Home Button smallest.GIF (3864 bytes)


Resource: Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems


Comprehensive encyclopedia of sustainable development information developed under a UNESCO initiative. This appears to be an excellent resource for researching the vast array of sustainable development topics and issues. However use of this service requires a significant subscription price. Disadvantaged individuals worldwide registered through charitable organizations will be given free access for one year. Universities from developing countries will also receive an appropriate discount. 

The following information was submitted by EOLSS...



An integrated knowledge base dedicated to the health, maintenance, and future of the web of life on planet Earth, focusing on sustainable development in all its myriad aspects from ecological issues to human security!

The World’s largest source of knowledge on the subject of sustainable development was officially released by the UNESCO Director General on the 3rd September 2002 during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. With contributions from more than 6000 scholars, this Internet-based archive will be regularly updated and made available free of charge to universities in the least developed countries and disadvantaged individuals worldwide. The EOLSS is a knowledge base that addresses all the myriad aspects of sustainable development from ecological issues to human security.

The EOLSS is the result of an unprecedented global effort and a decade of planning. Never before has a publication of this kind gone beyond ecological sciences to cover all aspects of sustainable development. EOLSS is unique in that it comprehensively examines from their origins, the threats facing all the systems that support life on Earth—from the climate, the world’s oceans, forests, water cycle, and atmosphere to social systems. It is becoming increasingly apparent that our complex industrial systems, both organizational and technological, are the main driving force of global environmental destruction, and thus the main threat to the long-term survival of humanity. To build a sustainable society for our children and future generations—the great challenge of our time—we need to fundamentally redesign many of our technologies and social institutions so as to bridge the wide gap between human design and the ecologically sustainable systems of nature. This means that organizations need to undergo fundamental changes, both in order to adapt to the new business environment and to become ecologically sustainable.

The contributions offer step-by-step explanations on how to apply the abstract or the pure sciences such as mathematics, to assess environmental pollution or to predict food consumption patterns. However, technical solutions alone won’t resolve the current ecological crisis. EOLSS therefore covers a diverse range of social issues—from human rights and poverty to psychology and anthropology.

The leading experts who have contributed to this state-of-the-art publication come from diverse fields such as: the natural sciences (like chemistry and biology); social sciences (such as history, economics, law, psychology, etc.); humanities; engineering, and technology. EOLSS also deals with interdisciplinary subjects, like earth and atmospheric sciences, environmental economics as well as the most effective approaches for managing natural resources like renewable and non-renewable energy, biodiversity, and agriculture.

This approach is critical for managing life on Earth. The global water crisis, for example, cannot be resolved by a single discipline. The most experienced civil engineer responsible for constructing dams and mapping the flows of rivers may have little knowledge on tapping groundwater sources, which offer tremendous potential provided that proper safeguards are taken. EOLSS provides not only the technical information required but also critical analysis on the economics and politics involved in managing such a resource.

"The Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems is different from traditional encyclopedias. It is the result of an unprecedented world-wide effort that has attempted to forge pathways between disciplines in order to address contemporary problems" said UNESCO Director General Koïchiro Matsuura. "A source-book of knowledge that links together our concern for peace, progress, and sustainable development, the EOLSS draws sustenance from the ethics, science and culture of peace. At the same time, it is a forward-looking publication, designed as a global guide to professional practice, education, and heightened social awareness of critical life support issues. In particular, the EOLSS presents perspectives from regions and cultures around the world, and seeks to avoid geographic, racial, cultural, political, gender, age, or religious bias."

"EOLSS has the goal to provide a firm knowledge base for future activities to prolong the lifetime of the human race in a hospitable environment", according to Richard R. Ernst, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.

Leon M. Lederman, Nobel Laureate in Physics remarked: "The EOLSS is not only appropriate, but it is imaginative and, to my knowledge, unique. Much of what we can write about science, about energy, about our far-ranging knowledge base, can indeed be found in major encyclopedias, but as I understand your vision, never as a central theme; the theme of humanity, embedded in nature and constrained to find ways of maintaining a relationship with nature based upon understanding and respect."

In the words of M.S. Swaminathan, First World Food Prize Winner, "Ecotechnology involving appropriate blends of traditional technologies and the ecological prudence of the past with frontier technologies such as biotechnology, information technology, space technology, new materials, renewable energy technology and management technology, can help us to promote global sustainable development involving harmony between humankind and nature on the one hand and tolerance and love of diversity and pluralism in human societies on the other. We need shifts in technology and public policy. This is a challenging task to which the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems should address itself."

According to Jean-Marie Lehn, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry : "Pursuit of knowledge and truth supersedes present considerations of what nature, life or the world are or should be, for our own vision can only be a narrow one. Ethical evaluation and rules of justice have changed and will change over time and will have to adapt. Law is made for man, not man for law. If it does not fit any more, change it…. Some think that it is being arrogant to try to modify nature; arrogance is to claim that we are perfect as we are! With all the caution that must be exercised and despite the risks that will be encountered, carefully pondering each step, mankind must and will continue along its path, for we have no right to switch off the lights of the future…. We have to walk the path from the tree of knowledge to the control of destiny."

J.L. Lions, Japan Prize winner in Applied Mathematics said: "EOLSS is concerned with the Life Support Systems…. Each of these systems is a very complex one. …we have to think of all these "systems" as closely related "subsystems" of the Planet Earth System. The situation is extremely different in most of life support systems modeling…. There is not one model, but a hierarchy of models. Examples of these situations will be given throughout the Encyclopedia. … More delicate are the global problems, involving several goals, with possible conflicts of interest. …Rational decisions will be more and more possible to envision if one will be able to couple the physical modeling to economic and financial models and to human factors…. These delicate and fundamental questions will deserve a lot of attention in the Encyclopedia."

S.P. Kapitza, UNESCO Kalinga Prize Winner said: "The population of our planet and its development over the ages sets the scene for considering all global problems and it is reasonable to begin their discussion with population growth. … Thus we are dealing with an interdisciplinary problem in an attempt to describe the total human experience, right from its very beginning. But without this perspective of time it is not possible to objectively assess what is happening today and provide an objective view of the present state of development, the challenge now facing humanity."

Knowledge is dynamic. It grows and evolves according to the needs of human society. In the past, different civilizations categorized knowledge to suit the cultural paradigm of their times.

A key focus of the present time, and an area demanding much further investigation, is the relationship between humans and nature. Sciences must be our guide in this endeavor, but history too can teach us important lessons of co-existence with our environment. To date, education and the media have only succeeded in fostering a culture characterized by narrow vested interests, intolerance and violence. While we meddle with the natural environment at our peril, and have failed to improve on the best that nature provides, human culture is the fountain of our progress and creativity. There must be a fundamental change in education, creating the desire for environmental protection and respect for human dignity and rights, as the two are mutually empowering. We must build on the best of our culture to engender a new attitude towards the quality and sustainability of life on earth.

In view of the above the EOLSS body of knowledge is inspired by a vision that includes the following paradigm: the sciences should be at the service of humanity as a whole, and should contribute to providing everyone with a deeper understanding of nature and society, a better quality of life and a sustainable and healthy environment for present and future generations.

The Encyclopedia is designed to be a guide and reference for a wide range of users: from natural and social scientists to engineers, economists, educators, university students and professors, conservationists, entrepreneurs, law and policy-makers. The aim is not merely to provide raw information but to serve as a kind of expert advisor. The various chapters are divided into different levels of specialization to cater to a diverse readership. General readers might turn to the EOLSS for summaries on energy, for example, while university students may focus more on the explanations of the theoretical principles of energy, and policy makers turn to the future perspectives and related recommendations.

"Our best hopes for future peace and global security rely upon strengthened international cooperation to protect the web of life support systems that we destroy, so ridiculously, day in and day out. We share only one planet. We—and future generations—have nowhere else to go," according to Mostafa K. Tolba, formerly Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme and the editor of ‘Our Fragile World: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Development’ a two volume publication in about 2300 pages published in 2001 as forerunner to the Encyclopedia. "It is hoped that the encyclopedia will provide the necessary impetus and knowledge support to enable humanity to choose the right direction to move towards sustainable development."

The EOLSS project is coordinated by the UNESCO-EOLSS Joint Committee and sponsored by Eolss Publishers, which is based in Oxford (United Kingdom).Through the many and diverse consultation exercises around the world, the EOLSS has benefited immensely from the academic, intellectual, and scholarly advice of each and every member of the 1000-strong International Editorial Council, which includes Nobel and UN Kalinga Laureates, World Food Prize Laureates and several fellows of academies of science and engineering of countries throughout the world.

Teams of experts will regularly update the various sections of the web-based encyclopedia, making EOLSS a "living library and a site for action rather than just a publication," according to Mustafa El Tayeb, Secretary of the UNESCO-EOLSS Joint Committee. The Inaugural Edition that was released during the World Summit already contains about 25 million words, equivalent to about 50,000 standard pages, and several thousand tables, graphics, boxes, and photographs. Within the next two years, it will mature to its full size of about 70 million words (equivalent to about 150 volumes) through new editions and regular updates as often as every three months.

"Most United Nations projects of this size begin by consulting government representatives. But EOLSS went straight to the scientific communities involved," said Andreas Szollosi-Nagy, a member of the UNESCO-EOLSS Joint Committee and Director of UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme. In 1996 thousands of scientists, engineers and policy-makers began meeting just to define the scope of the project, before discussing the details of the contributions. Regional workshops were held in Washington DC, Tokyo, Moscow, Mexico City, Beijing, Panama, Abu sultan (Egypt), and Kuala Lumpur to develop a list of possible subjects and debate analytical approaches for treating them.

"From the start, we had to be absolutely certain that one school of thought did not dominate the conceptual basis of the encyclopedia," said Szollosi-Nagy. "This democratic process guided every step in the encyclopedia’s development. With thousands of authors from more than 100 countries the editors have set up a self-regulating mechanism to ensure that the subjects are considered from a variety of cultures and perspectives."

Access to the EOLSS is by subscription, via the website http://www.eolss.net. Subscription rates will vary, depending upon the nature of the applicant. Universities from the UN list of Least Developed Countries will have free access for one year, renewable subject to the submission of annual reports on educational and research activity. Those universities are invited to sign an agreement on the website and submit to the UNESCO for endorsement. Likewise, disadvantaged individuals worldwide registered through charitable organizations will be given free access for one year. Universities from developing countries will also receive an appropriate discount.

Universities and public libraries will be charged US$3000 for two years while individuals will be asked to pay US$300 for the same period. Governments and corporations will pay slightly higher rates which will, nevertheless, be significantly lower than those of commercial publications.

EOLSS covers roughly 200 themes, each managed by an internationally recognized expert in the field. Each theme comprises an overview chapter of about 30 pages that is addressed to the general reader. This is followed by five to eight ‘topic level chapters’, of about 20 pages, intended for university students specializing in the field. Every topic includes another five to eight articles on the latest advances and findings in the subject, as well as indications of future trends.\

The themes are organized under the following major subject categories:

1. Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

2. Mathematical Sciences

3. Biological and Medical Sciences

4. Social Sciences and Humanities

5. Physical Sciences, Engineering and Technology Resources

6. Chemical Sciences

7. Water Science and Resources

8. Water Engineering Resources

9. Energy Science and Resources

10. Energy Engineering Resources

11. Environmental and Ecological Sciences and Resources

12. Environmental Engineering Resources

13. Agricultural Sciences and Resources

14. Food and Agricultural Engineering Resource

15. Human Resources Policy and Management

16. Natural Resources Policy and Management

17. Development and Economic Resources

18. Institutional and Infrastructural Resources

19. Technology, Information, and Systems Management Resources

20. Regional Reviews

Knowledge for Sustainable Development: An Insight into the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, reviews the themes of EOLSS for the general reader, and is a three-volume printed publication of about 3300 pages. This major publication by more than 150 world experts in their fields was also released by the UNESCO Director General on the 3rd September 2002 during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.

For further information: http://www.eolss.net



Back_Track_3.gif (5268 bytes)




You can help us raise money by clicking this link before you buy Amazon.com products.  Children of the Earth United will receive about 6% of the sale price.  There is no cost to you and the price you pay is exactly the same. Click here to find our more.

.  .  .  .

Creative Kids        Amazing Animals           Powerful Plants           Native Wisdom 
Eco-Careers             Earth Issues             Awesome Activities            Great Books         
Nature Programs          We Give Thanks         You're Invited          About Us
Sign Up For Our Email Newsletters     

.  .  .  .

Comments, Feedback, Questions ? - Contact Us   

Children of the Earth United is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization - run by volunteers and entirely supported by donations.  If you would like to support our efforts, please help us out by sending a tax deductible donation to Children of the Earth United ~ P.O. Box 258035 ~ Madison, WI  53725.  
.  .  .  .    


Children of the Earth United
~ Environmental Education for Kids of all Ages ~

Learn about Animals, Plants, Ecology, Nature, Environmental Issues, Native Wisdom, Nature Centers, Activities, and much more at www.childrenoftheearth.org !


Copyright 1999 - 2015 Children of the Earth United. All Rights Reserved.