Consultant news editor, SciDev.Net
To the enormous excitement of thousands of researchers, the Planet Under Pressure conference kicks off tomorrow.
Some 2,800 delegates — from earth scientists to psychologists and climate modellers to environmental economists — gather with a sprinkling of private sector players and policymakers to brainstorm how to tackle the various planetary crises.
Ocean acidification, species loss, climate change, dwindling fresh water supplies, land conversion, the population explosion and food security are some of the core issues to be tackled by a challenging programme that will see delegates discussing the Anthropocene, planetary boundaries, geoengineering, water footprints, tourism and the science of wellbeing.
Four major international research programmes have joined together to create the conference — the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change, the World Climate Research Programme and DIVERSITAS, the international programme of biodiversity science.
Their leaders say this gathering is unprecedented — and it is because scientists are realising that they cannot remain in their grooves, simply documenting environmental change. Instead they have to focus on solutions.
Meanwhile, the crises are revealing themselves to be so interconnected that research must become correspondingly multidisciplinary. Hence an exotic delegate list.
For more on the conference background see the first of our many news stories, to be posted on our dedicated page tomorrow.
If you cannot attend, note that the plenary sessions will be broadcast live. Note, too, that your distant questions are as likely to be answered as those in the physical audience – roving microphones have been banned and questions will only be taken by social media.
This blog post is part of our Planet Under Pressure 2012 coverage — which takes place 26–29 March 2012. To read news and analysis from the conference please visit our website.