The Earth system is an integrated, interdisciplinary system.
The Earth system science (ESS) academic community engages students in ESS concepts of interconnectedness and employs these concepts in research. This community provides avenues for access to information, curriculum models, sample course content and support for Earth System Science Education (ESSE).
Humanity is a part of the Earth system.
An underutilized capacity of ESSE communities is the ability to engage a range of public, government, and private institutions in Earth systems understanding for problem solving. An Earth systems approach affords important means of enhancing public understanding and developing tools for assessing and shapingour ever increasing interaction with the landscape. Several examples of this intersection are: the role of human development and natural disasters such as tsunamis, hurricanes, or earthquakes; impacts of urban heat islands on atmospheric circulation and weather patterns; and the complexity of global CO2 circulation whose dynamics are affected by human activities.
Study of the Earth system uses multiple scales of time and space.
Developing partnerships with ESS scientists provides access to perspectives that illuminate details of Earth’s systems at multiple scales of time and space. This expertise contributes to multidisciplinary approaches necessary to address complex natural relationships.
Earth system science is a source of information for moving toward a more sustainable system.
Partnerships contribute to long-term capacity building not only in the geosciences, but also among individuals and organizations with experience in the integration of Earth systems and human agency. This understanding is critical for sustainability of the environment and, ultimately, humans themselves.
Earth system science provides relevance and inspirational value.
Those of us operating in the sciences, particularly the Earth sciences, have for too long neglected communicating the results of our research, global science concerns, and the wonder of this discipline with the public– especially in a format accessible to a broad public audience. Specifically, we have not disseminated to the public the importance of the systems approach to understanding Earth science. Creating the links, exchanges, and trust required for productive partnerships has many beneficial outcomes that extend the spectrum of Earth system science understanding for all those involved.