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Our Shared Future:

Life on a Sustainable Planet

Life on a Sustainable Planet envisions a future in which humanity lives in balance with the natural world.

The Challenge

Our planet is at a crossroads. The challenges we face are monumental, but they also present an incredible opportunity for positive change.

Through Life on a Sustainable Planet, we inspire lifelong learning and leverage the Smithsonian’s vast collections, museums, education, and research to foster a deep appreciation for science, technology, innovation, and culture. We are investing in a future where humans and nature coexist in harmony.

Achieving Sustainability is Within Reach

Through science, technology, and community engagement, we can build resilient communities, advocate for social justice, tackle climate change, and preserve our planet’s biodiversity.

Discover and Learn

Come along as we traverse oceans to lands, from the atmosphere to the cosmos, exploring the world’s interconnected systems. Gain valuable insights into environmental justice, community resilience, and the imperative of shared health for humans and the planet.

We integrate cutting-edge research with traditional ecological knowledge, community insights, and the innovative ideas of future leaders. This multidisciplinary approach helps us find enduring solutions to the planet’s most pressing challenges.

Life on a Sustainable Planet envisions a future where humanity lives in balance with the natural world. Through collaboration with global partners, we advance our collective understanding of how nature and human communities interact to pursue nature-based solutions for a more resilient Earth for all.

Our Focus Areas

In the Oceans: A Blueprint for Healthy Coasts

We’re elevating ocean research to protect coastal ecosystems and foster vibrant blue economies. By merging historic collections with cutting-edge data, we empower the next generation to sustain our oceans’ health and diversity.

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On the Land: Working for People and Planet

We’re diving deep into field research to understand the connections between people and landscapes. Our work aims to protect the ecosystems and benefits of forests, grasslands, and rivers, forging links between scientists, policymakers, and communities.

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In the Air: New Science for Cleaner Air

In partnership with NASA, our TEMPO mission provides real-time air pollution data across North America. The first ever space-based instrument designed to monitor air pollutants hourly across the North American continent during daytime. Our insights will guide policymakers in creating cleaner, healthier air for everyone.

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Impacting Global Education: Educating and Inspiring Youth

Beyond iconic field trips and a robust education team across the museums, the Smithsonian Science Education Center actively transforms K-12 education, reaching nearly 6 million students worldwide with resources on pressing issues like climate change.

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Community-Based Resilience: Nature's Strength

The Adrienne Arsht Community-Based Resilience Solutions Initiative explores the interaction between tropical ecosystems and human communities. Working closely with partners, we aim to unlock nature’s resilience as a source of community strength.

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Environmental Justice: A Fair Planet for All

Our Center for Environmental Justice tackles systemic issues to create equitable environments. We partner with communities around the globe to address their unique challenges, from pollution to resource management.

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Shared Health: One Planet, One Health

Our health and the health of our planet are interconnected. We coordinate with scientists globally to explore how resilient natural systems can protect us from emerging health threats.

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Across the Universe: The Sky Belongs to Everyone

Looking to the stars reminds us of Earth’s uniqueness and vulnerability. We explore the origins of life and the potential for habitable planets beyond our solar system, inspiring collective stewardship of Earth.

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Smithsonian Science

Smithsonian Science is on a journey to understand the science of nature and the nature of society—and to convey this knowledge to the world.