The authors of these timeless papers are the superstars of environmental science and public policy of our era. The essays are arranged in two sections—the first focused on environmental science and the second on the implications of that science for the well being of people and the sustainability of civilization. This book is a reminder that the business of government is to look after the public interest, the common good—and a part of that interest is an individual’s right to a stable, benign, and healthy environment. Without a recognition of that right and a deliberate care to maintain such an environment, the human enterprise will fail, and no form of governmental or private intervention will be able to stem the chaos. Hailed in 2014 as the world’s top think tank in the field of climate change, Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) was founded in 1985 as a private, non-profit institute for research on the great issues of environment by ecologist George M. Woodwell, whose broad interests and achievements in environmental issues and policies have had a major worldwide impact. WHRC scientists combine analysis of satellite images of the Earth with field studies to measure, model, and map changes in the world’s ecosystems, from the thawing permafrost in the Arctic to the expanding agriculture regions of the tropics. They work locally, regionally, and globally, with in-depth expertise and collaborations in North and South America, Asia, and Africa to discover how humans are changing global cycles of carbon, nitrogen, and water. WHRC merges natural science with economics to discover sustainable paths for human prosperity and stewardship of the Earth’s natural resources. This book grew out of a symposium to honor the WHRC founder.