This index uses a framework that is made up of three spheres: the geological, biological and societal. Each one of these operates according to its own dynamic “logic.” Combined these encompass a holistic life-centric and long-term intergenerational equity approach that recognizes the roles of each sphere in supporting life in the broadest sense.
Firstly, the geosphere is the oldest and largest of the three and provides the geophysical basis for the other two spheres and life in general. Incoming solar radiation, the primary source for almost all life that has developed and evolved on the Earth, acts as and provides the driving force for the global circulation of air and water.
The second, the biosphere, under solar radiation and global air and water circulation, has, over millions of years, converted organic materials into an amazing array of diverse self-replicating organisms. These have come to inhabit almost all of the Earth’s major terrestrial life zones.
The third, human society, has, over the past 200,000 years arisen from the biosphere and is its most recent development. It resides within what we classify as a human-oriented societal sphere. Over the past couple of centuries societal metabolic activities have come to exceed the capacity of what the biosphere can support.
Combined these three make up the humanosphere. For this index, we believe a “sustainable” humanosphere can only be achievable when the interlinked potentialities of all three sphere are considered holistically and measured through their relations. Potentialities are defined as those factors that represent the potential of the geosphere, biosphere and human society and constitute the basis for any form of sustainability.