Global warming is a fact.
Climate change is just one major consequence of rising mean temperatures.
Other consequences include droughts and extreme weather events, leading to hunger and thirst; loss of human lives, biodiversity, and economic assets; migration of people and the loss of social cohesion. It seems as if Gaia—a very complex system controlled by a concert of physical, chemical and biotic processes—is shifting away from conditions favorable for humankind to survive.
In what kind of world do we, and do we not, want to live in the future?
And what do we have to do to this end?
- Worldwide, measures are being considered to secure our planet's long-term habitability. In principle, we have two possibilities: Refrain from any further intervention into the earth system and trust in Gaia's self-healing capacity.
- Alternatively, or additionally, efforts need to be taken to support the healing process towards a direction that hopefully leads to ecological restoration and consolidation of favorable conditions for humankind.
In either case, we have to understand that we deal with an extremely complex system, consisting of a variety of components, properties, and processes. Taking the time constant into perspective, measures put in action today may show its effects, positive or negative, only after years, decades, or even centuries. It may be difficult, even impossible, to correct future detrimental effects caused by wrong decisions made today.
Under these conditions, decision makers of today carry a tremendous and unprecedented responsibility for humankind on Earth. Science is obliged to make available and understandable the knowledge that is necessary to make the correct decisions. Thus, scientists as well carry responsibility for the future of humanity.
To tackle the current Earth system crises, we aim to
generate and provide scientific knowledge and cross-cutting expertise on
- Climate and Energy
- Water and Food
- Social and Economic Inequity
IESP distinguishes itself by its large-scale long-term view on the Earth Crises, as well as by its ambition to build bridges between science, society, and political decision makers. We shall accomplish this goal by organizing seminars and workshops on various issues of general interest. Academic scholars, politicians, business people, students, and interested lay people are invited to participate in such events.
Ensure a safe future of nature and humanity and
help preserve the current functions of the Earth system by
- establishing a network of scientists who actively contribute to a sustainable future;
- initiating research projects that shed light on potential pathways that help preserve today's Earth system;
- generating platforms to discuss and help implement the most promising solutions;
- synthesizing scientific solutions to global problems, and communicating them to the public and to the government.
are summarized in the "Zugspitze Declaration" of 2008, which originates from the workshop
"Earth System Engineering – The Art of Dealing Wisely with the Planet Earth,"
held in Wildbad-Kreuth, Germany.