Skip main navigation

Learning Goals

What are the planetary boundaries and what is a "safe and just operating space"?

In this activity we present the Planetary Boundaries and Donut Economics – that together aim to define a safe and just operating space for humans on our planet.

With these you will be able to describe:

  • what is the “safe operating space” by being able to list the 9 planetary boundaries,
  • how are we doing in terms of staying in the safe operating space by being able to list which of the boundaries are in and out of the green zone,
  • what is meant by a “just operating space” by being able to list the 12 dimensions that make up the social foundation for a just operating space for all people.

We will also meet Andreas Magnusson, Mitzi Jonelle Tan and Kimberly Nicholas who provide examples of why working towards both a safe and a just operating space is important. We will hear their concerns for our future but also how we can change the current trajectory we are on. Between the three of them we will get insights from youth activists and scientists on climate change and climate action, and on how the impacts of climate change and social justice varies greatly depending on where and who you are.

This activity provides both a sobering reality check, but also guidance on what we want to aim for and ways that we can work towards this.

Before you get started, think about the impacts of climate change that you see where you live? How are you affected by these changes? Could this change over the coming decades? Take these notes with you into this activity, it will be useful to link your observations to those in the steps.

This article is from the free online

Taking on the Climate Crisis with Social Change

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education