• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .

Planetary stewardship in an urbanizing world: beyond city limits

AMBIO (2012)

Seitzinger, S P, Svedin U, Crumley C, Steffen W, Abdullah S A, Alfsen C, Broadgate W, Biermann F, Bondre N R, Dearing J A, Deutsch L, Dhakal S, Elmqvist T, Farahbakhshazad N, Gaffney O, Haberl H, Lavorel S, Mbow C, McMichael A J, de Morais J M, Olsson P, Pinho P F, Seto K C, Sinclair P, Stafford Smith M, Sugar L

DOI: 10.1007/s13280-012-0353-7

Vol 41, Issue 8, pp 787-794


Cities are rapidly increasing in importance as a major factor shaping the Earth system, and therefore, must take corresponding responsibility. With currently over half the world's population, cities are supported by resources originating from primarily rural regions often located around the world far distant from the urban loci of use. The sustainability of a city can no longer be considered in isolation from the sustainability of human and natural resources it uses from proximal or distant regions, or the combined resource use and impacts of cities globally. The world's multiple and complex environmental and social challenges require interconnected solutions and coordinated governance approaches to planetary stewardship. We suggest that a key component of planetary stewardship is a global system of cities that develop sustainable processes and policies in concert with its non-urban areas. The potential for cities to cooperate as a system and with rural connectivity could increase their capacity to effect change and foster stewardship at the planetary scale and also increase their resource security.

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IGBP closed at the end of 2015. This website is no longer updated.

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