Since the Industrial Revolution, there have been significant increases in the production of goods and services, trade and use of fossil fuels. Over this time, global population has grown rapidly. Environmental degradation imposed by local conditions poses unprecedented threats to the security of individuals and societies, with implications in the global context. According to a well-known study from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, we have already surpassed four of the nine “planetary boundaries” that define the safe operating space for humanity.
As of 2015, carbon dioxide levels were at 400 ppm and still climbing, biodiversity has dropped to 84%, up to about 22 teragrams per year of phosphorus and 150 teragrams per year of nitrogen are being added to the ecological systems, and deforestation has increased by 62%.
Given that human activity is central to the above-mentioned environmental issues, social sciences have a key role to play in analyzing and governing global environmental change. Although there are now many studies regarding sustainable development, our knowledge in natural science and social science is not being effectively transferred across fields. To secure our societies, transformative change in knowledge production is necessary. This challenge opens the door to innovation, new ideas and new paradigms.
In addition, awareness and wisdom for an environmental friendly society seems to be still lacking among policy makers as well as the general public. Climate Change, Global Warming, Natural and Human-made Disaster and Calamity, Pollution and Toxic Waste are all the result of this crisis. Therefore, it is essential to raise social and environmental awareness aimed at lifestyle adaptation, mode of production and ensuring environmental justice. Thus, many things need to be done in this regard.
On this panel, the evolution of recent thinking about the links between ecological crisis, scientific vs social knowledge imbalances and innovation strategies will be shared from different points-of-view by policy makers, the public and academics.
This session will address the following questions:
- What are the challenges faced in making and strengthening links between the ecological crisis and social knowledge, or natural science versus social science?
- What could be some effective innovative strategies and actions employed to overcome the challenges?
- How can these actions and practices be accelerated and up-scaled to create a stronger and broader impact for societal change?