Sept. 8, 2017

Sand, spanning miles of beaches, carpeting vast oceans and deserts, is a visual metaphor for limitless resources. Yet researchers in this week’s journal Science seize another metaphor –  sand in an hourglass, marking time running out.
Sand is the literal foundation of urban development across the globe, a key ingredient of concrete, asphalt, glass, and electronics. It is cheap and easily extracted. Scientists in the United States and Germany say that easy access has bred a careless understanding of the true global costs of sand mining and consumption.

Sand mining across the world is being linked to coastal erosion, habitat destruction and the spread of invasive species. Standing pools of water created by sand mining become breeding sites for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. The negative consequences of mining are not felt at the point of consumption, but rather in poorer regions where sand is mined. Tempting profits from large-scale sand trade spawns organized crime and international conflict. There are indications that attempts at regulation have inspired more illegal and unscrupulous profiteering.

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July 13, 2017

While science usually gets recognized for churning up big answers, Michigan State University (MSU) researchers are mining the big questions.

Sustainability scholars across the globe have made the leap to embrace integrative and interdisciplinary research, yet where to best place that energy hadn’t been well defined. In the journal Ecology and Society, a focus for understanding and managing coupled human and natural systems is gaining clarity thanks to surveys that asked scholars what were the most important questions 

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March 9, 2017

A unified paradigm to meet growing global challenges has been recently recognized by the Ecological Society of America (ESA) as “the greatest contribution” to sustainability science that integrates ecological and social sciences.

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Feb. 18, 2017

Scientists studying a number of aspects of earth system governance are invited to submit abstracts fort he 2017 Lund Conference on Earth System Governance, which will be held Oct. 9-11, 2017 in Lund, Sweden. Abstracts are due March 15, 2017.

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Sept. 20, 2016

Boston and Baltimore. Miami and Minneapolis. Phoenix and Los Angeles. Fanned across the U.S. and in locations from coast to prairie to desert, what do these cities have in common? Perhaps how their human residents tend that icon of America, the urban lawn.

What's right outside our doors -- our lawns -- may be one of the best indicators of where cities and towns need to address sustainability, according to Peter Groffman of the City University of New York.

Groffman is one of 13 recipients of grants made in 2016 by the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) program, which supports research that examines the complex interactions between human and natural systems. Total funding for 2016 CNH grants is $16.7 million.

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Sept. 2, 2016

A special issue entitled “Telecoupling: A New Frontier for Global Sustainability” is being planned for the interdisciplinary journal Ecology and Society. The special issue seeks to bring together the latest advances and applications in the field of telecoupling to tackling real-world sustainability issues across diverse systems and at local to global scales.

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June 27, 2016

Seeking to strike the balance between human and natural systems means finding ways to incorporate conservation criteria based on minimal human impact into economic evaluation. CHANS-Net member Kostas Bithas, professor of environmental and natural resources economics at Panteion University in Athens, Greece,  and colleagues publish on that idea in Conservation Biology.

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Sept. 11, 2015

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced 16 recipients of grants made in 2015 by Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) program. Total funding for the 2015 CNH grants is $20.4 million. The program has been issuing awards since 2001.

CNH is co-funded by NSF's Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO); Geosciences (GEO); and Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences (SBE).

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