Grand Challenges of Sustainability Science

Symposium at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting

17 February 2007

Sustainability science is an emerging field of research, which integrates the physical, biological, and social sciences as well as medicine and engineering. Core questions will be explored through problem- and place-specific studies presented in this session. How can the dynamic interactions between nature and society be better incorporated in emerging models and conceptualizations that integrate the Earth system, human development, and sustainability? How are long-term trends in environment and development reshaping nature-society interactions in ways relevant to sustainability? What determines the vulnerability or resilience of the nature-society system in particular kinds of places and for particular types of ecosystems and human livelihoods? Can scientifically meaningful "limits" or "boundaries" be defined that would provide effective warning of conditions beyond which the nature-society systems incur a significantly increased risk of serious degradation? What systems of incentive structures can most effectively improve social capacity to guide interactions between nature and society toward more sustainable trajectories? How can today's relatively independent activities of research planning, observation, assessment, and decision support be better integrated into systems for adaptive management and societal learning?

San Francisco, CA

Organized by:
Pamela Matson, National Academies' Roundtable on S&T for Sustainability
Robert Kates, Initiative on Science and Technology for Sustainability
Vaughan Turekian, AAAS Center for Science, Innovation and Sustainability

William Clark, Sustainability Science Program, Harvard University

William C. Clark, Sustainability Science Program, Center for International Development, Harvard University
Grand Challenges of Sustainability Science [slides]

Pamela Matson, School of Earth Sciences, Woods Institute for Environment, Stanford University
The Scope and Focus of an Emerging Field: Sustainability Science [slides]

Robert W. Kates, Independent Scholar, Trenton, Maine African Exceptionalism: A Grand Challenge Reducing Poverty and Hunger in Africa [slides]

John Schellnhuber, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Oxford University, and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Climate and Energy Security: Do We Need a Global Manhattan Project? [slides]

Edward L. Miles, Center for Science in the Earth System, Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, University of Washington
Vulnerability of Human-Environment Systems to Multiple Stressors: A Focus on the World Ocean [slides]

B. L. Turner II, Graduate School of Geography, Marsh Institute, Clark University
Towards Sustainable Land Architecture [slides]

Elinor Ostrom, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University and Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity, Arizona State University
The Challenge of Crafting Diversity to Cope with Diversity [slides]

John Holdren, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and Woods Hole Research Center
Closing Observations: Symposium on Grand Challenges in Sustainability Science [slides]

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