Sustainable Places Lecture Series: Sense of place and social action as foundations for stewardship in a polarized world.

27/04/2017, 17:00 - 18:30


Shifting from the current trajectory of environmental degradation and climate change to a more sustainable trajectory for ecosystems and society will require a radical shift in the relationship between people and natureā€”a shift from norms, values and worldviews based on rights and entitlements to approaches that recognize the linkage of rights to responsibilities for the future health of the planet and wellbeing of society. Fostering societal responsibility will require a spectrum of approaches, all linked to more participatory forms of democracy. When there is broad consensus on environmental opportunities, grass-roots planning based on sense of place can foster community engagement to strengthen human-nature ties and address environmental change. When support for environmental and societal needs is mixed, boundary-spanning organizations and individuals can identify areas of consensus and contested areas that must be negotiated. When there is strong opposition to environmental improvement, social action and confrontation within and beyond agencies and business may be necessary for transformational change.

Terry Chapin is Professor Emeritus of Ecology at the Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks and Honorary Distinguished Professor at the Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff University.

An ecosystem ecologist, his research addresses the sustainability of ecosystems and human communities in a rapidly changing planet.


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