Understanding the Changing Planet

Biodiversity and climate change feature in a recently-released report that offers 11 strategic directions for leveraging new technologies to harness the potential of geographical sciences. CEC member Nancy Colleton was a member of the National Academy of Science committee that produced the report.

IUCN CEC Specialty Group Leader for Environmental Information

The report from the National Acadamies Press, Understanding the Changing Planet:  Strategic Directions for the Geographical Sciences, may be of interest to you as several chapters have relevance to CEC discussions.  For example, several key questions were addressed:

  • How can we best preserve biological diversity and protect endangered ecosystems?
  • How are climate and other environmental changes affecting the vulnerabilities of coupled human-environment systems?
  • How will we sustainably feed everyone in the coming decade and beyond?

I was very fortunate to be part of this National Academy of Science committee.

Thank you,


From the oceans to continental heartlands, human activities have altered the physical characteristics of Earth's surface. With Earth's population projected to peak at 8 to 12 billion people by 2050 and the additional stress of climate change, it is more important than ever to understand how and where these changes are happening. Innovation in the geographical sciences has the potential to advance knowledge of place-based environmental change, sustainability, and the impacts of a rapidly changing economy and society.

Understanding the Changing Planet outlines eleven strategic directions to focus research and leverage new technologies to harness the potential that the geographical sciences offer.

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