• A personal note on IGBP and the social sciences

    Humans are an integral component of the Earth system as conceptualised by IGBP. João Morais recalls key milestones in IGBP’s engagement with the social sciences and offers some words of advice for Future Earth.
  • IGBP and Earth observation:
    a co-evolution

    The iconic images of Earth beamed back by the earliest spacecraft helped to galvanise interest in our planet’s environment. The subsequent evolution and development of satellites for Earth observation has been intricately linked with that of IGBP and other global-change research programmes, write Jack Kaye and Cat Downy .

2010 Human Sustainable Development Index

Our World 2.0 (2010)
Togtokh C and Gaffney O

The pursuit of happiness, human development and the environment are intertwined in two profound ways. First, we developed from hunters and gatherers into urbanites during a period of remarkable and reliable climate stability. This can no longer be taken for granted. Second, research shows that our well-being, happiness and quality of life are improved by environmental health and the services ecosystems provide for humans — like relaxation, clean air and fertile soil.

The UN’s iconic Human Development Index (HDI) is 20 years old today. Of all the world’s indices, the HDI is surely the most ingenious. It ranks countries by the quality of life they give to their people. Its brilliance lies in its simplicity.

According to the index, three parameters govern human development and quality of life: wealth, health and education. The wealth of a nation is measured this year by Gross National Income (it used to be measured by Gross National Product), health is quantified by citizens’ longevity (life expectancy at birth) and years of schooling indicate education.

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IGBP closed at the end of 2015. This website is no longer updated.

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  • Global Change Magazine No. 84

    This final issue of the magazine takes stock of IGBP’s scientific and institutional accomplishments as well as its contributions to policy and capacity building. It features interviews of several past...

  • Global Change Magazine No. 83

    This issue features a special section on carbon. You can read about peak greenhouse-gas emissions in China, the mitigation of black carbon emissions and the effect of the 2010-2011 La Niña event on gl...