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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Environmental Change and Society
Board on Environmental Change and Society
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Sustainability Science: Can Earth’s and Society’s Systems Meet the Needs of 10 Billion People?

Project Scope

An ad hoc committee, appointed under the auspices of DBASSE (BECS and CPOP) working together with DELS (BLS), will plan and conduct a public workshop that will feature invited presentations and discussions directed at a careful empirical examination of the key issues in the science of sustainability that are related to overall human population size, population growth, aging populations, migration toward cities, and differential consumption, land use change, etc., by different subpopulations, as viewed through the lenses of both social and natural science.


The committee will develop the agenda for the workshop, select and invite speakers and discussants, and moderate the discussions. In defining the agenda, the committee will take into account recent empirical literature on the topics of interest, and explicitly emphasize the research questions that need to be addressed in order to achieve sustainability for a larger human population, incorporating considerations of the carrying capacity of the Earth, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.


A rapporteur-authored summary of the workshop will be produced.


The planning committee for this workshop includes:

William B. Rouse (NAE), Chair - Stevens Institute of Technology

F. Stuart (Terry) Chapin (NAS) - University of Alaska

Stephen Polasky (NAS) - University of Minnesota 

John Bongaarts (NAS) - The Population Council

B. L. Turner II (NAS) - Arizona State University

Henry C. Harpending (NAS) - University of Utah

W. G. Ernst (NAS) - Stanford University

      Meredith A. Lane  (study director) - National Research Council



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