Over recent decades there has been an increasing concern and need to find ways to measure our impact at a local, regional and planetary level. There is now strong prevailing consensus that human societies expansion across the earth has led to global warming and biodiversity loss. This has led scientists to declare that we are undergoing an epoch-level transition and entering the Anthropocene. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution our societies have developed and expanded through fast paced technological change and this has been accompanied by global ecological degradation leading to our current environmental crises. To meet not only the challenges of this century, but of those to come will require different approaches. To be able to grasp and make sense of climate change and mankind’s impact will also require new ways to think about what is sustainability. This will require societal values that can translate into measurements to allow us to understand and act in the present for the benefit of our collective future.
To meet the challenges of our times, this site introduces the Humanosphere Potentiality Index (HPI). It was built upon existing publicly available data sets and developed over the last 8 years by a team of researchers based at different Japanese research institutions to address current global potentiality from a long-term perspective. The HPI presents a different and unique way to envision the current condition of the world, one that is compatible with a strong sustainability paradigm approach*. In particular, this index demonstrates the significance of tropical countries for global sustainability. It offers a comparison between HPI and the Human Development Index (HDI). and shows a significant positive correlation for tropical countries and negative correlation for temperate countries. We chose to make this comparison as we believe that the HDI possesses a dominant developmental paradigm that justifies its perspective.
This index also offers a comparison with four other popular environmental indicators to provide insights into how human society should engage with the natural environment. We hope that this index will stimulate discussion on global potentiality from a long-term perspective.
* Strong sustainability recognizes that existing stocks of critical natural capital (CNC), those that cannot be substituted by other environmental stocks, must be maintained and enhanced, insofar as the functions they perform cannot be duplicated by manufactured capital.