To recognize World Environment Day today, the U.N. is launching a $21 million, four-year assessment of the planet’s ecosystems. The study will be coordinated by the U.N. Environment Programme and involve 1,500 scientists, who will have the tough task of balancing the needs of people (food and resources) with the needs of animals and plants. An additional challenge will be for the scientists to mesh data on small, local ecosystems with information on the country- and continent-wide scale.