The world today is plagued with a growing number of environmental issues that affect us locally, regionally and globally. These include climate change, scarcity of natural resources, water security, biodiversity loss, deforestation, and environmental degradation. Evidence suggests that these issues create or exacerbate conflicts. The effects of climate change for example disproportionately affect poorer peoples and nations, while the drivers of this issue largely come from richer nations. It is therefore imperative that a better understanding of these issues be obtained to build more effective environmental governance and policy which can reduce conflict and ensure security from local to global scales. A reduction in conflict will lay the foundation for enduring social and environmental sustainability.
Why is change needed?
A look at the way the world has evolved over the last century demonstrates that we cannot continue with business as usual. Our consumerism lifestyle which has led to the overexploitation and depletion of natural resources, environment degradation and pollution cannot continue unchecked. The concept of being a developed and advanced nation is largely linked to consumerism, such as the possession of cars and eating more meat. Developing nations believe that it is their turn to become developed as well. The population dynamics and the planetary boundaries (Climate change, Biodiversity loss, Biogeochemical, Ocean acidification, Land use, Freshwater, Ozone depletion, Atmospheric aerosols, Chemical pollution) which exist suggests that this trend is not sustainable if it is pursued and therefore change is needed.
How to change?
There is a need to change our lifestyles at the individual level since consumerism is a driving factor behind issues such as pollution. Such changes include demanding and purchasing products that were sustainably sourced and produced, implementing energy saving actions and the practicing the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) to tackle our growing pollution problem. Changes at the regional level is also important since waterways such as rivers are oftentimes shared by several countries. The Nile river basin covers eleven countries in Africa and is the primary water source of Egypt and Sudan. Forest fires in Indonesia for example have affected neighboring countries and regional approaches are needed to address it. On a global scale, changes are needed to address issues such as climate change. Political will has been the main factor affecting
Who should make the change?
It is evident therefore that real change requires a multi-stakeholder, multi-disciplinary, transboundary and intergenerational approach. Against this background, it is not possible to point fingers at any person or stakeholder since we all have a role to play in resetting the course of the world on a more transparent path. With the world being interconnected as it currently is, it is much easier to mobilize funds and share information, experiences and best practices.
What is the timeline?
We certainly need to act now because the effects of our current transgressions are becoming more intense as is seen in the natural disasters, global pandemics and economic recessions of this day and age. A concrete timeline to progressively bring us unto a sustainable path must be premised on scientific data, cultural and socio-economic diversity and demographic and the planetary boundaries.
The objective of the ecology workshop is to bring together persons from around the world to share information, collaborate and innovate in a multidisciplinary manner to address social conflicts around conservation, resource use and activities that damage environments and ecosystems. We invite submissions which seeks to address this theme.
The layout includes an initial framing presentation, followed by presentations based on ecology themes which are transdisciplinary in nature (such as agroecology, human ecology, urban ecology) and a final panel discussion.
Mr Devon DUBLIN, Guyana (Veterinary Doctor and Zootechnician, Masterís Degree in Marine Life Sciences, PhD in Environmental Science Development, the Governance Coordinator for WWF-Guianas, Guyana)