A concern over an imminent catastrophe is growing in the enlightened sectors of society. One of the first among the outstanding thinkers who have realized all the gravity of consequences of industrial revolution was Vernadsky, who developed a scientific concept about the biosphere as a synthesis of knowledge about humans, biology, and sciences about nature, closely connected historically. Dominant in this doctrine is belief in an indestructible power of scientific ideas as a planetary phenomenon capable to reconstruct the biosphere in a noosphere - the sphere of reason.
Many scientists and public and political leaders have understood this idea as a philosophical doctrine of the future development of the world. At the same time, the doctrine about a noosphere remains hardly worked out even at the conceptual level. At the world summit in Rio de Janeiro (1992), an attempt was made to suggest a global program of development of civilization. The document accepted at the conference was named as a concept of sustainable development.
The biosphere as a self-developing system for all its history has gone through a large number oflocal and global crises, every time reviving and continuing its development at a new evolutionary level. Humans as any biological species are temporary inhabitants on the Earth. Studies of biologists show that mechanisms of constant change of species incorporated in evolution of fauna provide existence in the biosphere of one species during about 3.5 million years on average. Therefore the modern human - Cro-Magnon man - that appeared 60 000-30 000 years ago as a biological species is at its initial stage of development. However, his activity for rather a short term placed him against the biosphere and he created conditions for an anthropogenic crisis.
Considering prospects of the postindustrial development of society, it is necessary to return to ecological understanding of sustainable development. Development can be considered sustainable if it remains within the limits of economic capacity of the biosphere, and maintains its functions as a self-organized and self-adjusted system.
See a/so: Biosphere: Vernadsky's Concept.
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