Meeting the Challenge of Sustainability: Theory Practice Conference on Sue Senecah, Ph.D. Connecting Global Associate Professor Environmental Studies Department Challenges & State University of New York Collective Local College of Environmental Science & Forestry Action Syracuse, NY October 24-25, 2007 email@example.com My Agenda • Reinforce: “Sustainability” Everywhere • The Challenges of Sustainability • Motivate to create opportunities for Engaged Scholarship What Do We Know?? Humans are degrading ecosystems faster than existing programs can address them. Sustainability • protection of ecosystem structure, functioning, and key processes based on science • place-based • long term view with short-term trade-offs • interconnectedness among systems • integrates ecological, social, economic, culturtal, and institutional perspectives • collaborative, actively involving all stakeholders What Do We Know?? Our definition of sustainability is not important our agreement on the common vision is important What Do We Know?? The challenges of sustainability are Wicked Problems. Wicked Environmental Problems •Every wicked problem is essentially unique. •Every wicked problem is the symptom of another wicked problem. Wicked Environmental Problems •There is no immediate, and no ultimate test of a solution to a wicked problem. •Wicked problems do not have an enumerable set of potential solutions. Wicked Environmental Problems •There is no definitive formulation of the problem. •Wicked problems have no stopping rule. Primary 21st Century Theme: Sustainability Environment Human Needs Security “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” (1879-1955) Physicist and mathematician Nobel Prize for Physics 1921 Dealing with Complex & Contentious Environmental & Natural Resource Issues?? If Complex & Contentious issues are not managed effectively, the costs are high: • Social • Financial • Legal • Environmental • Institutional What we know: Achieving Sustainability is as much about managing ourselves as it is about managing ecosystems. requires short-term trade-offs for long- term gain. depends on building unlikely and enduring partnerships. Business & Industry Farmland protection Coastal Resource Management Trails & Protected Areas Trails & Protected Areas 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Kenya’s Wangari Maathai Green Belt Movement For "her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace." 2007 Nobel Peace Prize • Al Gore & • United Nations Climate Panel Gore is “anexample of the crucial role that individuals and civil society can play in encouraging multilateral responses to global issues.'' What we know: Sustainability issues are 1) Multi-disciplinary 2) Multi-agency 3) Multi-stakeholder 4) Multi-objective 5) Multi-sector 6) Multi-jurisdiction 7) Multi-cultural At watershed and ecosystem scales Addressing Wicked Problems • Effective planning & program implementation requires more than science and technology knowledge • Successful program implementation requires more than simply informing and educating the public What we know: The Need for Knowledge Building & Application 1. The appeal of Collaborative Governance is skyrocketing. 2. People don’t know how to do it. What we know: Sustainability 1. requires rethinking traditional, fragmented approaches to managing complex and interrelated challenges. 2. requires rethinking traditional, fragmented approaches to research. 3. requires rethinking traditional, limited opportunities for research. What Do We Know?? Universities are filled with students who want to contribute. What Do We Know?? Universities are filled with researchers with subject and process expertise. What Do We Know?? Citizens want a sustainable future have the fundamental conceptual understandings of it are motivated What Do We Not Sure Of?? What role will university researchers play to assist people with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to move the nation. . . . . .and the world?? Opportunity & Challenge The Need for Knowledge • Develop a coordinated research agenda responsive to the needs of agencies, funders, community groups, and analysts of such processes. Opportunity & Challenge The Need for Knowledge • Develop a coordinated research agenda responsive to the needs of agencies, funders, community groups, and analysts of such processes. • Plan for the wide dissemination of findings. Opportunity & Challenge The Need for Knowledge • Develop a coordinated research agenda responsive to the needs of agencies, funders, community groups, and analysts of such processes. • Plan for the wide dissemination of findings. • Foster informed deliberation about the meaning of those findings. In September 2002 King Carl XVI Gustaf opened Fulufajallet National Park. This marked the happy ending of a twelve-year long process of establishing the park, a road along which there had been many conflicts. In the course of that process, the Swedish EPA learned many valuable lessons about what “local participation” and “popular democracy” mean in practice. Attitudes Policies Opinions Laws Management Plans Regulations Beliefs “Realities” are Ethics created through dynamics of Behaviors Actions COMMUNCATION Verbal Experiential Visual Community-based research Active Living Research Action Research Community-Campus Partnerships Service Learning & Community Engagement Community-based Participatory Research Living Knowledge Application Scholarship Community-based research University Researchers Contribute to theory Use quantitative & qualitative methods Expand sources of expertise Contribute to sustainability Community members Agency managers & groups Service Learning incorporates community service opportunities into the curriculum Classroom Learning Community Needs Agency Missions Community-based research is guided by three principles: * CBR is a collaborative enterprise between academic researchers (professors and students) and community members. •CBR validates multiple sources of knowledge and promotes the use of multiple methods of discovery and of dissemination of the knowledge produced. * CBR has as its goal social action and social change =sustainability. Directions in Research • Building collaborative capacity : Who? –Agencies –Elected officials –Non-government organizations –Industry/business –Community/civic groups –Advocacy groups –Citizens Directions in Research • Building collaborative capacity : What? – Internal accountability, within the organization – External accountability, with stakeholders – Program evaluation, monitoring effectiveness of process – Leadership for collaborative governance Directions for Research • Integrating scientific knowledge with local knowledge • Using complex and incomplete science in decision-making • Recognizing & building capacity in best practices Collaborative Learning and Systems Thinking • On-going discussions • Mutual learning • Open exchange of views • Willingness to test one’s ideas • Constructive skepticism • Advocacy and inquiry • Seeking the unpredictable • Quantitative and qualitative • Looking for connections: loops and relationships • Awareness of external and internal pressures A initiative being created in my Environmental Studies Department Dealing with Complex & Contentious Environmental & Natural Resource Issues?? Maybe NOT!! We had NO VOICE !!! Primary 21st Century Theme: Sustainability Environment Human Needs Security The stakes are high. Arctic ice cap The time is short. Scandinavian herring fishery Research is changing. Wicked Problems SOCIETY & CULTURE uncertainty incremental history leap of faith budget gaps cost science Negotiation & trade-offs time public policy politics Cause - effect preferences behaviors attitudes & beliefs For example, stakeholders are concered with these Communication Concerns •How to handle conflict •How to handle emotion/fear/distrust •How to talk technical to communities •How to work among different disciplines •How to do “discourse based” process •Effective visual communication •How to frame messages •How to deal with the media •How to create decision space •How to create safe civic space for dialogue Questions easily addressed about engaged scholarship in an academic setting • Is it “real” research? Is it rigorous? Objective? • Can you publish it in academic journals? • How is it evaluated for promotion & tenure? • Can you get funding for it? • I have concerns about how to manage it. • I have concerns about working in these partnerships. • How can I work it into my classes? • How can I expand my current research? • How to work in interdisciplinary teams? What we know: Achieving Sustainability is as much about managing ourselves as it is about managing ecosystems. requires short-term trade-offs for long- term gain. depends on building unlikely and enduring partnerships. What we know: Sustainability 1. requires rethinking traditional, fragmented approaches to managing complex and interrelated challenges. 2. requires rethinking traditional, fragmented approaches to research. 3. requires rethinking traditional, limited opportunities for research.
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