Johan Rockström awarded Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement in Potsdam

05/21/2024 - PIK director Johan Rockström was awarded the 2024 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement in a festive ceremony held in Potsdam. Rockström received the world’s most prestigious environmental prize for his advancement of the Planetary Boundaries science and its importance and reach across the world. The USD $250,000 Prize recognises global leaders in environment and sustainability.
Johan Rockström awarded Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement in Potsdam
Johan Röckström with his Tyler-Prize medal, photo: Jadranko Marjanovic

“The concept of the planetary boundaries is a collective effort. An international community of scientists has worked so hard on it for 15 years,” said PIK director Johan Rockström in his acceptance speech. He stressed how much of a joint and collaborative effort the planetary boundaries framework is, mentioning the late Will Steffen, Katherine Richardson and his colleagues at PIK. “The Planetary Boundaries Science is a fundamental academic endeavour. When we published it in Science in 2009 it was a challenge for the scientific community. But it very naturally became something that was demanded from politics, business spheres, finance, and society,” he added.

The Tyler Prize Committee honored PIK Direktor Rockström with the Tyler Prize for establishing an increasingly accepted framework for safeguarding Earth’s life-support system - the Planetary Boundaries, for its impact, adaptivity and emphasis on solutions as well as for the level of collaboration that went into it. Connecting geological, biophysical, ecological, and human spheres, the Planetary Boundaries define the safe operating space for humanity on Earth.

One of the highlights of the award ceremony was an open conversation between the Laureate and the director of Alfred Wegener Institute Antje Boetius at the University of Potsdam’s auditorium. In their conversation, they touched on many of his research topics and achievements, spanning from his pioneering research on the Planetary Boundaries, for which he was honoured, to resilience theory and planetary health, tipping point science, the new idea of planetary commons, and the founding of the Earth Commission.