what we do
The mission of the Common Home of Humanity is to contribute to build a new global governance system for humanity based on the legal recognition of a well-defined well-functioning Earth System as an Intangible Common Heritage of Humankind.
This new object of International Law should be the basis around which the relations of interdependence that emerge from the shared use of a unique and highly interconnected Earth System at a global scale are organized, producing cascading effects on health, economy, social justice and international relations.
WHAT IS COMMON HOME
Common Home of Humanity is a novel initiative conceived in 2016 in recognition of the enormous governance challenge that global interdepence poses to human societies in their efforts to ensure a sustainable future for humankind.
Within a truly global, inter and trans-disciplinary effort, the Common Home of Humanity works to build a global transformative movement to create the needed structural conditions for a colective action for our civilization to safeguard a well-functioning Earth System.
What we want
A planet with an Earth System outside a favourable state for humankind simply cannot serve as Our Home. Our Common Home is the biogeophysical composition of atmosphere, land, oceans and ice that corresponds to a well-functioning Earth System. Thus, our Common Home is not the physical Planet Earth only, but rather the intangible Earth System that must be kept within the limits defined by the Planetary Boundaries to support life and human health.
A new legal framework must be designed for the management of a common good that is global, intangible, impossible to divide but is exhaustible by overuse – a well-functioning Earth System with a stable climate.
VISION OF THE COMMON HOME OF HUMANITY
To build a human organisation where human societies are capable of maintaining favourable biogeophysical conditions of a well-functioning Earth System. To reach this goal we must embark on the civilizational journey from Explorers and Exploiters to Guardians and Managers of our intangible Common Home.
ONE EARTH SYSTEM, ONE COMMON HERITAGE, ONE GLOBAL PACT
Why it matters
“Currently, the Earth System is on a Hothouse Earth pathway driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases and biosphere degradation toward a planetary threshold at ∼2 °C, beyond which the system follows an essentially irreversible pathway driven by intrinsic biogeophysical feedbacks, (…) and raising the temperature further in a domino-like cascade that could take the Earth System to even higher temperatures. (…) This analyses implies that, even if the Paris Agreement target of a 1.5 °C to 2.0 °C rise in temperature is met, we cannot exclude the risk that a cascade of feedbacks could push the Earth System irreversibly onto a “Hothouse Earth” pathway. The challenge that humanity faces is to create a “Stabilized Earth” pathway that steers the Earth System away from its current trajectory toward the threshold beyond which is Hothouse Earth.”
The Stabilized Earth Pathway that we urgently need requires deliberate human action to create feedbacks that keep the system on a Stabilized Earth pathway. The human stewardship to create and maintain a stable climate implies an economy of restoring and permanently caring for a well-functioning Earth System. This is only possible if the most basic requirement that makes possible any human enterprise is in place: an appropriate legal framework, that in this case is a favourable framework to manage commons.
The first step to make this restoration and future maintenance possible is the recognition from human socities of the common good itself. This means to recognize the existence of the Earth System not only from a scientific point of view but also from legal standpoint - as a legal object – A Common Heritage of Humankind.
 Steffen, W. et. Al. (2018) Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene - Edited by William C. Clark, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and approved July 6, 2018 (received for review June 19)
How change can happen
A wider conversation on a new global agreement for the Environment is now taking place and it is supposed to be released during the landmark 50th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment of Stockholm 1972 – Stockholm+50, in June 2022.
As the window of opportunity for avoiding dangerous climate change is rapidly closing and scientists are warning about a planetary tipping point that could lie just ahead, an initiative towards a Global Pact for the Environment can be our last opportunity to create a conceptual evolution in international environmental law.
The new Global Pact should become the transformative process that drives a paradigm shift in international environmental law towards a comprehensive system of Earth System law. It should create a new conceptual basis for a constructive approach to restore Earth System functioning, enabling governments to embark on a scientifically informed path to build a successful governance model.
How we work
The Common Home is advocating for the legal recognition of the Earth System as a Common Heritage of Humankind and building a strong global coalition of leading Earth System and sustainability scientists, legal experts, socio-economists, sovereign states, NGOs, international organizations, local authorities, local communities, indigenous peoples, individuals, academia and other stakeholders. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and gather our movement!
Common Home of Humanity is based the Centre for Legal and Economic Research (CIJE) of University of Porto, and headquartered at Geophysical Institute of University of Porto, in Gaia , as a development of the research project "Common Home of Humanity: a legal construction based on knowlegde".
The different CHH Governing bodies provide strategic guidance and oversee Common Home of Humanity’s activities. It is currently supported by the Portuguese Ministry of Environment as well as the Municipalities of Porto and Gaia.
Common Home of Humanity was created in Portugal, at the University of Porto (Centre for Legal and Economic Research (CIJE), and with the support of the Faculty of Sciences, in partnership with:
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