6 Scientific Organizations Helping Us Understand Our Changing World

From the physics of outer space to the impacts of climate change, there are many areas of study that scientists are eager to understand. The six organizations listed here do important research that can help us find answers to fundamental questions about the world around us. If you're interested in furthering scientific study, consider giving them your support. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Groups Working To Advance Scientific Understanding

Name Headquarters Location Mission
Deep Carbon Observatory Washington, DC Understand the quantities, movements, forms, and origins of carbon in Earth
Adventure Scientists Bozeman, MT Equip partners with data collected from the outdoors that are crucial to addressing environmental and human health challenges
Project PoSSUM Boulder, CO Use citizen-science astronautics to study the global climate and inspire students
Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions New York, NY Halt the global march toward catastrophic climate change via a strategy that leads as rapidly as possible to a near-universal carbon fee on fossil fuels
Gates Coral Lab Kane'ohe, HI Contribute knowledge that expands the basic understanding of how coral reefs function and informs the management and conservation of these beautiful, important, but threatened ecosystems
Houston Advanced Research Center The Woodlands, TX Provide independent analysis on energy, air, and water issues to people seeking scientific answers

The Major Branches of Science

  1. Natural Sciences: Include biology, chemistry, & physics
  2. Social Sciences: Include psychology, sociology, & economics
  3. Formal Sciences: Include math, statistics, & computer science

5 Human Impacts on the Environment

The Rise Of Global Temperature

According to data from NASA

Year Annual Average Anomaly
2010 0.73°C
2011 0.61°C
2012 0.65°C
2013 0.69°C
2014 0.75°C
2015 0.90°C
2016 1.02°C
2017 0.93°C
2018 0.85°C

Products To Help You Go Green

If you're interested in the environment, you probably know that changing consumer habits is an important part of the fight against climate change. If you want to help save the planet, getting some of these eco-friendly products is a good place to start:

The History Of Modern Science

In Depth

As human activity continues to transform the planet, the natural systems on which we rely for life are changing rapidly, while we struggle to adapt. Habitat loss, species extinction, and a shifting climate threaten the ecological foundations of our way of life. In response to these challenges, scientists and concerned citizens around the globe are working to shed light on their development, and point the way to solutions. In no particular order, here are six research groups working to improve our understanding of the environment we inhabit.

Opening our list at #1 is the Deep Carbon Observatory, a global network of scientists seeking to better understand the movements, transformations, and effects of the massive amounts of carbon deep within the planet. Conducting research at field sites all around the world, often using advanced instruments that the organization itself helped to develop, DCO investigators work to uncover clues about the origins of subsurface hydrocarbons, the quantities and forms in which they exist, and even their possible implications for the emergence and history of life on Earth.

The DCO's major areas of focus include the reactions of underground carbon with other substances, its role in subsurface life cycles, and the geological processes behind its accumulation and dispersal. The organization offers educational workshops and courses for emerging scientists, as well as informational webinars and resources for teachers. The DCO has produced a wealth of publications detailing the results of their research, and maintains a searchable Data Portal, enabling other scientists to make use of the group's results and build on the discoveries they've made.

The DCO has produced a wealth of publications detailing the results of their research, and maintains a searchable Data Portal, enabling other scientists to make use of the group's results and build on the discoveries they've made.

Following up at #2 is Adventure Scientists, a nonprofit organization utilizing the skills of outdoor enthusiasts to further environmental research, by equipping volunteers to gather data from hard-to-reach locations. Based in Bozeman, Montana, the group contributes to projects around the world, taking surveys of species distribution, the spread of water pollutants, and other key metrics of ecosystem health. Trained in rigorous sampling protocols, participants are able to provide researchers with results they can trust, from extreme or remote environments they could not otherwise access.

Adventure Scientists has coordinated numerous large-scale projects, including a global survey of antibiotic resistance genes in microbes, a wildlife monitoring effort on the Great Plains of the northern U.S., and an assessment of Pacific marten populations within the Olympic Peninsula. They offer a diverse range of services, such as tracking the distribution of pollinator species, or taking water quality measurements in wilderness rivers; scientists can also propose new projects and review existing data sets. Those looking to contribute can make a donation, or apply to join as volunteers.

Next in our rundown is #3, Project PoSSUM, an initiative that prepares science graduates to serve as astronauts, in order to advance the methodology and technology of space research. The basic training program familiarizes students with the necessary equipment and the experience of spaceflight, enabling them to assist with studies of vapor formations that are important to understanding the dynamics of climate change. PoSSUM researchers assist with efforts like placing scientific instruments in the upper atmosphere, or conducting observations of cloud structures from high-altitude aircraft.

PoSSUM researchers assist with efforts like placing scientific instruments in the upper atmosphere, or conducting observations of cloud structures from high-altitude aircraft.

Another important goal of PoSSUM's work is testing equipment intended for use in space, and the effects of weightlessness and hypoxia on the human body. Participants in their Bioastronautics Program conduct trials of novel prototypes, to assess how they would perform in critical scenarios. The organization also performs outreach to increase interest in space research, and promote diversity within the field, through initiatives like the Out Astronaut Project highlighting LGBTQ contributions to atmospheric science. Supporters can purchase merchandise from PoSSUM's online store.

#4 on the list is Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions, an organization working to prevent catastrophic climate change, combining efforts to advance the relevant research with outreach and advocacy. The researchers of C.S.A.S. produce scientific publications aimed at demonstrating the links between human activity, global temperature shifts, and widespread natural disasters. Their aim is to spread awareness of the effects of fossil fuel usage, and motivate people to take action for the environment.

Under the direction of former NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen, who has made national headlines with his outspoken activism on climate issues, C.S.A.S. calls attention to the drastic and ongoing changes in the world's weather systems. Their website provides regular updates on rising global temperatures, hosts numerous informational videos, and posts articles discussing the causes of, and potential solutions to, the crisis. They also support the efforts of Citizens' Climate Lobby in calling for fees on carbon use. Readers interested in contributing to C.S.A.S. can make a donation online.

Their website provides regular updates on rising global temperatures, hosts numerous informational videos, and posts articles discussing the causes of, and potential solutions to, the crisis.

Coming in at #5 is Gates Coral Lab, an institute for research into critical marine reef ecosystems, with a focus on the biological factors that make the difference for survival in a changing climate. Created by the late Dr. Ruth Gates, who dedicated her life to preserving reefs in the face of ecological devastation, the laboratory continues to monitor the health of these vulnerable organisms. Assessing the responses of corals to shifts in ocean temperature, the group hopes to learn more about how these species can adapt.

The major concern that the Gates Lab seeks to address is coral bleaching, which can cause wholesale destruction of reefs. By studying the symbiotic organisms that die off during bleach events, and selectively breeding resilient strains, the team aims to help build reefs that can resist the stresses of climate change. They also conduct outreach events to help inform the public about coral reef management, and provides educational resources for teachers to use in the classroom. Anyone wishing to support the lab's efforts can donate online.

Closing out our list is #6, Houston Advanced Research Center, an independent research hub focused on sustainable development, providing analysis on issues related to clean energy, air and water quality, and resource access. Founded in 1982 by philanthropist George Mitchell, its primary focus is on the Texas Gulf Coast and the Houston metropolitan area, but with an eye to lessons with international application. HARC helps to coordinate environmental preservation efforts, such as their home city's Climate Action Plan, or measures to reduce pollution in key watersheds.

Founded in 1982 by philanthropist George Mitchell, its primary focus is on the Texas Gulf Coast and the Houston metropolitan area, but with an eye to lessons with international application.

Given the prevalence of the oil and gas industry in the region, much of the center's work aims to reduce ecological damage from energy production; examples include tools for identifying low-impact drill sites, or training in best practices for offshore extraction. Other initiatives focus on assessing impacts from invasive species and human land use in the Galveston Bay area, implementing renewable energy and clean transportation infrastructure, or promoting environmentally friendly development in Houston and its environs. Supporters can help HARC work to build a sustainable future with an online gift.