The quality of the environment is obviously important for well-being, not only because of the role it plays as a source of raw materials, now and in the future, but also for human health and because of humans’ appreciation of nature. This chapter presents historical trends in sustainability and environmental quality based on measures of biodiversity and of emissions of CO2 and SO2. It documents long-term declines of biodiversity worldwide, as well as increasing emissions. These indicators are mostly model based: biodiversity measures are derived from the renowned GLOBIO model, while CO2 and SO2 emissions are mostly based on energy production. The chapter describes the assumptions and limitations of both indicators, including a warning about the partial and possibly biased nature of these indices, which give only a glimpse of the complex interactions between humanity and nature.

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