Rapid urbanization, population growth and increasing per capita consumption is putting immense pressure on our planet's biological capacity in specific ways and influencing Earth's biogeochemical and climate systems in ways we don't fully understand. As our economies, actions, and understanding become global in scale we inevitably wonder if the Earth can keep up. With all the different appraisals of humankind's future ranging so widely from planetary overshoot in ecological footprint assessments to socio-ecological collapse predicted by the Club of Rome models, how do we sort through it all to get a more useful, scientifically robust, and balanced appraisal of what the future will bring? In his talk, Marc Imhoff, will introduce new approaches for addressing these issues using satellite data and new Integrated Modeling Approaches that couple socio-economics, climate and energy. These new tools are opening the way for more balanced, useful, and potentially optimistic appraisals of our future by enabling us to use our best technologies and skill sets to identify pathways for moving forward in the face of change.
Marc Imhoff, Deputy Director, Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory/University of Maryland.