Humanity is increasingly influencing the Earth system that has evolved over millions of years. Visible signs of this 'Anthropocene' are global warming, pollution of the oceans and the decline in biodiversity. In the coming years, therefore, societal decisions of civilization-historical significance will have to be made. A fundamental question is: How can the Earth system be ecologically stabilized in such a way that well-being, prosperity, justice, peace and security for all people are secured or even achieved?