A Dialogue on Managing the Planet

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The environmental challenges of climate change, ecosystem change, energy demands, and demographic trends continue to mount. The first decade of the 21st century was the warmest in 130 years of recorded global temperatures and 2010 may be close to the warmest year yet recorded. Extreme events related to the environment – such as the major wildfires in Russia, the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, devastating floods in Pakistan and Australia, and record drought in the Amazon basin – are becoming more frequent. Many now call for collective action at the global level to address these trends and move the planet and humanity toward a more sustainable future. This response requires the best of the sciences (including social sciences) and an integrated effort with the world of policymakers and practitioners.

On Earth Day 2010 the Deans of George Mason University’s College of Science and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences convened a diverse group of faculty who identified the need for a public forum of science-anchored discussions on planetary management. The result is a set of “Managing the Planet” dialogues – developed jointly by George Mason and the Woodrow Wilson Center – that will actively foster this kind of discussion with academics, practitioners, policymakers, and other interested sectors.

Co-sponsored by George Mason University and the Woodrow Wilson Center's
Environmental Change and Security Program and Brazil Institute