About SAGE

looking up at the sky through the trees

At the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), we examine the connections between natural resources, technology, policy, human health, security, and changes in the global environment. Our staff and students conduct cutting-edge research on these critical problems, and disseminate that knowledge through innovative teaching and outreach at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

During the past half-century, human activities have changed our planet at an astonishing rate. Global population more than doubled, and food, water and fuel use increased three- to seven-fold. The results include changing climate patterns, diminishing land and freshwater resources, deteriorating air and water quality, emerging diseases, and increasing threats to human health and security. These problems will worsen unless we change global patterns and modes of resource use, and implement adaptive strategies.

To find effective solutions, we need to understand the changing relationships between human actions and Earth's complex environmental systems. This requires interdisciplinary research that forges new links between traditional scientific fields. Positive change also requires integration of the latest science into real-world decision-making and public policy, with the ultimate goal of sustainably managing our planet's natural resources - the air, water, land and biological diversity upon which all life depends into the future.

SAGE is a research center in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison, with about fifty faculty, scientists, students, and staff examining cutting-edge environmental challenges and solutions. With strong collaborations and cross-fertilization both within and outside SAGE, we are able to contribute to the scientific and policy discourse on agriculture, air quality, climate, energy, public health, urban environment, and water. Our work is supported by government research grants, corporate gifts, and private funds, with results published in the academic literature and often reported in the popular press.