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Study of the Planetary Human-Environment Relationship (SPHERE):The Rise of Global Environmental Governance

SPHERE is a historical study of humanity’s relation to planetary conditions and constraints and how it has become understood as a governance issue.

The key argument is that Global Environmental Governance (GEG), which has arisen in response to this issue, is inseparable from the rise of a planetary Earth systems science and a knowledge-informed understanding of global change that has affected broad communities of practice. The overarching objective is to provide a fundamentally new perspective on GEG that challenges both previous linear, progressivist narratives through incremental institutional work and the way contemporary history is written and understood.

SPHERE - Podcast

Click on the picture to listen to the podcast at PodBean

The SPHERE podcast investigates the historical evolution of global environmental governance through in-depth discussions with a wide array of scholars, scientists, and practitioners—including politicians, diplomats and other government officials—who have played decisive roles in shaping the course of environmental politics, science and activism over the past half century or more.  

The Environment: A History of the Idea

After years of research, 'The Environment: A History of the Idea' is published by SPHERE researchers Sverker Sörlin and Paul Warde. The book provides an intellectual history of the concept of the environment and lay the foundation for the SPHERE research project.

Review of the book in Nature



Sphere Project Kick off Meeting, November 2018. Photo: Viktoria Davidsson,

SPHERE is led by KTH Royal Institute of Technology and is completed in partnership with the University of Cambridge, the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Sydney. The project is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.