Deforestation and Planetary Boundaries: COVID-19 as a Tipping Point for Civilisational Crisis

The Schumacher Institute for Sustainable Systems is launching its new report at an exclusive event on 12th November – see here

The report by leading systems theorist, environment journalist and Schumacher Institute Fellow, Dr Nafeez Ahmed, is titled ‘Deforestation and the Risk of Collapse: Reframing COVID-19 as a Planetary Boundary Effect’ and published by the Schumacher Institute’s journal System Change.

It can be found at:

The report provides a systems analysis of the biophysical and societal forces triggering and shaping the COVID-19 pandemic with a special focus on the role of deforestation in increasing the risks of pandemics and other interrelated ecological catastrophes. 

Its core argument is that the COVID-19 pandemic was a symptom of the fundamental structures of industrial civilisation, and is an early warning signal for how this civilisation is rapidly eroding the very conditions of its own existence. But beyond this critical diagnosis, Dr Ahmed’s new report offers a wide-ranging set of concrete policy recommendations for how to avert crisis and transition to a more resilient and equitable economic system. 

About the report author:

Dr Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is a world-renowned environment journalist, academic and systems theorist who writes for VICE and has previously written for The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, among numerous other publications. He is a Research Fellow at the Schumacher Institute for Sustainable Systems.

Ahmed is Executive Director of the System Shift Lab, a transdisciplinary network of natural and social scientists working on the biggest global challenges facing humanity, and a former Visiting Research Fellow at the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University.

He is the author of several bestselling books on environmental issues, including Failing States, Collapsing Systems: BioPhysical Triggers of Political Violence (Springer), and A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It (Pluto), which inspired his award-winning documentary film, The Crisis of Civilization.