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Transforming African Food Systems
Reporting on the session from the Seedbeds of Transformation Conference
Travel ... or tele-robot? Participating in a climate change workshop by remote
The world’s first video-linked interaction dates back to 1927 – fast forward almost 100 years to 2018, and video-linking into workshops, seminars, conferences and other events by remote has never been easier.
Insight from the 2018 Nexus Conference at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Here are the insights gathered from the 2018 Nexus Conference at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, which examined how water, energy and food systems are interlinked and what this means for sustainability.
Seedbeds of Transformation Conference explores tensions and opportunities towards sustainability in Africa
9-11 May, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Berta Martín-López: The paradigm of nature's contributions to people
The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is introducing a new paradigm that promises positive reforms for the evaluation of ecosystem services. The paradigm includes two key concepts (Nature’s Contributions to People and Indigenous and Local Knowledge) to counter the deterioration of the environment and the consequences of climate change.
Berta Martín-López: El paradigma de las contribuciones de la naturaleza a la gente
La Plataforma Intergubernamental Científico-Normativa sobre Biodiversidad y Servicios de los Ecosistemas (IPBES) introduce un nuevo paradigma que promete reformas positivas para la evaluación de servicios de los ecosistemas. Tal paradigma se compone por dos conceptos que podrían ser respuestas claves para contrarrestar el deterioro del medio ambiente y las consecuencias del cambio climático.
Making sense of transformation in water-stressed cities
The "new normal" of climate change demands transformative, not just incremental, changes in cities across the globe, Steve Waddell, Coleen Vogel and Christina Cook write in a new blog.
Shall we grasp the unique opportunity for pursuing transformative development?
In a new blog, Francesca Farioli and Alice Ruhweza urge the world to "leave no one behind" in the pursuit of global sustainability.
The origins of the IPCC: How the world woke up to climate change
On the 30th anniversary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a new blog explores a series of pivotal events that alerted scientists and politicians to the urgency of addressing climate change.
Field notes from CitiesIPCC: Day 3
Future Earth's Daniel Strain shares his experiences at this international event exploring the role that cities play in causing, and potentially solving, climate change.
Field notes from CitiesIPCC: Day 2
Future Earth's Daniel Strain shares his experiences at this international event exploring the role that cities play in causing, and potentially solving, climate change.
Field notes from CitiesIPCC: Day 1
Future Earth's Daniel Strain shares his experiences at this international event exploring the role that cities play in causing, and potentially solving, climate change.
Envisioning climate-friendly cities
Leading researchers from the Future Earth community imagine how cities of the future might look if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change.
Researchers lay out new path for science on cities and climate change
An international team of researchers recommends launching a network of “urban observatories” for collecting data on cities worldwide.
What does climate change hold in store for European cities?
In this Q&A, Selma Gurreiro and Richard Dawson discuss their new study examining how climate change could influence heat waves, droughts and floods in 571 cities in Europe – and what these towns and metropolises can do about it.
Creating a guidebook for the future
In this Q&A, historical ecologist Carole Crumley talks about how studying humanity's past, such as life in Maya cities, can help the world to solve modern problems – and challenge the way people think about concepts like time.
The new science of cities? Four reasons we need networked knowledge
Cities are defined by their networks – flows of people, capital, goods and information. Efforts to solve the challenges facing cities need to be just as networked, M'Lisa Colbert argues.
Powerful new dataset reveals patterns of global ozone pollution
A new report from the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) project provides a comprehensive look at ozone pollution levels at sites from coastal California to burgeoning cities in China.
How much carbon does the planet's vegetation hold?
Scientists estimate that human actions, from clear-cutting forests to introducing cows to wild grasslands, have cut the carbon storage potential of Earth's plants by half.
Not Just Commodities: World Needs Broader Appreciation of Nature’s Contributions to People
In a new paper, researchers make the case that environmental policies and other decisions need to consider the full range of benefits that humans get from nature, including its cultural and religious significance.
Watch the video: Get involved in knowledge in action
Innovators from all walks of life with expertise in health, cities, water, energy and food and much more can get involved in Future Earth's Knowledge-Action Networks.
The state of biodiversity in the regions: What to expect from the IPBES in 2018
In this interview, Bob Watson and Bob Scholes talk about the road ahead for the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the world's leading body for assessing biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Reflections on COP23: Introducing the world to "Talanoa" and more
Future Earth's Kaela Slavik captures important moments from this year's United Nations climate negotations, or COP23 – including efforts to forge stronger links between the UN and outside groups.
My “learning journey” journal in Mexico
Claudia Munera Roldan reflects on what she learned at the second conference of the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS), which took place from 7 to 10 November in Oaxaca City, Mexico.
Novel partnerships in an era of global environmental change
The sustainability research community needs to develop new alliances if they want to have real impact argues Georgina Cundill Kemp, Senior Program Officer at the International Development Research Centre in Canada.
Putting a value on life in the ocean
A study of marine conservation policies in three regions of the world makes the case that it's time to start considering the value of ocean biodiversity as a whole.
Photo slideshow: Coping with climate change in the Middle East and North Africa
Take a visual tour of a recent exhibit that examined how cities from Rabat, Morocco, to Muscat, Oman, are working together to address complex global challenges.
Global carbon dioxide emissions projected to rise after three stable years
WATCH THE VIDEO: New results suggest that time may be running out for the world to meet international targets for climate change.
Can big business become sustainable?
In this Q&A, business ethicist Laszlo Zsolnai talks about the “experiments” underway that will decide if massive companies can balance economic growth with consideration for planetary limits.
Blogging from an international workshop on climate and water
Read three takes on a recent workshop called "Ecological engineering and climate risks," which examined how solutions taken from nature can help researchers to protect human populations and natural ecosystems.
Volcanic eruptions linked to social unrest in Ancient Egypt
A new study from Past Global Changes (PAGES) suggests that abrupt shifts in climate caused by eruptions helped to trigger violent uprisings and other political upheaval in the Ptolemaic era.
Diving into “allocation and access” in Sweden
In a new Q&A, Vasna Ramasar of the Earth System Governance Project talks about the project’s upcoming conference in Lund, Sweden, which will examine the changing roles of researchers in society during “turbulent times.”
How to reach a mature Anthropocene
Perrine Hamel and Leah Bremer offer insights from last month’s Resilience 2017 conference, which focused on setting a path for future research in global sustainability.
Spotlight on SDG Labs: Brewing up sustainability
How can craft brewers churn out ales in a sustainable way? A group of beer lovers in southern Sweden are exploring that question through a new "living lab."
Spotlight on SDG Labs: Indigenous knowledge for healthy islands
A new project in Fiji is working to better integrate Indigenous knowledge into efforts to improve human and environmental health in this Pacific island nation.
Spotlight on SDG Labs: Trees grow in Kano
A new initiative in Nigeria’s second largest city taps the city’s young people to plant native tree species that many residents no longer recognise.
Zeroing in on the carbon cycle
In a Q&A, Fortunat Joos talks about the upcoming 10th International Carbon Dioxide Conference, which will examine the latest science on the fluxes of carbon in and out of the atmosphere – and how human activities will disrupt that cycle for centuries.
Getting to Drawdown: Q&A with Paul Hawken
In an interview with Future Earth, the writer and activist talks about his newest project, which maps, measures and models the top 100 solutions to climate change. They range from restoring tropical forests to educating girls.
Why we need to value biodiversity in the Anthropocene
In this Q&A, Nathalie Seddon, from the University of Oxford, and Rachel Cavanagh, from the British Antarctic Survey, discuss the need to bring biodiversity to the centre of sustainable development.
What does the Anthropocene mean for environmental justice?
In this Q&A, Dimitris Stevis and Stacia Ryder talk about the evolution of the concept of environmental justice and how it can help to foster just transitions from fossil fuel power to renewable energy.
New dataset provides the most complete look yet at the climate of the last 2000 years
Scientists have assembled a comprehensive database of Earth’s past temperatures, drawing on records from tree rings, corals, ocean sediment and more. This archive will provide new opportunities to explore how humans are rewiring the planet’s climate.
Future Earth interviews: The evolving role of Future Earth in global sustainability (video)
In these interviews, Jakob Rhyner of United Nations University and Charles Ebikeme of the International Council for Science talk about Future Earth and the role of science in sustainability.
To increase ocean literacy, narratives hold promise
In a new Q&A, Amelia Greiner Safi of Cornell University talks about how the scientific community can help the public to care about, and act on, the problems facing the world’s seas.
Want to protect the oceans? Time to consider the wider world of development
A new report from the International Council for Science (ICSU), released ahead of this week's UN Ocean Conference, examines the links among global targets for sustainability.
Scientists assemble most complete database of greenhouse gases to date
A new study pulls together “millions and millions of data points” on heat-trapping chemicals in the atmosphere, providing an exhaustive look at the causes of, and possible solutions to, climate change.
50 questions about humanity’s past connections to the environment
A recent paper in PLOS ONE highlights the priorities, and future directions, of historical ecology – a research arena that explores the relationships between people and natural ecosystems over millennia.
Moving beyond the “turbulent teens”: How can science and the private sector work together for sustainability?
In a Q&A, Peter White from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, say that businesses want to help accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. They just need the right science-based targets.
Shaping knowledge on the links between environment, economy and society
A new open-access issue of Ecology and Society showcases research from the Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) investigating the connections between human communities and their surrounding environments.
Learning for landscapes: Insights on stewardship and collaboration
At a recent workshop on a farm in South Africa, researchers and other professionals in sustainability discussed how they can work with groups across the country, from farmers to conservation organisations, to restore landscapes.
We have some work ahead of us, but that’s normal: Studying the past to predict the future
Leading paleoscientists recently convened in Switzerland to share knowledge and start a contribution to a 2018 report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
Video: State of the Planet 2017
Is there intelligent life on Earth? Take a trip to learn about how humans have transformed Earth and why there's hope for the future.
Meeting multiple targets for sustainability at the same time comes with numerous trade-offs
A new study focusing on farmlands and rangelands in Australia suggests that achieving targets for sustainability will take careful planning.
Grappling with inequality in food, energy and water research
Security, Yes. But. For Whom?
“Seeds” project offers glimpse of brighter futures
In this Q&A, Elena Bennett talks about Seeds of Good Anthropocenes, a research effort that seeks to discover how people are transforming their communities for the better.
Invasive snake has impacts that cascade through forests on Guam
The case of a bird-eating snake on the West Pacific island of Guam shows that invasive species can rewire ecosystems in ways that may be difficult to see.
Taking a holistic approach to air pollution and climate change
In a new paper, a group of atmospheric scientists press policy-makers to consider how air pollution and climate change overlap when shaping new rules on emissions.
The climate papers most featured in the media in 2016
Revisit the most "talked about" papers in climate science last year in this blog from Carbon Brief. Among them are two studies by authors in the Global Carbon Project network.
The mathematics of the Anthropocene
In a new paper, Owen Gaffney and Will Steffen condense the complex interactions between industrialised societies and Earth’s life support system into a single mathematical equation.
Tracking carbon emissions from many different angles
In this Q&A, Glen Peters discusses the difficulty of tracking the changes in fossil fuel emissions – and why it's critical for meeting international climate targets.
Living Smarter? Smart Grid Cities and Their Major Pitfalls
As smart grid cities, metropolises in which infrastructure and businesses are connected over the Internet and through data sharing, gain momentum, they face challenges in cutting down on the environmental toll of urban areas.
Global sustainability: 2016 in review
Owen Gaffney traces the major events and scientific findings that shaped thinking and action on global sustainability over the past year – from good news about the ozone hole to concerns that we are living in a “post truth” society.
Beyond Marrakech: The resource nexus and eco-innovation
The major political changes that have occurred across the world in recent years call for a new approach to sustainability – one that is driven from the bottom up, rather than by governments, argues Raimund Bleischwitz.
Why efforts to define the Anthropocene must be more inclusive and transparent
In this Q&A, Erle Ellis discusses current efforts to put a start date on the Anthropocene, a new geologic epoch in the history of the planet – and why social scientists must be involved in the process.
As carbon dioxide climbs, photosynthesis ramps up
New research shows that the land “carbon sink,” or the carbon dioxide absorbed by forests, grasslands and other ecosystems around the world, has grown in recent years – helping to slow down the build up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Responding to disaster: How poverty and vulnerability are linked in Mumbai
New research explores what makes some residents in Mumbai more vulnerable to hazards than others – finding that the situation is more complex than it looks on the surface.
Life on the edge: An immersive experience
A new virtual reality experience takes viewers on a tour of Gereba, a Brazilian favela that some inhabitants call a “forgotten place.”
If innovation is the answer, what’s the question?
At a recent conference in the United Kingdom, participants discussed the evolution in the ways that scholars think about the concept of innovation – and why current global challenges may call for "creative destruction."
Reducing meat consumption for 1.3 billion: A panacea for sustainability and health?
Some have hailed new dietary guidelines released by the Chinese government as a big step toward the nation reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. But the full picture is more complicated.
Future Earth launches a global network for urban research
At a high-profile event at the Habitat III summit in Quito, Ecuador, Future Earth will launch a major new research effort to bring together scientists and non-scientists to produce the knowledge needed to build sustainable cities. Xuemei Bai introduces this new initiative, called the Urban Knowledge-Action Network.
What does it mean to live on an urban planet?
In this Q&A, Thomas Elmqvist talks about the upcoming book "The Urban Planet" and about why researchers need to view cities from a “systems” perspective.
Science is critical for understanding the complexity of cities
In this Q&A, Timon McPhearson discusses how the surge in the growth of cities in recent years calls for new push for urban research.
As more power flows to cities, what role for science?
A Q&A with C40's Seth Schultz
Mobilising for sustainability: Celebrating and strengthening stories of connection
Michelle Kovacevic wraps up the "Mobilising for Sustainability" series on this blog by exploring the connections that are central to sustainability science.
What role will science play in the future of cities?
In the lead up to Habitat III, a landmark summit that will explore sustainable development in cities, experts debate whether the world needs an international institution to assess and coordinate research on urban areas.
SHEA Acts: Highschoolers in Shanghai connect to make an eco difference
A recent environmental summit in China highlights how "bottom-up" actions can help teenagers to think about the sustainability challenges they face everyday.
The time for science and cities to work together is now
In this Q&A, Debra Roberts discusses the growing role that science is playing in the devlopment of cities, helping them to grow less "gung ho" and more sustainably.
Gearing up for IPCC’s sixth assessment report
At a recent meeting, experts assembled in Sweden to set the stage for the next global-scale report by the world’s leading body for climate assessment.
What data visualization can do for science
Two experts in science and design sit down to discuss the benefits—and "traps"—of using creative visualizations to communicate data.
Bringing conversation to the Anthropocene
In his response to the blog post "A bridge from one side only? Discussing the roots of the Anthropocene,” philosopher Zev Trachtenberg says that the key to learning about this geologic epoch lies in good conversations.
Behind the scenes at Australia's first virtual reality hackathon on urban sustainability
Take a tour of a three-day hackathon in Melbourne, following teams as they design prototypes for virtual reality experiences that let viewers tour the Great Barrier Reef or fly through the city's green spaces.
Mobilising for sustainability: New technologies bring learning to everyone
A recent Massive Open Online Course shows the potential of technology to immerse learners in new environments – such as deep below the surface of the ocean.
Mobilising for sustainability: Hackers set their sights on sustainability
Hackathons, events pioneered by the tech industry, are becoming increasingly popular in global sustainability, generating applications that track the movement of lost fishing traps and other innovations. But can they create lasting change in the world?
A cross-community effort to assess extreme events from climate to society
At a workshop in Berlin in February, participants from a range of disciplines and sectors of society gathered to discuss the most burning research questions around how communities are dealing with extreme events like flooding and droughts.
Mobilising for sustainability: How a 30-day challenge is changing lives (and the climate)
Changes in our personal behaviour can influence changes on a bigger scale.
Mobilising for sustainability: Summer schools fill gaps in sustainability science education
Two summer programmes take students out of the classroom and into the Amazon Rainforest and French Alps.
From knowledge to action on sustainability
This year, Future Earth launched eight new networks to connect natural and social scientists with leaders in government, business, non-governmental organisations and more. Research that can invoke action is at the heart of each network. We invite you to get involved to build solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the planet.
Future Earth Australia workshop: #FutureEarthOz
In April 2016, more than 100 participants from diverse disciplines and professions came together in Canberra, to discuss how to translate Future Earth into a regional initiative: Future Earth Australia.
African cities and 1.5 degrees: Interview with Debra Roberts
In an interview with the website Carbon Brief, Debra Roberts touches on why cities will play a critical role in efforts to meet international climate change targets.
Future Earth in Nairobi: Opening day of UNEA
Nations will consider more than 20 resolutions this week at the second United Nations Environment Assembly.
Future Earth in Nairobi: Cheikh Mbow addresses Future Earth on the International Day for Biodiversity
In continuing coverage of the events leading up to the United Nations Environment Assembly, Rebecca Oliver covers events surrounding the International Day for Biodiversity.
Future Earth in Nairobi: Leaders talk the role of science in policy before UNEA
At the Science Policy Forum preceding the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, speakers discussed the need for scientists to participate in challenging conversations around social values.
Reflecting on Our Common Future Under Climate Change
In 2015, 2000 researchers from 100 countries working across disciplines attended a new type of scientific meeting to discuss finding solutions to global problems like climate change. Now, some of these participants discuss the legacy of this conference and the changing role of scientists on the global stage.
A bridge from one side only? Discussing the roots of the Anthropocene
Ninad Bondre and Erle Ellis address "Evolving toward the Anthropocene," a recent blog post, and the differences in the ways that natural and social scientists approach the Anthropocene.
Biosphere Reserves as living laboratories for sustainable development
A recent conference in Peru highlighted the need for scientific research in globally significant places.
Counting down to two degrees
A new outdoor installation in Montreal for Earth Day blends art and science to show spectators the immediacy of climate change.
Getting a closer look at the exploding field of sustainability science
A new report finds that sustainability science is undergoing rapid growth, but some experts argue that researchers need more support for working across disciplines and borders.
Telling interdisciplinary stories about past climate change
At a meeting in Greece, a team of historians, archaeologists and climate scientists embarked on an unprecedented effort to study past Mediterranean climate and society. We talk to three experts about the promise and challenges of doing this type of interdisciplinary research.
Can medieval societies teach us how to adapt to climate change?
A new study takes a comprehensive look at the fall of Constantinople, and if climate change contributed to the collapse.
Evolving toward a better Anthropocene
How did people evolve the capacity to push the planet into a new geologic era? Erle Ellis dives into this question and what it means for humanity's future.
The Aggregate Effect of INDCs
Can the climate plans of nations around the world slow warming in line with international agreements?
Researchers look ahead to the growth of African cities
As Africa undergoes a wave of urbanization, experts gathered in South Africa this month to discuss crucial challenges for the continent.
Mātauranga: Bringing indigenous knowledge to IPBES
The newly-formed global scientific body faces a test of whether it can include indigenous and local voices in its efforts. There isn't much time to waste, experts say.
Bees in decline: IPBES releases global pollinators assessment
Experts publish a comprehensive report of the state of the world's pollinators during an international meeting in Kuala Lumpur.
Can capping energy use make people happier?
Capping the use of energy from non-renewable sources has the potential to contribute greatly to sustainability and wellbeing, so it is high time to pay more attention to it.
Telling local stories: Scientists discuss scenario building ahead of IPBES
The week before a landmark plenary session of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, a team of international scientists is recommending a "multi-scale" approach to scenario development.
Women in Peru get a taste for environmental science
How an education programme and the fate of snow leopards in a changing climate influences the lives of Peruvian women.
What's the value of soil carbon for livestock grazing?
Soil carbon is contributing thousands of dollars to livestock farms each year. By paying attention to the level of carbon in their soils, farmers could avoid substantial losses, a new study suggests.
Volcanic eruptions: Reconciling past mismatches
What happens when past climate modeling experiments do not agree with the climate data in tree rings, marine sediments or ice cores?
The Tyndall Travel Tracker: cumulatively changing our travel behavior one flight at a time
Instead of flying around the world, or even locally, to attend meetings about the latest evidence of climate change and the potential solutions, is it time that high flying academics put their feet back on solid ground and start to walk the talk?
Landmark plant studies find new patterns of successful trait combinations and species competition
The results will provide deeper understanding on how plants are changing in the face of human pressures and what trait combinations are disappearing.
What Time is it? Early Anthropocene @theAGU & Straw Poll
Leading Anthropocene theorist Erle Ellis conducted a spontaneous straw poll at the AGU trying to date the Anthropocene.
A historic summit with reservations: Reflections on COP21
Owen Gaffney reflects on the outcomes of and Future Earth's contributions to COP21.
Social-ecological dynamics in the Anthropocene
Albert Norström identifies seeds of transformation at PECS 2015
The Evolution of Earth System Science
From the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme to Future Earth.
'Call on the health community to help meet the challenge': Q&A with Catherine Machalaba
The processes behind environmental change - not just the effects of environmental change - have profound implications for our health.
Q&A with Corinne Le Quéré: tenth edition of the Global Carbon Budget
We take a look at the research and coordination activities behind the headline budget.
Novel place-based social-ecological systems research
Innovative ideas from young scholars at PECS 2015
Dumbo only flies in clean skies
Air quality has startling effects on our health.
China, EU, India and USA emission reduction plans not enough to keep world under 2 degrees
Recent pledges 'not a good news story', according to new analysis.
9 reasons to put a global fixed price on carbon
Now is the time for a price on carbon, says Sandrine Quéré
Harnessing the web – online platforms for global research communities
Connecting people and ideas worldwide is an oft-stated aim. But how can we make it work for the research community?
Make-or-Break Moments of Climate Conference Politics
The complexity of climate change politics is here to stay, says Mohammad Al-Saidi
Putting nature into business, bank and government equations
Understanding how nature works for us can bridge the gap from research to economic policy.
10 steps to remove carbon from the global economy
Ensuring access to clean, affordable and reliable energy for all is ambitious but achievable.
Q&A with Hans Hurni
Mountain systems are highly suitable as paradigmatic examples of global change
Q&A with Courtney Flint: the social dynamics of mountain systems
What insights are social scientists bringing to mountain research?
Q&A with Christian Körner: 'There is a great need for advancing basic research'
Mountain terrain offers surprising benefits for biodiversity conservation.
VW can be great again by going fossil free
Innovation in clean car technology would have health, social, environmental and economic benefits for society.
Video: young scientists on the Sustainable Development Goals
How can scientists and policy makers work together on the Sustainable Development Goals?
Reducing travel to scientific meetings is an oft-stated goal of climate researchers. But what does it take to turn words into action?
Map of Life: A phone app that helps track wildlife
The app comes at a critical time, says Walter Jetz.
Three ways to engage science with development governance
The science community’s plaintive cries for policy attention signal a familiar problem that demands new approaches.
Can bottom-up climate action save the day?
Climate governance has become more "bottom-up" since COP15 - what does this mean for negotiations at COP21?
Solution-oriented science: what’s your problem?
Attending a multidisciplinary conference opened up new ways of understanding urbanization in the Global South, writes hydrologist Perrine Hamel.
Why the Pope’s encyclical is about much more than climate change
The papal encyclical engages remarkably deeply with science, writes the Vice-Chair of our Science Committee.
Future Earth Finland
Tanja Suni and Iina Koskinen report on the first Future Earth Finland Townhall meeting.
Ahead of COP21, scientists discuss implementable and available climate solutions
A better understanding of complexity in the Earth system is setting the agenda for interdisciplinary research.
How much science is in the Sustainable Development Goals zero-draft?
What's left out of the SDG zero-draft - rather than what made it in - is crucial for the science community.
Chris Field: Science is bringing new and creative solutions to climate change
Solutions-based, integrated science is driving progress on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Anticipating the flood: Integrating knowledge improves disaster risk management
Carolina Vera, a member of the Future Earth Science Committee, speaks to Michelle Kovacevich about climate variability and risk reduction.
Environmental humanities - another view
A climate scientist's perspective on integrating knowledge from the humanities in discussions of global change.
Unpacking the Black Box: the need for Integrated Environmental Humanities (IEH)
The humanities are a rich source of knowledge about human activity - and are key to understanding the human processes behind the Anthropocene, writes Steven Hartman.
Walking on eggshells? Millennial-scale sustainable community management
A new collaboration builds on millenia-old knowledge and the latest scanning electron microscopy to uncover long-term patterns of sustainable wildfowl management in Mývatn, Iceland.
Future Earth Norway
Norwegian funders and researchers are moving from asking “what is Future Earth?” to “How do we implement it?”
Uncovering "Taboo tradeoffs" in ecosystem services
Ecosystem management that doesn't acknowledge uncomfortable truths is likely to fail, says Garry Peterson.
The Neglected Killer
Why air pollution should be a top urban sustainable development goal and why an interdisciplinary approach is needed to solve the world’s largest single environmental risk.
What does transdisciplinary research mean for early career scientists in Future Earth?
Simon Meisch reports on the Annual Meeting of the German Network of Early Career Scientists in Future Earth.
"Farming is not gender neutral" - Q & A with Ann Tutwiler
On the eve of a major conference on closing the gender gap in farming under climate change, we catch up with Ann Tutwiler, Director General of Bioversity International and a speaker at the conference.
Modelling liveable futures
A new tool is helping to visualize the effects of infrastructure planning for sustainable urbanisation.
Black carbon: tackling crop-residue burning in South Asia
Black carbon – or soot – damages lungs and affects the climate. But farmers in South Asia have good reasons for pumping it into their skies.
Q&A with Paul Shrivastava, Executive Director of Future Earth
We sat down with the new Executive Director of Future Earth.
A planetary boundary for biodiversity
Belinda Reyers reports on the expanded collaboration advancing the planetary boundaries framework.
The Great Acceleration
Updated 'planetary dashboard' of environmental, economic and social indicators charts the trajectory of the Anthropocene.
Energising R&D for the great transformation
A transition to low carbon energy sources is needed to limit climate change. But is energy R&D moving fast enough?
Video: Young scientists on a greener economy
How can we make our economies more sustainable? 30 young scientists gathered at Villa Vigoni to answer that question.
All Change? Experiments in sustainability transformations
Energy use in the home meets some of our most basic needs - eating, washing and heating. So how can we reduce this consumption?
‘Don’t do boring science!’ Advice for early career scientists from the DIVERSITAS community
25 bright ideas for early career scientists from the DIVERSITAS celebration conference.
Meghan O’Connell, a young scientist, finds out how key players in DIVERSITAS initially got involved in the network and how it transformed their careers.
Beyond DIVERSITAS – the future legacy of a new generation of biodiversity scientists
As the DIVERSITAS programme celebrates 23 years of operation, Carly Ziter asks what will define the next generation of biodiversity science.
Productive research networks and the legacy of DIVERSITAS
Research initiatives often find added value in the networks of people and processes they create, writes Jasper Montana.
Q&A with Jairam Ramesh
We sat down with the incoming Chair of the Future Earth Engagement Committee.
Harnessing evolution for sustainable development
Evolutionary biology must be integrated within sustainability science to address pressing global challenges over the long-term.
China’s city challenge
China is fast becoming a living laboratory for sustainable urban development experiments.
Can we build sustainable phosphorus governance?
Governance of phosphorus use and recovery has lagged behind other global environmental initiatives, but recent developments could mean a workable system is emerging in outline, writes Masaru Yarime.
Emerging research agendas in hydro-social sustainability science
Emerging interdisciplinary research takes an integrated approach to the challenges of water security.
More than words for “Our Ocean”
Local results hoped for at US meeting on global ocean science and policy
Biomass myth busting: will bioenergy compete with food security?
Humanity relies on global plant production for food, fibre and fuel. But how much of this plant production is available for bioenergy?
International research coordination: a youth perspective on DIVERSITAS
Introducing four early career scientists who will be reporting on biodiversity science and policy from the DIVERSITAS Celebration in Seville, Spain.
Mark Stafford Smith: Sustainable Development Goals need quantified targets
Sustainable Development Goals must draw on scientific expertise in order to create real change, says Mark Stafford Smith, Chair of the Future Earth Science Committee, in a comment piece published in Nature.
Can finance reform keep pace with global change?
A new initiative being announced today aims to put the weight of the global financial system behind climate action.
Ebola and other emerging diseases: losing the trees before we see the forest’s connection to our health
The current Ebola outbreak highlights the links between health, global environmental change and socio-ecological systems – and shows how exploring those links is key to finding solutions.
A virtual flood of information: open data for sustainable water management
The full and open exchange of data is of vital importance to the sustainable management of water resources.
A strategic (& exciting?) research agenda for a sustainable future
Peter Søgaard Jørgensen reflects on attending a workshop to define research questions for the Future Earth Strategic Research Agenda.
Assessing geoengineering: a technical fix too far?
Geoengineering is raising more issues for the social sciences than the physical sciences.
'To be inclusive, you need more voices' - Q&A with Sheila Jasanoff
The “co-production” of research has a range of meanings - under two main headings, an organizational one and a more social-philosophical one. We spoke to Sheila Jasanoff, a leading interpreter of the latter version, to ask how either sense might be relevant to Future Earth.
'Co-design for relevance and usefulness' - Q&A with Melissa Leach
Enabling multiple voices to be heard is the critical challenge for co-design in Future Earth, says Melissa Leach.
Future Earth aims to involve multiple stakeholders with the design and production of scientific research. Jon Turney offers a personal view of how that might work.
Frans Berkhout: can we halt the climbing cost of natural disasters?
The increasing cost of global disasters demands a new approach to climate risk and responsibility, writes Frans Berkhout in a new blog piece for The Huffington Post.
Learning from the unexpected: Q&A with Oran Young
Sudden, unexpected events can trigger dramatic transformations, and the study of those events is ripe for innovative, cross-disciplinary collaboration, says Oran Young.
Talking science: can conversations turn research into action?
Producing knowledge through dialogue is central to transforming the impact of scientific research. But this will require learning through doing, writes Jon Turney.
Deltas at risk
Over 500 million people live in the world's river deltas, but many of these deltas are now at risk of sinking due to damming, mining and other causes. A new infographic produced by IGBP highlights the challenges.
Measuring the Infinite
In the search for a replacement for GDP growth as a measure of progress, Fouad Khan offers a personal view on indicators, and considers what the concept of fractal dimensions can tell us about what it means to measure complex systems.
What does coordination achieve?
Frans Berkhout, interim Director of Future Earth, responds to a recent piece on the UKCDS blog, in which Ian Thornton, Deputy Director of UKCDS, considers the value of international research coordination.
Climate change will drive fish stocks north – away from where they're needed most
A new study suggests there may be both winners and losers when it comes to the future of global fish stocks.
The quiet sinking of the world's deltas
More than 500 million people live in the world's river deltas, yet new research shows that these population magnets are under increased pressure from human activity.
“Deltas are like snowflakes – each one is different” – Q&A with James Syvitski
No two deltas are alike, and custom solutions are needed to protect each one of them, says James Syvitski, professor of geology at the University of Colorado.
Reporter's diary: a journey to Vietnam's southernmost tip
To illustrate the hardship of getting around the Mekong River Delta, our reporter, Hồng Vân, gives a personal account of how she covered the 300 km involved in going from Ho Chi Minh City to Cà Mau, the southernmost tip of Vietnam, and back in 31 hours.
Medium confusion: the IPCC's approach to communicating uncertainty
The latest international climate assessment was published today. Jon Turney gives a personal assessment of how the media may interpret the way the new report handles confidence levels and uncertainty.
The next big thing for global transformation
Paula Caballero Gomez is a driving force behind the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals. We spoke with her about why these represent a truly global effort, and how scientists can contribute to their success.
Deconstructing the Anthropocene
Some argue the concept of the Anthropocene reframes the ever-evolving relationship between people and planet. This could have far-reaching consequences for knowledge production, says Ninad Bondre.
No Substitute for Surrogates?
Surrogate species have gained an important role in monitoring the health of ecosystems, but how useful are they in a time when scientists can analyse nutrient flow or carbon stored in trees?
Amy Luers: Problem-driven science crucial to post-2015 development agenda
We spoke with the Skoll Global Threats Fund Director for Climate Change about taking a risk-management approach to global environmental change, and the need for "operational science".
When worlds collide: the food, energy and water nexus
We will not solve the food security challenge unless we solve the water and energy challenges. This may be the puzzle to end all puzzles. But there’s a plan.
Any questions? Crowdsourcing research priorities for greater impact
Scientists increasingly design their research questions through a grassroots process.
Data visualization for science: the next frontier?
Data visualization offers the potential to inspire new audiences for science, yet the research and design communities are finding it hard to work together.
At Davos, new hope that business can drive radical emissions cuts
As time runs out for action on climate change, two meetings show that there is an unexpected convergence on the horizon between the agendas of business and science.
Rachel Kyte: Climate change threatens to wipe out development progress
We spoke with the World Bank VP and Special Envoy for Climate Change about how fighting climate change became central to the World Bank's development agenda, and why they turned to scientists for advice.
Hacking for urban sustainability
Hackathons originated in technology startups as a way for employees to develop new ideas. Apply this to science and you turn the idea of co-design on its head.
What we're reading – December 2013
Our end of the year selection of interesting articles and essays on global change and Earth systems, accentuating the positive in keeping with the season. Happy New Year!
Strength in diversity
Does newly cultivated farmland facilitate the spread of diseases?
In praise of models
Climate models are more than just a vast assembly of programmers’ code. They are the collective effort of hundreds of people trying to deepen understanding of one of the most complex systems ever studied.
No city is an island
The key to urban sustainability is connecting cities to nature, argues a new study.
What we're reading – November 2013
As negotiators struggle to register progress at COP in Warsaw, we round up some current reading on global change and its consequences.
Science and Storytelling
The history of a revolution in agricultural communications
New data visualization of IPCC findings launched at UNFCCC COP-19
Putting climate in the big picture
Global Carbon Atlas lets users explore emissions data
With UN climate negotiations underway in Poland, scientists have launched the Global Carbon Atlas and the 2013 carbon budget for the planet.
Q&A with Bob Watson: Why Future Earth needs an Engagement Committee
We asked Bob Watson, Chair of the interim Engagement Committee, about the role of this central element of the Future Earth governance structure.
IPCC videos: the State of the Science
Watch Hans Rosling explain 200 years of global change, and Thomas Stocker introduce the new IPCC findings.
What we're reading IV
Part four of our regular round-up of things we've enjoyed reading.
Video: Young scientists on the future of food
What are the challenges of feeding the future? 30 young scientists gathered at Villa Vigoni to answer that question.
What we're reading III
Part three of our regular round-up of things we've enjoyed reading.
Gaia at 40
In 2014, the Gaia hypothesis turns 40. Has it stood the test of time? Two new books reappraise the theory.
What we're reading II
Part two of our regular round-up of things we've enjoyed reading.
Climate change: the state of the science
We asked Owen Gaffney, Director of Communications at IGBP, about their upcoming event on the IPCC Working Group I report.
What we're reading
This is the first of a regular round-up of things we've enjoyed reading.
What's in a name? Understanding the Anthropocene
We live in a new geological era. What that means, though, is now subject to academic debate.
Spotlight on Environmental Buzzwords: Biodiversity Hotspot
When it comes to global sustainability, one of the biggest challenges is finding a common language. This week, Max McClure puts "Biodiversity Hotspots" in the spotlight. So to speak.
Can irrigation be hazardous to your health?
Understanding links between health and irrigation can save lives.
How does equality link to global sustainability? Richard Wilkinson interview
Richard Wilkinson, co-author of the best-seller The Spirit Level, spoke at a recent Future Earth event in London about equality and global sustainability.
Spotlight on Environmental Buzzwords: Ecosystem Services
When it comes to global sustainability, one of the biggest challenges is finding a common language. This week, Max McClure puts "Ecosystem Services" in the spotlight.
Video: Introducing Frans Berkhout, Future Earth Interim Director
Prof. Berkhout explains that Future Earth is a platform for great science to meet its stakeholders.
Q&A with Mark Stafford Smith, Science Committee Chair
We sat down with Mark Stafford Smith, Chair of the Future Earth Science Committee, to ask him about his personal vision for the initiative.
Spotlight on Environmental Buzzwords: Green Growth
When it comes to global environmental change, one of the biggest challenges we face is simply learning how to talk about it. This week, we'll talk about "Green Growth."
Video: Future Earth Town Hall in London
What do people want from Future Earth?
Feeding the world - again
Having enough to eat is a simple enough human requirement. Feeding the world, though, is a game where the goalposts keep shifting.
Q&A with Frans Berkhout, Future Earth Interim Director
We caught up with Prof Frans Berkhout, the new Interim Director of Future Earth, soon after he got started on July 1, 2013.
What is Earth System Governance?
Q&A with Frank Biermann, Chair of the ESG Scientific Steering Committee
Spotlight on Environmental Buzzwords: Carbon Footprint
When it comes to global environmental change, one of the biggest challenges we have is simply learning how to talk about it.
Video: Melissa Leach, Science Committee Vice-Chair
Prof. Leach explains what Future Earth is, and why it is badly needed.