Since the Rio Summit in 1992, the sustainable development agenda has been transformed from global aspiration to political imperative with a human dimension. During this process, the obvious decline in the conditions of ecosystems has generated a global appreciation of the urgency to face environmental threats and related impacts. Today, the challenge presented by global environmental change is thoroughly documented through decades of world summits, transnational advocacy, and scholarly research. Despite these efforts we have not adequately addressed negative environmental and social outcomes as manifested by the climate change dilemma, the biodiversity extinction crisis, the ongoing crippling effects on human wellbeing of market failure, poverty, violence and war, along with water, energy, health and food security concerns.
As noted by the UN Secretary General’s report to the UN on Harmony with Nature: "The present technological age has seen an impoverishment in the historical relationship between human beings and nature. Nature has been treated as a commodity that exists largely for the benefit of people, and all environmental problems as solvable with a technological fix. Loss of biodiversity, desertification, climate change and the disruption of a number of natural cycles are among the costs of our disregard for nature and the integrity of its cosystems and life-supporting processes. As recent scientific work suggests, a number of lanetary boundaries are being transgressed and other risks being so in a business-as-usual world".