Online Workshop: Planetary Boundaries with Prof Will Steffen

March 29, 2022
10:00 am - 12:00 pm (AEST)
Online (via Zoom)
Event Format: 2 hour workshop
Event series: Greenprints Exchange Workshop Series


Please join the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) and the Greenprints initiative, for a FREE ONLINE WORKSHOP, that will provide an important opportunity to hear updates about Planetary Boundaries.

With new data showing that novel entities have exceeded critical thresholds, now is a critically important time to understand the changing human impacts on our planet, and to learn about how we can respond.

Professor Steffen will provide an introduction to the concept of Planetary Boundaries, then discuss the status of the different boundaries including climate change, biodiversity and novel entities. He will explain the most recent research that has shown that humanity has crossed the critical threshold now for novel entities, and discuss how various institutions and programs around the world are responding.

  • DATE: Tuesday 29 March
  • TIME: 10am to 12noon AEST/Australian Eastern Standard Time (Brisbane time)
  • ONLINE via zoom + this workshop will be recorded, and shared on the Greenprints website after the event
  • Hosted by AELA's National Convenor - Dr Michelle Maloney


Planetary Boundaries is a critically important concept to understand for everyone working on environmental and social justice issues, including: climate change, biodiversity protection, land management and more. Initiatives such as the UN 'Sustainable Development Goals' and 'Doughnut Economics' are all built on the foundations of the Planetary Boundaries concept - so understanding and staying up to date with Planetary Boundaries is important for practitioners, policy makers and thought leaders. The Planetary Boundaries concept reached global attention when it was released in 'Nature' in 2009. It was developed by 28 internationally renowned scientists - including Australia's Professor Will Steffen. This ground-breaking research identified for the first time, the nine processes that regulate the stability and resilience of the Earth system. The scientists proposed quantitative planetary boundaries within which live on Earth can continue to thrive for generations to come. Crossing these boundaries increases the risk of generating large-scale abrupt or irreversible environmental changes. Since then the Planetary Boundaries framework has generated enormous interest within science, policy, and practice.


Professor Will Steffen has a long history in international global change research, serving from 1998 to 2004 as Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), based in Stockholm, Sweden, and before that as Executive Officer of IGBP's Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems project.

Will was the Inaugural Director of the ANU Climate Change Institute, from 2008-2012.  Prior to that, he was Director of the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society. From 2004 to 2011 he served as science adviser to the Australian Government Department of Climate Change. He is currently a Climate Councillor with the Climate Institute, and from 2011 to 2013 was a Climate Commissioner on the Australian Government's Climate Commission; Chair of the Antarctic Science Advisory Committee, Co-Director of the Canberra Urban and Regional Futures (CURF) initiative and Member of the ACT Climate Change Council.

Steffen's interests span a broad range within the fields of sustainability and Earth System science, with an emphasis on the science of climate change, approaches to climate change adaptation in land systems, incorporation of human processes in Earth System modelling and analysis; and the history and future of the relationship between humans and the rest of nature.

AELA is honoured to have Professor Steffen as a member of our Greenprints Exchange.


Greenprints is a program created by AELA that:

  • provides a practical, step-by-step approach to help people understand both the big picture and the small details of how to transform our societies, so we can care for the environment, build new economies and thrive within safe ecological and climate limits
  • can bring people together across communities and bioregions, to forge new futures, by joining up our existing and new efforts and initiatives;
  • is an Australian-designed approach, that aims to be accessible to anyone. It demystifies and connects the many varied concepts, models and methods that can be used to create ecocentric, sustainable and regenerative communities, organisations and societies (It helps you use Doughnut Economics, Global Ecological Footprint, Rights of Nature, SDGs and other approaches!)


The Greenprints Exchange is a community of people with expertise across an array of knowledge systems and areas of expertise, including: Indigenous law, philosophy and culture, across natural sciences, social sciences, design, law, planning, food systems, design, the arts and more. The Exchange is quite literally a way for people to meet, exchange ideas and share their expertise with the Greenprints team, and Greenprints communities.


Greenprints is for everyone - community activists, lawyers, scientists, Indigenous leaders, economists, school teachers - anyone who's interested in or already involved in creating real systems change, to protect our environment and create new governance approaches Find out more about the Australian Earth Laws Alliance here: