Maryland 2050 engages multidisciplinary researchers and state leaders in identifying solutions, through collaborative research, to the human-environmental challenges facing the state in the next four decades. A December 2006 workshop Maryland 2050: Living in Our Environment, with over 100 faculty and researchers, helped to identify UMD's relevant multidisciplinary expertise and the long term issues facing the state. They focused on two inherently linked themes – the global causes of environmental change in Maryland (e.g., climate change, demographic change), and the local manifestations of environmental challenges (e.g., on infrastructure and land use).
A wide range of relevant issues for Maryland, both global and local drivers, are considered: population, economy, energy, climate, water resources, agriculture, land use, Chesapeake Bay, infrastructure, human health and the environment. A compilation of resources highlights current trends and future prospects of these topics.
Several areas and clusters of interrelated issues emerged as key focuses for UMD researchers based on expertise and Maryland 's future needs:
Climate change, mitigation, impacts and adaptation
A number of UMD experts are serving on the State of Maryland Commission on Climate Change
Ecosystem health, public health and quality of life
The new UMD School of Public Health has recently opened.
Connections among demographic change, economy, land use and infrastructure
The “smart growth” approach emerged as a critical framework for addressing many interconnected issues.
UMD institutional initiatives
Campus-based research has begun to in support of President Mote signing the University President's Climate Commitment
Why Maryland in 2050?
The initiative focuses on the State of Maryland because of the University's location and close relationship with the State, and the State's influence over policies affecting how we live in our environment –- yet our aim is to explore both local and global issues affecting our whole region. The year 2050 represents the steering committee's sense that a longer time horizon is needed to consider the scale of the global drivers but that it must be bounded somehow, perhaps by the span of the next generation.
Assessing future challenges requires tools and a framework to anticipate change – an interdisciplinary undertaking.
We welcome the participation of those outside College Park and look forward to engaging a much broader group of academic experts, and policy and investment decision-makers as this initiative grows. Please let us know of your interest by contacting Kim Ross, Executive Director for CIER, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405-3988.