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Outline for Engagement

Cover of the ERC Report depicting the solar-powered
co-evolution of life and Earth. The figurative Sun's
corona is the genome map of the most abundant
photosynthetic cell on Earth, while the pre-dawn urban
illumination of Europe offers a striking manifestation
of human influence on the planet.

We recognize that most if not all of the many environmental challenges facing us are complex, intimately interrelated, pressing and, as yet, poorly understood. Addressing these challenges will require deep scientific understanding of all the interactions that comprise our global environment, creativity in devising human behavioral and technological solutions, and a clear-eyed sense of the economic and political obstacles to adopting and implementing those solutions. With its innately interdisciplinary problem-solving culture, MIT is uniquely well-positioned to contribute.

Thus GEI will adopt an inclusive approach welcoming the participation of all interested faculty, research staff and students. Through an extensive process of Institute-wide inquiry and engagement, the ERC has already begun organizing six areas of research momentum with which to launch GEI—Climate, Oceans, Water, Ecological Resilience, Contamination Mitigation and Sustainable Societies. These interrelated themes represent the convergence of MIT’s strengths and potential with many of our greatest environmental challenges.