Sustainability science is an emerging field of research dealing with the interactions between natural and social systems, and with how those interactions affect the challenge of sustainability. The challenge is to meet the needs of present and future generations while substantially reducing poverty and conserving the planet’s life support systems. Sustainability science is a kind of science that is primarily use-inspired, with significant fundamental and applied knowledge components, and commitment to moving such knowledge into societal action. Sustainability science is science with ethics.
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Primarily, this year’s conference seeks to encourage exchange of knowledge and experience among participants on how they are learning, creating and accompanying different stakeholders to transform land and water governance. Knowledge from across the natural and social sciences is needed to develop a thorough understanding of our ecological challenges. These challenges include: Learning how to develop a comprehensive and integrated point of view, through linking academic disciplines, that enables us to transform our governance of land and water resources; Creating capacities that enable us to build safe and secure societies that are resilient to disaster risks; Accompanying the youth as they prepare to inherit the responsibility of building a sustainable future for our community and society.
Sustainability science from the mountains: The Bendum Ecology and Culture Center in Mindanao, Philippines
Pedro Walpole of Environmental Science for Social Change (ESSC) will be speaking at the UNESCO workshop on Sustainability Science in Kuala Lumpur, this 4th and 5th April. In this article, Pedro shares his thoughts on Sustainability Science and its importance in the context of ESSC’s work with rural communities in Mindanao.
This last May 22 marked the 2013 UN International Day of Biological Diversity, with the theme for this year being “Water and Biodiversity” so as to tie in with ongoing events in this “The International Year of Water Cooperation”. Biodiversity and ecosystem services are central to ourselves and our planets continued, sustainable existence.
The challenge is to learn from contrasting situations in Asia as to the social and environmental strategies for engaging communities. In ecosystems throughout Asia, socially acceptable systems are sought where governments were previously more focused on commercial and private rights. There is a long term need to engage communities and support them in building their capacity to manage resources.
It’s the growing season in tropical Asia with early harvests of rice in the lowlands and corn in the uplands. The memory of the two storms that caused area devastation in the Philippines at the beginning of the year has faded and the landscape looks one of abundance. Walking down the riverbeds and around the deltas, it is easy to see people getting on with their lives in ways that are covering up the scars of disaster: an ongoing environmental crisis of management. Environmental disaster is made worse by the economic crisis; the poor do not know how they will be next hit, by a returning jobless family member or another typhoon.