PROmotion

Sustainability (and such)

Sustainability screenage and me!

Posted by Nancy Van Leuven, Ph.D. on June 5, 2012

Consider me PUMPED!   Next Wednesday, June 13, I’ll be the featured speaker for a discussion via Telepresence with employees of the U.S. General Services Administration.  And let me tell you: It’s exciting to step outside the higher ed bubble of free and low-cost technologies (such as Voicethread) and experience how larger public and private groups are reducing carbon footprints while having conversations in the cloud.  Here’s the abstract, and if you have any thoughts to add, I’d love to include them!

From Conservation to Ecology to Sustainability — A Brief History of the Global Conversation

The shift from a top-down view of the natural world to a consensus view has changed the way we think about the planet and how we define and discuss the environment, with conversations now tied to poverty, equity, governance and business in ways that were unimaginable just a few short decades ago.

Research shows that in recent years, public policies and messages about sustainability have shifted from normative, top-down mandates to more “democratic,” horizontally-derived and consensus-driven discussions.  The discourse about environmental issues has switched from a focus on programming (such as recycling and conservation) to more complex debates about the scientific process, how we know what’s happening in complicated natural systems, and how we should respond to known and suspected ecological dynamics.

How we talk about (and reimagine) natural systems matters and the mental models we use certainly influence how we respond to changes in global conditions.  From the conservation efforts of the early 20th century, to the ecological movements of 1970’s through today’s sustainability initiatives, this session will cover a brief history of humanity’s relationship to the environment as it conversations continually to adapt to meet cycles of awareness, scientific discovery and public debate.  Specifically, we will focus on identifying case studies for sustainability, best practices and strategies for culture and leadership change, and an interactive Q and A session to share ideas and next steps.

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