NSF Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education
This report, by an NSF advisory committee, details many of the environmental challenges facing our planet and our society, and issues a call to action for NSF, for researchers, and for educators, to provide a better understanding of complex environmental systems, a higher level of environmental literacy in the public, and a stronger foundation for informing policy decisions for addressing global environmental issues:
''The need for equitable, ethical, and sustainable use of Earth's resources by a global population that nears the carrying capacity of the planet requires us not only to understand how human behaviors affect the environment but also how human behavior changes in response to changes in the environment or perceptions of environmental status. The committee recommends that the approach to environmental literacy bridge the gap between the academics who do the research, the tool developers who design curricula and applications, and the communicators and educators who translate the science into terms that can be broadly understood by policy makers and the public....
''We must help policy-makers develop a better understanding of complex environmental systems, an understanding that helps them appreciate the concepts of tipping points, the thresholds of large magnitude or abrupt change, and the socio-economic effects of severely altered environmental systems.''