I just got the following email. It's another example of how governments are starting to take sustainability more seriously. It's of interest to me because the NSF seems willing to give money to mathematicians to study these problems!

Dear Colleagues:

Growth of the global population, improved standards of living, and long-term changes in climate are placing ever-increasing stresses on the interconnected resources that support society. There is an urgent need to better understand, model, design, and manage the system of natural, social, and human-built components on which human society depends for a sustainable future.

Mathematicians and statisticians have much to contribute to the development of solutions to the pressing resource problems facing society. The Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) participates in the array of National Science Foundation programs supporting fundamental research that aims to advance knowledge and to create tools for strengthening sustainable infrastructure. A natural way for mathematicians and statisticians to become involved in such work is by lending mathematical sciences expertise to interdisciplinary teams of researchers engaging in collaborative research projects in these important areas.

The Division encourages mathematical scientists to investigate the funding opportunities noted below and to participate when appropriate in the multidisciplinary research teams investigating the complex, dynamic, coupled systems that are critical to maintaining and increasing humanity's well-being in a sustainable way. The following synopses highlight some NSF funding opportunities of interest in this direction. Links to the various opportunities can be found on the web page for the Mathematical Sciences Innovation Incubator (MSII) [www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505044].

(to be continued...)