A Good Life For All Within Planetary Boundaries


No country in the world currently meets the basic needs of its citizens at a globally sustainable level of resource use. Our research, recently published in Nature Sustainability (and summarised in The Conversation), is the first to quantify the national resource use associated with achieving a good life for over 150 countries. It shows that meeting the basic needs of all people on the planet would result in humanity transgressing multiple environmental limits, based on current relationships between resource use and human well-being.

The purpose of this interactive website is to foster discussions about the meaning of a good life for all, and what it would mean for nations to thrive within planetary boundaries. Explore the challenge using the chart below, check out a World Map with our results, or select individual Countries to see their environmental and social performance relative to a “safe and just” development space.

Biophysical Boundaries Transgressed versus Social Thresholds Achieved by Nation

The chart above demonstrates the profound challenge nations currently face to provide a good life for all without transgressing planetary boundaries. National performance on seven global environmental boundaries that are shared using an equal per capita approach are plotted against eleven minimum social thresholds below which lies human deprivation (see About page for further details). Ideally, nations would be located in the top-left corner with no biophysical boundaries transgressed and all minimum social thresholds achieved. Use this tool to Explore Scenarios with different thresholds for a “good life”, and see what your choices would mean for sustainability.