Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Global experts gather for sustainable future discussion

Can the path to a sustainable future be found in the past? Global experts on water policy and management in the Pacific will gather on 7 February at The Piano in Christchurch for Tauhere UC Connect public talk The Path to a Sustainable Future.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | the University of Canterbury (UC) Office of Treaty Partnership, Kā Waimaero | the Ngāi Tahu Centre are co-hosting a free Tauhere UC Connect panel discussion by international thought-leaders in the fields of ecosystems, water science and the sustainability of the Pacific Islands: Professors Peter Vitousek and Barton “Buzz” Thompson from Stanford University, United States, and Dr Mike Joy of Victoria University Wellington, chaired by University of Canterbury Professor Bronwyn Hayward, and introduced by Professor Te Maire Tau, Kā Waimaero | Ngāi Tahu Centre, University of Canterbury.

The year 2023 marks the University of Canterbury’s sesquicentenary and the 150th anniversary theme is: Ka titiro whakamuri, ki te anga whakamua | Guided by the Past, Shaping the Future. Topics for discussion in The Path to a Sustainable Future event include:

  • How and why Polynesia Island societies approached sustainability
  • How we got our deadly addiction to nitrogen
  • How our food went from energy positive to energy negative
  • How producing food became industrialised and fossil fuel dependent
  • How we lost our connection to water
  • Do courts have a role to play in promoting sustainability?
  • Does the world need a trustee? and
  • What does history teach us about how best to achieve sustainability?

About the experts:
Barton “Buzz” Thompson is a global expert on water policy and management. He is the Robert E Paradise Professor of Natural Resources Law at Stanford University and a professor of environmental behavioural sciences at Stanford’s new Doerr School of Sustainability.

He also is a senior fellow in the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, which he co-founded in 2004 and directed for over a dozen years. He serves as counsel to the international law firm of O’Melveny & Myers and is a member of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Sustainable Water Impact Fund (a joint business venture between the Renewable Resources Group and The Nature Conservancy).

From 2008 to 2018, he served as Special Master for the United States Supreme Court in Montana v. Wyoming, an interstate water dispute involving the Yellowstone River System. He also is a former member of the Science Advisory Board of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Buzz is the author of multiple articles and books on water and the environment. His recent research focuses on the growing importance of private businesses in the pursuit of sustainability. His new book on The Business of Water will be published in 2023.

Peter Vitousek is the Clifford G. Morrison Professor of Population and Resource Studies in the Department of Earth System Science at Stanford University.

Peter was born and grew up in Hawai’i and has been on the faculty at Stanford University since 1984. His research interests include: evaluating the global cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus, and how they are altered by human activity; determining the effects of invasive species on the workings of whole ecosystems; and understanding how the interaction of land and culture contributed to the sustainability of Pacific Island societies before European contact. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was awarded the 2010 Japan Prize.

He is co-director of the First Nations Futures Institute and of the Hawai’i Ecosystems Project.

Mike Joy is a senior researcher at the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. Seeing the decline in freshwater health, he became an outspoken advocate for environmental protection.

Mike has won numerous awards, including an Ecology in Action award from the NZ Ecological Society (2009), the Royal Society’s Charles Fleming Award for protection of the New Zealand environment (2013), the Morgan Foundation inaugural River Voice Award (2015), the inaugural Universities NZ Critic and Conscience award (2016) and was a semi-finalist for the 2018 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.

Mike has developed bio-assessment tools used by many regional councils and consultants, and published scientific papers in many fields from artificial intelligence and data mining to the freshwater ecology of sub-Antarctic islands.

He has worked for decades at the interface of science and policy in New Zealand with a goal of strengthening connections between science, policy and real outcomes to address the multiple environmental issues facing New Zealand.

Tauhere UC Connect public lecture: The Path to a Sustainable Future, 7pm – 8.30pm, Tuesday 7 February 2023, at The Piano, Christchurch. Panellists: Professor Barton ‘Buzz’ Thompson, Professor Peter Vitousek, Dr Mike Joy, chaired by Professor Bronwyn Hayward, introduced by Professor Te Maire Tau (Ngāi Tahu). Register to attend free at: www.canterbury.ac.nz/public-lectures. Tauhere UC Connect public lectures are also livestreamed on the University of Canterbury Facebook page, and made available to watch later on YouTube.

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