New York Academy of Sciences eBriefings

As a proud cosponsor of State of the Planet 06, the New York Academy of Sciences has published an eBriefing on this conference. This open access, web-based report includes a comprehensive meeting summary, links to video and transcripts, a wide-ranging set of open questions, a rich library of related resources, and additional background information.

Continue to the State of the Planet 2006 eBriefing >

State of the Planet 2006 eBriefing Overview

The question posed by The Earth Institute's fourth biennial State of the Planet conference, "Is sustainable development feasible?," evidently resonated forcefully among the burgeoning communities concerned with sustainable development issues: it drew more than 1300 people to Columbia University in March 2006 for a two-day, international, marathon event that featured twenty-four speakers, four of them keynoters, and five panel discussions. The speakers, experts at the top of their fields, came not only to contribute to but to learn from the proceedings. No one person could command the breadth of knowledge that was pooled.

Although the conference, which was cosponsored by the New York Academy of Sciences, was held at a university, this was no academic gathering. Together, the speakers' stature, the searching agenda, and the sustained seriousness of purpose located the proceedings squarely in the public forum, the realm in which actions, and inactions, have grave real-world consequences in this case, for present and future generations and other forms of life around the globe. If planet Earth had a Board of Directors, this might have been its biennial meeting.

The bad news announced by Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of The Earth Institute, at the outset of the conference came as no surprise: the world is "on an unsustainable trajectory," he said. more >

New York Academy of Sciences