundamentals of life on the planet: abundant diversity is the foundation of evolution and the secret of its success. The “rivet hypothesis” illustrates this principle: we are acting like someone who enjoys popping the small rivets out of an aircraft, convinced that it can stay airborne without them – but at some point, the fun will end badly.