A Sustainable Planet

All human advances have been connected to advances in producing and using energy from Earth’s natural resources. Those resources are finite, and we are now at a crossroads. The paths we take will be key to our future.

Our Finite Planet

Earth has endured and survived extreme climate change more than once, with varying impacts on natural life. This time is different. We know the history. We know what’s happening and the impact of our own actions. We understand the limits to crucial resources and what will happen if we do nothing. Most importantly, we have the ability to correct our course in pursuit of a viable future. Are we up to the challenge?

The Planet We Inherited | The Human Footprint | The Rocky Road to a Sustainable Future

Electrical Grid

Sustainable Energy

Understanding the full economic picture is the first step to making the right choices. What is the true cost and impact of our options? Is there a viable strategy for converting to 100% renewables, increasing efficiency, and reaching zero emissions? How would this impact the world economy?

The Economics of Renewable Energy in the U.S. | As Goes India, So Goes the World | Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

(Photo credit: South Asian woman carrying water on her head, 2016 – photo by Gaurav Bhosle)

Not a Drop to Drink: Our Looming Global Water Crisis

Not a few years from now, but today, we are facing an unprecedented catastrophe in the planet’s water supply. For drinking, for agriculture, and for preservation of wildlife and the global environment, we are confronted with critical water shortages on an unprecedented scale. Our response to this crisis will literally determine the future, not just of populations in the most severely threatened areas, but of our species and of the earth as we know it. Solutions are at hand if we can only come together to cooperate in implementing them.

The Glass Is Really Half Empty | Growing Food in the Desert | Water, Hard and Soft

Featured Book

Rescuing the Planet

Protecting Half the Planet to Heal the Earth
Tony Hiss

Could it be possible to set aside half the earth’s land and sea for nature by the year 2050? Former New Yorker staff writer Tony Hiss investigated the feasibility of this ambitious idea proposed by biologist Edward O. Wilson and emerged inspired and surprisingly optimistic. These efforts are already underway and must focus immediately on a few dozen threatened “hotspots,” home to an enormous percentage of Earth’s plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else on the planet.

Part 1: Protecting Earth’s Species | Part 2: The Science of Half-Earth | Part 3: Where Life Is Hot

Our Plastic Earth

Soon, if not already, the weight of all the plastic in the world’s oceans will weigh more than all of the oceans’ fish, but plastic pollution is everywhere, not just in the oceans.

The Plastic in Our Life | Plastic Recycling – One Chance in Twenty | The Future of Plastic

Featured Books

The Future

Six Drivers of Global Change

Al Gore

No period in global history resembles what humanity is about to experience. Explore the key global forces converging to create the complexity of change, our crisis of confidence in facing the options, and how we can take charge of our destiny.

Our Choice

A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis

Al Gore

We clearly have the tools to solve the climate crisis. The only thing missing is collective will. We must understand the science of climate change and the ways we can better generate and use energy.

The Big Ratchet

How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis

Ruth DeFries

Human history can be viewed as a repeating spiral of ingenuity—ratchet (technological breakthrough), hatchet (resulting natural disaster), and pivot (inventing new solutions). Whether we can pivot effectively from the last Big Ratchet remains to be seen.

The Sixth Extinction

An Unnatural History

Elizabeth Kolbert

With all of Earth’s five mass extinctions, the climate changed faster than any species could adapt. The current extinction has the same random and rapid properties, but it’s unique in that it’s caused entirely by the actions of a single species—humans.

Natural Capitalism

Creating the Next Industrial Revolution

Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins & L. Hunter Lovins

A new definition of capitalism that fully values natural and human resources may hold the keys to a sustainable future.

Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels

Ian Morris

Human social development, says Morris, is constantly generated by environmental and social factors. The amount of energy that can be extracted from the environment through technology defines the social possibilities, and thus influences the attitudes and world view of each epoch.

Travel the Journey

rainbow trout in stream

The Biomimicry Institute

Tools to develop sustainable solutions for a balanced ecosystem with nature-inspired strategies.

Watch: Seaweed Farming and its Surprising Benefits

Lesley Stahl, CBS 60 Minutes

Increasing numbers of fishermen, scientists, and foodies in this country are starting to look at seaweed very differently — as a promising source of food, jobs and help cleaning ocean waters. With rising global populations and limited space to expand agriculture on land, they are turning to the sea — and its “weeds” — as a new frontier.

pile of dirt set against the mountains and sky

Can Dirt Save the Earth?

Moises Velasquez-Manoff, New York Times

Farmers and ranchers in California, Kansas, and North Dakota are using regenerative agricultural practices to pull carbon from the atmosphere and into the soil and, in the process, reducing operational costs and boosting crop yields.

rocky landscape with trail and person sitting

How Oman’s Rocks Could Help Save the Planet

Henry Fountain, New York Times

Can the natural process of carbon capture by certain rock formations be leveraged to remove some of the billions of tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide that humans have pumped into the air since the beginning of the Industrial Age?

World Energy Outlook 2020

Resources for the Future

The world may be on the cusp of its first true energy transition, but more ambitious public policies and technological innovations are needed. Includes commentary on the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

trees from the air

Sustainable Recovery

World Energy Outlook Special Report

The economic crisis of covid-19 gives governments a unique opportunity to boost economic growth, create millions of new jobs and put global greenhouse gas emissions into structural decline.


Our Planet’s Fight for Life
Edward O. Wilson

“An audacious and concrete proposal…Half-Earth completes the 86-year-old Wilson’s valedictory trilogy on the human animal and our place on the planet.” —Jedediah Purdy, New Republic

Further Reading