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  • News & Views |

    Systems thinking has been promoted as a way to improve human–environmental interactions, but analytical approaches to measure degrees of systems thinking remain elusive. If more complex thinking does improve sustainable decision-making, new methods to validate this prevalent hypothesis must be developed.

    • Steven Gray
  • News & Views |

    At the global scale, indigenous lands are critical for biodiversity conservation and cultural survival. Yet at local, sub-national and national scales both are often threatened.

    • Richard Howitt
  • News & Views |

    Too much fertiliser in agriculture affects rivers and oceans at large scale. But it turns out that a surprising variety of non-food products is also to blame for impacts on water bodies worldwide.

    • Thomas Wiedmann
  • News & Views |

    Experts have long debated how to help poor, predominantly rural nations meet global development goals. One of the most anticipated, and debated, ventures, the Millennium Villages Project, has just published a retrospective self-evaluation mostly supporting the effectiveness of their multi-sectoral approach.

    • Jessica Fanzo
  • News & Views |

    Many cities rely on not just traditional delivery systems for potable water, but also standard economic models for valuing those systems. Both must be questioned to ensure future water security in drought-challenged urban regions.

    • David Feldman
  • News & Views |

    Most published geoengineering scenarios are climate modelling studies, which biases the public perception of what is possible and desirable. Scenarios should be used more broadly to engage scientists, policymakers and society in a debate about which future climate and world we want.

    • Reto Knutti
  • News & Views |

    The structure of criminal phenomena is often obscure for researchers. A study based on thousands of self-reported cases reveals the paths underpinning illegal adoptions in China, and some leads on how to tackle them.

    • Paolo Campana
  • News & Views |

    Large organizations struggle to implement new and promising sustainability practices widely, as documented extensively by social science research. Networks of informal relationships among people can contribute to the diffusion and learning of such innovations.

    • Adam Douglas Henry
  • News & Views |

    Choosing how much to take and how much to preserve from our environment is a challenging task, and every small decision counts. A behavioural experiment sheds new light on how time pressure negatively affects sustainability decisions.

    • Oliver P. Hauser
  • News & Views |

    Societal activities carry environmental costs, which can be mitigated to restore ecosystem function and services. A meta-analysis demonstrates strong negative effects of coal mining on stream biota and limited recovery after restoration.

    • Craig W. Osenberg
  • News & Views |

    Current global models omit the complex, unpredictable behaviours that socio-environmental systems exhibit. Now researchers have proposed a city- and trade-based integrated model that includes these behaviours and explained its use for food and water security research.

    • Evan G. R. Davies
  • News & Views |

    Albatross populations of South Georgia have been declining over the past four decades. Bird mortality in fishing gear and increased environmental variability due to climate change prevent albatrosses from recovering and mean that conservation action is needed.

    • Ramūnas Žydelis
  • News & Views |

    The collapse of the Maya is a topic of perpetual fascination. Now, a study modelling the development of their civilization finds that collapse was driven by land degradation, rather than precipitation change.

    • Joseph Tainter
  • News & Views |

    It is well known that electricity production from the combustion of fossil fuels is a major source of air pollutants and greenhouse gases. Now, research shows that large generation plants are not necessarily the worst emitters.

    • Pallav Purohit
  • News & Views |

    Technological innovations have allowed exponential growth in the human population and economy, but can it continue? A new model combining population, culture, and innovation projects possible futures for humanity.

    • Joseph Robert Burger
  • News & Views |

    Post-disaster reconstruction in situ is potentially good as it allows affected populations to start a new life within their community. But what if people would have preferred to move elsewhere?

    • Etienne Piguet