Evolution of the Polycrisis: Anthropocene Traps that Challenge Global Sustainability

Royal Soc B

In this article, the authors, inspired by the polycrisis, identify and explore potential 14 traps affecting humanity in the global human context, brought about by the trajectory of our increasing complexity and influence on the Earth system. These traps are then categorized as global, technological, or structural traps and then further assessed to produce statistical results reflecting their risk-level and their intersection with one another, revealing the systemic nature of the polycrisis. Finally, the article posits that by discussing important navigational capacities for these systemic challenges in pursuit of global sustainability, the authors introduce evolvability as a unifying concept for such research.


Peter Søgaard Jørgensen, Raf E. V. Jansen, Daniel I. Avila Ortega, Lan Wang-Erlandsson, Jonathan F. Donges, Henrik Österblom, Per Olsson, Magnus Nyström, Steven J. Lade, Thomas Hahn, Carl Folke, Garry D. Peterson and Anne-Sophie Crépin

Publication Date

November 13, 2023


Philosophical Transitions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Volume 39, Issue 1893 / The Royal Society Publishing


Royal Soc B

Resource Type

Academic Journal Article

Systems Addressed

Earth System • Economy • Ecosystems • Technology

Resource Theme

Catastrophic and Existential Risk • Systemic Risk

Uses the term polycrisis

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