Scientists to study interactions among Earth's environment, society and the economy

February 27, 2009

Humans have contributed to widespread changes in the environment, according to scientists. Now we will need to adapt to both predicted and unexpected such changes, they state.

The role, pace and impact of regional and local environmental change will need to be factored into human decision processes, with careful attention paid to uncertainties, say Tim Killeen, National Science Foundation (NSF) assistant director for geosciences, and David Lightfoot, NSF assistant director for social, behavioral & economic sciences.

To identify the strategies best suited to cover replacement costs for lost services, or recover from the effects of natural hazards, it's important to compare the impacts of various mitigation efforts, such as those for carbon management like "cap and trade" programs, say Killeen and Lightfoot.

To factor valuation of "ecosystem services"--what Earth's resources offer humans--into economic activities in a way that provides critically important information about land and water use, NSF's Directorates for Geosciences (GEO) and Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE) have announced a focus on the impacts of humans and our economy on the environment.

The Directorates have issued a Dear Colleague Letter to the scientific community encouraging increased research, jointly supported by core programs in GEO and SBE, on the links among environment, society and the economy.

Especially sought are projects that address such areas as the impacts and adaptation of economic systems; the role of incentives in human behavior; environmental change and its impact on the evolution of human behavior; the interplay of environmental change and inequality of income and access to resources; and overcoming economic and political difficulties in implementing science-based mitigation strategies.

"Climate change will have significant impacts on many aspects of the Earth system," says Killeen, "including carbon sequestration, water and air purification, fisheries and agricultural production and species habitats. Some climate-induced changes will occur gradually, while others will be abrupt."

Adds Lightfoot, "Models show that changes in climate will greatly affect coastal regions, many of which have large urban populations. Climate change may alter the duration and magnitude of monsoonal rainfalls and river flooding. Communities will have to respond appropriately to these new stresses."

These effects and many others, Killeen and Lightfoot state, have direct bearing on economic and policy decisions confronting individuals, groups, firms and governments at local, regional, national and global levels.

National Science Foundation

Related Geosciences Articles from Brightsurf:

Study of LGBTQ+ experience in the geosciences finds difficulties, dangers in fieldwork
An investigation from University of Kansas researchers examines the challenges of fieldwork for LGBTQ+ geoscientists.

European Geosciences Union meeting: Press conferences, media registration
The schedule of press conferences at the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) is now available.

Geosciences in the heart of Texas
Geoscientists from the south-central U.S. and beyond will convene on March 13-14 in San Antonio, Texas, to discuss new science, expand on existing science, and explore the unique geologic features of the region.

European Geosciences Union meeting: Program online, press conferences
The programme for the 2017 European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly is now online.

Geosciences-inspired engineering
The Mackenzie Dike Swarm and the roughly 120 other known giant dike swarms located across the planet may also provide useful information about efficient extraction of oil and natural gas in today's modern world.

European Geosciences Union meeting: Media registration now open
The 2017 General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) provides an opportunity for journalists to hear about the latest research in the Earth, planetary and space sciences, and to talk to scientists from all over the world.

The 2016 AGI Status of the Geoscience Workforce Report: Positive trends in a hard time
The Status of the Geoscience Workforce Report, is biennial comprehensive report on educational, employment, and economic indicators in the geosciences report.

Professor of Marine Geosciences named 2016 AGU Fellow
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Professor Peter K.

Seismologist Michael E. Wysession honored for contributions to geosciences education
For his exceptional leadership in geosciences education and his devotion to public understanding of earthquakes and their impact on society, the Seismological Society of America will present Michael E.

AGI releases The Geoscience Handbook: AGI Data Sheets, Fifth Edition
For more than 40 years, AGI's Data Sheets have been a critical tool for the geoscientist in the field, the lab, and the classroom.

Read More: Geosciences News and Geosciences Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to