The authors provide a systemic overview of the current situation, in which people and nature are dynamically intertwined and embedded in the biosphere. Shocks and extreme events as part of this dynamic – in which humanity has become the major force in shaping the future of the Earth system as a whole, and where the rapid expansion of the human dimension has caused climate change, simplification of life on earth, growing inequalities, and loss of resilience. Taken together, human actions are challenging the biosphere foundation for a prosperous development of civilizations. The Anthropocene calls for transformative change towards sustainable futures.

The authors point to emerging technologies, social innovations, broader shifts in cultural repertoires, as well as a diverse portfolio of active stewardship of human actions in support of a resilient biosphere as essential parts of such transformations.