The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Sustainability across the Academies
Sustainability across the Academies
Home Meetings Sustainability Topics Science and Technology for Sustainability Program

Sustainability Topics

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine's Science and Technology for Sustainability Program (STS) in the division of Policy and Global Affairs was established to encourage the use of science and technology to achieve long term sustainable development.  The goal of the STS program is to contribute to sustainable improvements in human well-being by creating and strengthening the strategic connections between scientific research, technological development, and decision-making.

The drop down lists above provide an overview of sustainability activities, both in the STS program and throughout the other boards and committees of the Academies.  The lists are organized by major topical area.  Click on any of the Topics to see lists of related reports, upcoming meetings, and ongoing activities

 Sustainability - the Issue People and Their Communities Life Support Systems Economy and Industry
Sustainability - the Issue
"Can the transition to a stabilizing human population also be a transition to sustainability, in which the people living on earth over the next half-century meet their needs while nurturing and restoring the planet's life support systems?"  
People & Their Communities 
"People-centered development focuses on the "quantity" of life as seen in the survival of children or increased life expectancy, and on the quality of life in terms of education, equity, and equal opportunity." 
Life Support Systems: Atmosphere, Water & Food
"We define preserving life support systems as ensuring the quality and supply of fresh water, controlling emissions into the atmosphere, protecting the oceans, feeding the increased population of the next two generations and maintaining species and ecosystems." 
Economy & Industry
"More often than not, when development is discussed, the emphasis is on the economy, with its productive sectors providing the incentives and the means for investment as well as the funds for environmental maintenance and restoration." 
Natural SystemsInstitutions and IndicatorsResearch and DevelopmentSustainable Energy
Natural Systems
"For human-dominated ecosystems undergoing degradation from multiple demands and stresses, the goal should be to work toward restoring and maintaining these systems' functions and integrity." 
Institutions & Indicators
"Indicators are essential to inform society over the coming decades how, and to what extent, progress is being made in navigating a transition toward sustainability. The successful production and use of the knowledge needed for a sustainability transition will require significant strengthening of institutional capacity." 
Sustainability, Research & Development
"Basic research is essential for assuring that, as societies enter future stages of the transition to sustainability, markets, governments, and other players have the intellectual capital available to address the problems they face and to create the products and processes they need." 
Sustainable Energy
"Sustaining the supply of energy and materials needed to support current levels of consumption, making them available where most needed, and addressing the environmental problems resulting from their extraction, consumption and disposal may be the most significant challenges to a sustainability transition...."