Roundtable Discussion on Sustainability at UMass Boston Sparks Lively Debate
On November 3rd, authors and collaborating scholars working on the 2012 UN Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5) met at Umass Boston for a roundtable discussion entitled Trajectories to Sustainability: Balancing People, Planet, and Prosperity. The panelists included Ivar Baste and Fatoumata Keita-Ouane of UNEP, Trista Patterson of the U.S. Forest Service, Laszlo Pinter of the Central European University, and Bernice Lee of Chatham House. Close to a hundred students, academics, and professionals attended the round table to hear the stories of hope, frustration, perseverance, and achievement from the distinguished environmental scholars and practitioners.
Professor Maria Ivanova of the Center for Governance and Sustainability organized and hosted the event. After opening remarks from Provost Winston E. Langley concerning the global dimension of environmental sustainability, Dr. Ivanova presented the panelists with the opportunity to speak briefly about their personal opinions regarding the successes and failures of global environmental governance. Opinions varied amongst the panelists and the audience gained insight into the challenges faced by environmental professionals and the achievements of international environmental organizations. The issue of, “have we succeeded or failed?” sparked a lively, cordial debate amongst the panelists.
Dr. Laszlo Pinter of the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary spoke of our collective struggle with sustainability as a journey with successes and failures alike. Ivar Baste warned that the threat of environmental collapse is looming, but that mechanisms and political will to preserve our planet are falling into place. Engaging the audience directly, Bernice Lee of Chatham House said that the future of environmental prosperity rested on the shoulders of young environmental scholars, professionals, and activists. She also stressed the need to engage the financial and industrial sectors, if we are to preserve our planet. The event was stirring, and the contributions from the panelists inspired the audience with a sense of hope and a trajectory for the future.