Anthropocene and sustainability

One tree on a cleared hill with mountains in the distance

© Amphon Jindawatthana/Shutterstock.com

We live in the Anthropocene, a period where human demands and impacts are resulting in unprecedented and extreme change in Earth’s natural systems and biodiversity. We are facing a planetary emergency.

Our expertise in taxonomy, systematics and mineralogy is driving research aimed at securing the future of our food, health and natural materials.

Our projects

Understanding biodiversity change and finding solutions to help biodiversity recover

PREDICTS

Analysing a global database of ecological communities to understand how human activities, such as land use, affect local biodiversity worldwide.

Plants Under Pressure

Measuring how many plant species are threatened with extinction, where these plants grow and why they are threatened.

Designing sustainable food systems

Future food

Mapping the distribution of wild species of food plants and the insects associated with them to help plant breeders prepare crops for the future.

EXCALIBUR: soil biodiversity in horticulture

Understanding soil biodiversity and dynamics.

Understanding disease biology and improving health outcomes for nature and people

Neglected Tropical diseases (NTDs)

Relieving the suffering of some of the 1.4 billion people infected with NTDs.

Schistosomiasis research group

Understanding and controlling this neglected tropical disease.

Resourcing the green economy

Critical elements research

Working to ensure the sustainable supply of raw materials for future generations in a major new European Commission-funded project.

Mining a sustainable future

Creating a cleaner, greener future at the Royal Society Summer Science exhibition 2021.

Other sustainability projects

Plastic in the Thames

Finding a large volume of unseen submerged plastic flowing into the marine environment. 

FAME and fortune

Working to ensure the sustainable supply of raw materials for future generations in a major new European Commission-funded project.

Li4UK: Securing a domestic lithium supply chain for the UK

Demonstrating the feasibility of producing battery-quality lithium compounds from lithium found in UK rocks and geothermal waters.

UK biodiversity

Creating molecular and digital tools to explore undiscovered biodiversity.

Discovery, origins and evolution

Studying our natural history specimens reveals the past, present and future of life, the solar system and Earth.