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Our Shared Future:
Life on a Sustainable Planet

Advancing Sustainability and Discovery to Help People and Nature Thrive Together

The planet is facing an existential challenge: The climate crisis is intensifying, biodiversity is receding, and whole ecosystems are changing at a rapid pace. Because of this, the quest for scientific knowledge and new technology has never been more urgent.

Yet, the scientists and educators at the Smithsonian cannot help but feel optimistic. Thanks to work done by countless researchers, the Smithsonian understands the challenge before us better than ever before. This tireless work has helped Smithsonian researchers identify potential new ways to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.

Read the announcement of Our Shared Future: Life on a Sustainable Planet initiative

As part of Life on a Sustainable Planet, Smithsonian scientists will work with communities to help restore reefs and create marine sustainability zones. They will work with communities to better manage forests and develop more sustainable agricultural practices. The Smithsonian is blasting new instruments into space to help us study and monitor air quality. Their educators will directly engage youth in conversations around climate change solutions. Finally, the Smithsonian will invite historically marginalized groups to participate in decision-making processes surrounding sustainability to promote equity.

Life on a Sustainable Planet will marshal the work of Smithsonian scientists and educators in disciplines ranging from marine biology to anthropology to work with communities to help create sustainable, equitable solutions that provide resilience to climate change and conserve the Earth’s ecosystems for all living beings.

You can help the Smithsonian create the future of Life on a Sustainable Planet.

Science at the Smithsonian

Did you know that, in addition to hosting a world-class museum complex, the Smithsonian Institution is also one of the nation’s oldest scientific research organizations? Employing over 1,000 scientists and publishing approximately 2,500 research papers a year, Smithsonian scientists have set their sights on some of the world’s most pressing challenges, from protecting biodiversity to reducing the international impact of climate change. From an observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea to research centers on the coasts of the Chesapeake Bay, the Caribbean Sea, and the Pacific Ocean, the Smithsonian’s multidisciplinary group of researchers is seeking to understand how climate change impacts every ecosystem on Earth and how humans both contribute to the problem and can help solve it.

The Smithsonian staff works in more than 140 countries to study solutions for creating a more sustainable planet. The Smithsonian team is focused on a wide array of challenges related to biodiversity, climate change, disease prevention, and wildlife protection, as well as cultural heritage and preservation. Our Shared Future: Life on a Sustainable Planet marks the Smithsonian’s efforts to provide an interface that connects students, scholars, citizens, scientists, and decision-makers in conversation about how to create a more sustainable planet.

Join us in the greatest quest of our time.

Explore more:

Watch this video about Our Shared Future: Life on a Sustainable Planet Read the announcement of Our Shared Future: Life on a Sustainable Planet Read about Sustainability at the Smithsonian Follow the Smithsonian at COP15 Learn about the Adrienne Arsht Community-Based Resilience Solutions initiative
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