One Earth
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Jun 17, 2022

Volume 5Issue 6p575-736
On the cover: Protecting the planet against further harm is critical, now more than ever. To address the complex, interrelated, socio-environmental challenges threatening societies and ecosystems, we need governance for sustainability. Image credit: Baac3nes via Getty Images....
On the cover: Protecting the planet against further harm is critical, now more than ever. To address the complex, interrelated, socio-environmental challenges threatening societies and ecosystems, we need governance for sustainability. Image credit: Baac3nes via Getty Images.


  • Governance for sustainability

    • The One Earth editorial team
    At the time of writing, government representatives, non-governmental organizations, scientists, practitioners, business leaders, and concerned global citizens are congregating at Stockholm+50 in Sweden to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. Delegates will reflect on five decades of missed opportunities to avert planetary crises and seek to accelerate the actions urgently needed for achieving a healthy planet and prosperity for all. But are our environmental governance structures fit for purpose?


  • Environmental law toward sustainability targets

    • Damilola S. Olawuyi,
    • Rebecca Bratspies,
    • Kristina Maria Gjerde,
    • Surya Deva,
    • Harriet Harden-Davies,
    • Angelique Pouponneau,
    • Mohamad Mova Al’Afghani,
    • Achmad Gusman Siswandi,
    • Usha Natarajan,
    • Salla Rantala
    The degraded state of the natural commons indicates that the institutions, organizations, and governance mechanisms through which we regulate our impact on the natural environment are fragmented and insufficient. This Voices asks: to what extent can environmental law integrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals and hold nations accountable for missed sustainability targets?


  • Global environmental governance in times of turbulence

    • Victor Galaz
    50 years might not seem long in the history of planet Earth, but the last 50 years have had profound implications for our living planet. 2022 marks the 50th anniversaries of the United Nations Environment Programme and the historic 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. These anniversaries invite us all to reflect on the successes and failures of collective action and global environmental governance.
  • Urgent need to move toward solution-orientated environmental assessments

    • Silke Beck,
    • Tim Forsyth,
    • Martin Mahony
    The trend of moving away from global environmental assessments and toward solution-oriented assessments raises new challenges because of the need to engage directly with politics, values, and deliberation. Here, we argue that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) have still not developed sufficient capacity to engage with these novel challenges and that the IPBES assessment of transformative change is an opportunity to put this right.
  • A step change needed to secure a nature-positive future—Is it in reach?

    • Divya Narain,
    • Joseph W. Bull,
    • Shahzoda Alikhanova,
    • Megan C. Evans,
    • Robert Markham,
    • Martine Maron
    The 1972 Stockholm Conference put environmental protection on the global agenda for the first time. But since then, biodiversity losses and increasing threats have outpaced the conservation response. A step change is needed to reverse this trend and will require scaled-up action across society, including from governments, businesses, and financial institutions.
  • Plastic pollution: A global challenge in need of multi-level justice-centered solutions

    • Peter Stoett
    Plastic pollution is an immense challenge given the centrality of plastic today, the general failure of recycling to solve the problem, the rise in waste related to COVID-19, and shifts in the waste trade. Solutions must involve local actions, citizen and corporate commitment, and a new international treaty that reflects the need for local and global environmental justice.
  • Achieving global biodiversity goals by 2050 requires urgent and integrated actions

    • Paul Leadley,
    • Andrew Gonzalez,
    • David Obura,
    • Cornelia B. Krug,
    • Maria Cecilia Londoño-Murcia,
    • Katie L. Millette,
    • Adriana Radulovici,
    • Aleksandar Rankovic,
    • Lynne J. Shannon,
    • Emma Archer,
    • Frederick Ato Armah,
    • Nic Bax,
    • Kalpana Chaudhari,
    • Mark John Costello,
    • Liliana M. Dávalos,
    • Fabio de Oliveira Roque,
    • Fabrice DeClerck,
    • Laura E. Dee,
    • Franz Essl,
    • Simon Ferrier,
    • Piero Genovesi,
    • Manuel R. Guariguata,
    • Shizuka Hashimoto,
    • Chinwe Ifejika Speranza,
    • Forest Isbell,
    • Marcel Kok,
    • Shane D. Lavery,
    • David Leclère,
    • Rafael Loyola,
    • Shuaib Lwasa,
    • Melodie McGeoch,
    • Akira S. Mori,
    • Emily Nicholson,
    • Jose M. Ochoa,
    • Kinga Öllerer,
    • Stephen Polasky,
    • Carlo Rondinini,
    • Sibylle Schroer,
    • Odirilwe Selomane,
    • Xiaoli Shen,
    • Bernardo Strassburg,
    • Ussif Rashid Sumaila,
    • Derek P. Tittensor,
    • Eren Turak,
    • Luis Urbina,
    • Maria Vallejos,
    • Ella Vázquez-Domínguez,
    • Peter H. Verburg,
    • Piero Visconti,
    • Stephen Woodley,
    • Jianchu Xu
    Governments are negotiating actions intended to halt biodiversity loss and put it on a path to recovery by 2050. Here, we show that bending the curve for biodiversity is possible, but only if actions are implemented urgently and in an integrated manner. Connecting these actions to biodiversity outcomes and tracking progress remain a challenge.


  • Q&A with Nisreen Elsaim

    Nisreen Elsaim, chair of the United Nations Secretary General Youth Climate Advisory Group and chair of the Sudan Youth Organization on Climate Change (SYOCC) from 2018 to 2021, recently spoke with One Earth about her work as a youth climate activist and her hopes for progress beyond Stockholm+50. The views expressed by Elsaim are hers only and not necessarily those of United Nations Secretary General Youth Climate Advisory Group or SYOCC.
  • Q&A with Denis Hayes

    Denis Hayes, organizer of the first Earth Day, founder of the Earth Day Network, and presently CEO of the Bullitt Foundation, recently spoke with One Earth about his work in environmental advocacy in the 50 years since the Stockholm Declaration. The views expressed by Hayes are his only and not necessarily those of the Bullitt Foundation.



  • From environmental governance to governance for sustainability

    • Arun Agrawal,
    • Sidney Brandhorst,
    • Meha Jain,
    • Chuan Liao,
    • Nabin Pradhan,
    • Divya Solomon
    The inclusion of new agents and their interests, mechanisms of governance, and motivational foundations has strengthened analyses of environmental challenges and outcomes. But the revolution of environmental governance remains incomplete. To address the complex, interrelated, non-linear socio-environmental sustainability challenges threatening societies and ecosystems, we call for a shift from environmental governance to governance for sustainability. Main text


  • Flexible conservation decisions for climate adaptation

    • Jonathan R. Rhodes,
    • Paul R. Armsworth,
    • Gwenllian Iacona,
    • Payal Shah,
    • Ascelin Gordon,
    • Kerrie A. Wilson,
    • Rebecca K. Runting,
    • Brett A. Bryan
    The impacts of climate change on biodiversity and the effectiveness of different conservation adaptation options are prone to high levels of uncertainty. Strategically building flexibility into conservation plans to allow future modification in response to climate change is an important way to reduce exposure to climate risks. We develop a conceptual framework to enable a more structured approach to building flexibility into conservation that explicitly links types of flexibility to climate risks and conservation decision-making processes.
  • How inequality fuels climate change: The climate case for a Green New Deal

    • Fergus Green,
    • Noel Healy
    Open Access
    Green New Deal (GND) proposals have been criticized by high-profile advocates of carbon-centric climate policies—advocates who do not perceive socioeconomic inequalities to be significant drivers of climate change and who argue that GNDs’ wider agenda will undermine decarbonization efforts. Here, we show that inequalities do fuel climate change and that common policy components of GNDs do indeed tackle the causal mechanisms. We argue that GNDs enable more effective political strategies than carbon-centric policies do.
  • Credible biodiversity offsetting needs public national registers to confirm no net loss

    • Heini Kujala,
    • Martine Maron,
    • Christina M. Kennedy,
    • Megan C. Evans,
    • Joseph W. Bull,
    • Brendan A. Wintle,
    • Sayed M. Iftekhar,
    • Katherine E. Selwood,
    • Kahli Beissner,
    • Dave Osborn,
    • Ascelin Gordon
    Open Access
    Biodiversity offsetting schemes seek to compensate for biodiversity loss through human development by producing equal gains elsewhere, aiming at no net loss (NNL) of biodiversity. Although increasingly common, the extent to which such schemes achieve NNL remains unclear because basic information about their outcomes is unavailable. Here we outline criteria that will enable a reliable and accessible public registry, better monitoring, and clear reporting of the NNL effectiveness of biodiversity offset schemes. According to our analysis, no existing registers meet these criteria so far.

Visual Earth

  • Last Gesture

    Last Gesture holds a vessel of salt from the disappearing Great Salt Lake as an offering. Sculpted from a reclaimed pine pallet and coated with burn scars like those left by wildfires upwind of the lake, it is a final call to find reciprocity with the places we call home.


  • Local waste management successfully reduces coastal plastic pollution

    • Kathryn Willis,
    • Britta Denise Hardesty,
    • Joanna Vince,
    • Chris Wilcox
    Plastic pollution is a global issue that can be solved with local solutions. However, there is currently a lack of a quantitative framework that connects local actions to measurable changes in coastal plastic litter. Our continent-wide assessment of local waste management efforts explores what types of local solutions are most effective at reducing plastic pollution. We found actions that encouraged stewardship of coastal areas or motivated appropriate waste disposal through economic measures generated the greatest reductions.
  • Climate change will amplify the inequitable exposure to compound heatwave and ozone pollution

    • Jie Ban,
    • Kailai Lu,
    • Qing Wang,
    • Tiantian Li
    Heatwaves and ozone pollution have coincided to form one of the impactful compound events across the world. But the extent of the future trend of compound events and its population exposure remain unexplored. Here, we project the tempo-spatial changes of the occurrence and exposure to this compound event. Population exposure will rise significantly in the future under climate change. The inequitable exposure among countries with different income levels indicates a necessity for targeted prevention plans.
  • Breaking down barriers: The identification of actions to promote gender equality in interdisciplinary marine research institutions

    • Rebecca J. Shellock,
    • Christopher Cvitanovic,
    • Mary Mackay,
    • Merryn C. McKinnon,
    • Jessica Blythe,
    • Rachel Kelly,
    • Ingrid E. van Putten,
    • Paris Tuohy,
    • Megan Bailey,
    • Alpina Begossi,
    • Beatrice Crona,
    • Kafayat A. Fakoya,
    • Beatrice P. Ferreira,
    • Alice J.G. Ferrer,
    • Katia Frangoudes,
    • Judith Gobin,
    • Hong Ching Goh,
    • Paivi Haapasaari,
    • Britta Denise Hardesty,
    • Vreni Häussermann,
    • Kelly Hoareau,
    • Anna-Katharina Hornidge,
    • Moenieba Isaacs,
    • Marloes Kraan,
    • Yinji Li,
    • Min Liu,
    • Priscila F.M. Lopes,
    • Marina Mlakar,
    • Tiffany H. Morrison,
    • Hazel A. Oxenford,
    • Gretta T. Pecl,
    • Jerneja Penca,
    • Carol Robinson,
    • Samiya Selim,
    • Mette Skern-Mauritzen,
    • Kumi Soejima,
    • Doris Soto,
    • Ana K. Spalding,
    • Alice Vadrot,
    • Natașa Vaidianu,
    • Mona Webber,
    • Mary S. Wisz
    Gender diversity is important for achieving equality and ocean sustainability challenges. However, women are less likely to be in positions of leadership within academic interdisciplinary marine research institutions. We highlight the non-gendered and gendered challenges they experience as a leader that affect their role, mental wellbeing, success, and career progression. Accordingly, we present actionable strategies, systems, and processes that can be implemented by academic interdisciplinary marine research institutions and the scientific community to improve gender equality.
  • Life-cycle CO2 mitigation of China’s class-8 heavy-duty trucks requires hybrid strategies

    • Kexin Wang,
    • Victor Gordillo Zavaleta,
    • Yang Li,
    • S. Mani Sarathy,
    • Amir F.N. Abdul-Manan
    Mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from China’s heavy-freight logistics is imperative given the sector’s continuously growing GHGs. Advanced diesel engine, battery-electric, and hydrogen fuel cell are available options, but to what degree they can reduce GHGs throughout the life cycle remains unclear. Here, we evaluate the mitigation potential of these options for China’s class-8 heavy-duty trucks (HDTs) in 2030 using a life-cycle approach. Results show that all options can enable life cycle GHGs reduction, with the prospect of exceeding 70% reductions when combined with low-carbon energies.
  • Methane emissions along biomethane and biogas supply chains are underestimated

    • Semra Bakkaloglu,
    • Jasmin Cooper,
    • Adam Hawkes
    Open Access
    Biomethane and biogas have emerged as cleaner alternatives for natural gas, as they generate fewer greenhouse-gas emissions. However, their production and distribution can still result in methane emissions, the magnitude of which remains unclear. Here, we evaluate methane emissions throughout the biomethane and biogas supply chains and show that emissions are greater than previously estimated. The digestate stage generated the most CH4, and 62% of total emissions were released by just 5% of emitters.