Saturday, February 18, 2012: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Room 220 (VCC West Building)The 20th century witnessed a massive increase in the global scale of human activity. Human population increased 4-fold over the century, while economic activity grew almost 40-fold. Over the coming decades, projections suggest that the world’s population will increase by an additional 2 billion and that rapid economic growth will likely continue, particularly in low- to middle-income countries. The twin challenges of sustainable development are how to maintain economic growth necessary to provide all people with a decent standard of living while at the same time enhancing ecosystem processes necessary for human survival and well-being. Past economic growth already has caused serious environmental problems including climate change, loss of biodiversity, strains on water supplies, and regional air and water contamination. Going forward, we will need to find new ways to meet human needs without compromising environmental quality. This session explores promising approaches to simultaneously meet human needs for food, energy, fresh water, and other demands and do so within planetary boundaries for biodiversity, climate, air, and water. Speakers across multiple disciplines and domains will address these interconnected issues that can be used to “make it fit”: from global agricultural solutions that could feed 9 billion, to a deployable renewable resource economy that limits carbon emissions, to forest protection for carbon sinks and biodiversity.
Stephen Polasky, University of Minnesota