Living with Environmental Change

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Living with Environmental Change
Our planet faces unprecedented change. If we continue on our current path, by the end of this century, or earlier, our environment will be in a state that modern humans have never experienced.
The UK's main funders of environmental research have joined forces to address this urgent situation. Living with Environmental Change is a ten-year programme, which will provide decision makers with the best information to effectively manage and protect vital ecosystem services. It will improve our tools and knowledge needed to build resilience, mitigate problems, and adapt to environmental change.
All research councils are supporting the Living with Environmental Change Programme and for more information go to The Living with Environmental Change website
LWEC crosses faculties and disciplines; there is an acknowledgement that living with environmental change requires not just scientific/technical solutions, that social science research on economics, behaviour change, and the challenges for societies are essential too. Arts and Humanities provide an historical perspective on living with environmental change which can illuminate our current dilemmas, but they can also capture current perspectives, perceptions and concepts and present them in innovative ways for diverse audiences.
Energy, food security, water, the built environment and climate change are active research areas, for further information contact

LWEC: Aims and objectives

The Living with Environmental Change (LWEC) programme will speed the development of the interdisciplinary evidence base, tools and processes that are needed to inform public and policy debates and people's choices about mitigation, management and adaptation options and opportunities.


This ten year programme, designed by all partners, aims to provide decision makers with the best information to effectively manage and protect vital ecosystem services on the time and space scales on which the economy is managed. It will aim to strengthen the evidence base for policy, not least by addressing the uncertainties that remain about the impacts of climate change and the links between natural capital and human well-being.

It will communicate with all stakeholders and work to enhance people's skills and knowledge so that they can better comprehend change and its associated uncertainties. This will help people in all walks of life make better decisions and life choices and create increased opportunities for the development of individuals and the economy overall.

Through interdisciplinary research activities, knowledge exchange actions and training opportunities LWEC aims to deliver:

  • whole-system assessments and risk-based predictions of environmental change and the effects on ecosystem services, economies and communities on local-to-regional, and seasonal-to-decadal time scales;

  • integrated analyses of the potential economic, social and environmental costs, benefits and impacts of different mitigation and adaptation responses;

  • guidance for more effective sustainable management of ecosystem services, as a foundation for resilient economic development and social progress;

  • new technology and infrastructure solutions in the management of environmental change;

  • a more research-informed dialogue and debate about the environmental challenges and choices that we face and their economic and social consequences.


The following strategic objectives will inform progress towards the design of the programmes of work that will make up LWEC:

  • To build effective mitigation, adaptation and resilience to climate change, including preparedness for changes to the intensity and frequency of extreme events, so that human health, well-being, and a healthy natural environment are ensured through use of sustainable and socially acceptable environmental management approaches and technologies.

  • To assess the links and feedbacks between the natural environment, ecosystem services and human well-being; how these might continue to develop within environmental limits in the face of major environmental change; and how decision-making and local and national planning can take account of these links and feedbacks to help in the development of new social, environmental and economic opportunities.

  • To promote human well-being, alleviate poverty and minimise waste by developing sustainable ecosystem management approaches for safe and secure food production and water supply.

  • To protect human, plant and animal health by predicting how diseases, pests, hazards and other environmental factors will alter under forthcoming environmental change scenarios, assessing which sectors of society are most at risk and determining what management actions need to be taken.

  • To make infrastructure, the built environment and transport systems resilient to environmental change and develop more sustainable, less energy-intensive systems and approaches that are socially acceptable, economically advantageous and more environmentally harmonious.

  • To work with the diverse communities of the UK to understand how, on the basis of our various cultural backgrounds and belief systems, we live with our environment at present, how this is likely to alter as the environment changes, and how we might use this knowledge to develop thriving, cohesive and informed communities.

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