Since its founding in 1853, the Academy’s central focus has been on exploring the Earth’s remarkable diversity of life and sharing those wonders with the public.
More recently, it has become obvious that the daily activities of the 7 billion humans who now live on Earth present unprecedented challenges to the sustainability of life on this planet, our only home in the universe, particularly human life.
These two issues are now the central themes of today’s Academy: How did we get here? How will we find a way to stay?
In order to engage these issues head-on, the Academy is taking steps to more clearly define its role in addressing the challenge of sustainability, in a way that grows naturally and organically out of the existing strengths of the institution—specifically the Academy’s programs of exploration, research, education, and public engagement.
I am pleased to announce that a new chapter in the Academy’s history has begun with the creation of the Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability. This new institute includes all of the Academy’s current research and collections staff and activities, and it will also develop an expanded portfolio of activities that includes leadership of the Academy’s sustainability initiatives, integration of Academy Fellows more closely into the life of this institution, and engagement of Academy scientists in new and creative programs of public outreach.
Stay tuned for further news and updates about this new Institute at the Academy.