60-Second Earth

Scientists Decide on Top 5 Issues for Sustainability

The International Council for Science has narrowed down five top challenges the world needs to meet in order to sustain our planet. Christie Nicholson reports

It’s the environmental question of our time: what sustainable practices can keep our planet optimally habitable? Now a group of international scientists has published a report outlining five key areas of concentration necessary to protect the environment, as well as human societies and economies. The report was published by the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council.


And the winners are…

Forecasting —we need to have pertinent & accurate forecasts of future environmental conditions and their consequences for people.


The second is observing. We need to develop better observation systems to record global and regional environmental change.


Three is something they call confining—anticipating and recognizing disruptive environmental change to quickly manage it.


Four: Responding—Determine those institutional, economic and behavioral responses that will make global sustainability possible.


Lastly, five is a big one: encourage innovation in technology and policy to achieve sustainability.


Clearly, these bullet points represent an overarching, general strategy. The next step, already underway, is to create an organized and focused international structure that can make these five recommendations a reality—and soon: the ICSU hopes for significant progress in all five areas within the next decade.


—Christie Nicholson

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