GCSE Essays

GCSE Essays are authored by researchers, thinkers, and experts in GCSE's global network. GCSE Essays provide a deeper look into trending topics and new ideas across the environmental and scientific communities, with a particular focus on use of science to inform decision-making about complex environmental challenges

Past essays have covered topics ranging from nature-based solutions, to climate justice, to informative overviews of complex multilateral agreements. Essays are published on GCSE’s website and promoted in our monthly newsletter, The Connection, composed of approximately 20,000 scientists, educators, policymakers, business leaders, and officials at all levels of government across the globe. See submission form and guidelines here.

Spanning Boundaries to Improve the Scientific Basis of Environmental Decision-Making

May, 2019

Science and scientists have a critical role to play in environmental decisions. Policymakers provide key context to help scientists understand the questions that scientists can answer. But decision-makers will not access the latest science and scientists will not understand the culture in which decision-makers operate without sustained support in spanning the boundary between the two.

Investing in a New Generation: The Power of Storytellers to Move the Planet Forward

April, 2019

“Storytelling helps science become more human.” A young biology student told us this while on a storytelling expedition deep in the Brazilian rainforest, surrounded by everything but humanity.

The Imperative Role Science Plays in Global Environmental Governance Today

March, 2019

The pace of technological discovery and growth today is unprecedented. This development brings greater benefits as well as increased risks, most especially to the environment. Nations around the world are experiencing increasing threats to the environment and natural resources. These global challenges require global responses. It is critical that decision-makers on the international stage look to science as a key asset in their determinations to develop effective policies. 

50th Anniversary of the Burning of the Cuyahoga: How Ohio Improved Two of its Most Impaired Watersheds

February, 2019

This June will be the 50th anniversary of the 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio. It was a transformative event in American history that is associated with the birth of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Clean Water Act. The ecological movement was just gaining ground with the first Earth Day in April 1970. President Richard Nixon proposed the establishment of EPA on July 9, 1970, and it began operation on December 2, 1970, after Nixon signed the executive order.

Climate Science and the Art of the Possible

January, 2019

The human and economic costs of extreme weather events in just the last two years is staggering, including a profound loss of life. Globally, weather disasters cost the world more than $155 billion in 2018 [1]. The United States was hit particularly hard, including Hurricanes Michael and Florence and the catastrophic wildfires that tore through California. As catastrophic as 2018 was for extreme weather, 2017 was far worse, costing over $300 billion in the United States alone [2].

The Growing Burden of Waste and the Need to Rethink Infrastructure Informed by Science

January, 2019

Since 1950 the U.S. population has more than doubled. It has grown from an estimated 152 million people to perhaps as many as 329 million inhabitants today. Real per capita income increased four-fold in that same period, growing from about $10,600 per person in 1950 to nearly $44,000 today (measured in real 2012 dollars).

Perspectives on Resilience from NCSE Fall Interns

January, 2019

Defining Resilience in Local Energy Systems Jackson Carr, NCSE Fall 2018 Energy Intern Within an energy system, resilience broadly refers to the capacity and ability to maintain the provision of adequate energy service. This begins with the maintenance of the energy grid under severe, adverse conditions. With a consistent rise in power outages due to severe weather throughout the twenty-first century, ensuring the reliability of the grid under the worst of conditions remains at the heart of energy resilience. [1]

Understanding Resilience: The Role of Social Capital from Texas to the Indus River Basin (Part 2)

January, 2019

Global climate change has brought with it unprecedented and devastating natural disasters the world over. Major climate events such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and tsunamis do not discriminate between the developed and developing world. While levels of wealth, sturdiness of built infrastructure, and formal institutions may vary from richer to poorer countries, the essence of human communities rarely does.

Understanding Resilience: A Social Perspective (Part 1)

January, 2019

In recent years, the concept of sustainability has emerged as a powerful and imperative notion that is fast becoming front and center of several debates concerning economic growth, social development, and environmental challenges. With a rapidly changing climatic landscape coupled with major natural disasters around the world, the need for more sustainable development, infrastructure, and increased resilience is vital.