Keynote speaker E.J. Milner-Gulland, Tasso Leventis Professor of Biodiversity at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, presents “An Optimistic Vision for a Sustainable, Wild, and Socially Just World.”
With remarks by Senator George J. Mitchell.
Abstract: In 2020, governments will hopefully agree upon a new vision for nature and people that tackles the linked sustainability challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and human development in an integrated way. But how can high-level aspirations be translated into real, and timely, change on the ground, where complex ecological and social processes intertwine to constrain and derail the change needed for sustainability? Using examples from my work in conservation, I explore how we could put more effective institutions and incentives in place, so that individual behavior and the decisions of companies and governments are more aligned with both ecological sustainability and improving human well-being. My examples focus mostly on wildlife exploitation and rural people living in low-income tropical countries, but the lessons are universal. Given the challenging times we live in, it may seem perverse to claim that optimism is both necessary and warranted, but I end by making this case.
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