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Our Common Future Lecture Series

In 1987, the United Nations World Commission on Environmental Development (WCED) published Our Common Future. The report sought to unite nations in search of a sustainable development path, and placed environmental issues firmly on the global political agenda. Led by Gro Harlem Bruntland, Norwegian Prime Minister and Chair of WCED, the report laid the groundwork for future environmental movements, including the 1992 Earth Summit and Agenda 21.

The School of Environment, Arts and Society’s Our Common Future series, brings renowned researchers, scholars, and public intellectuals to discuss the critical environmental issues facing the world today with the citizens of South Florida. In doing so the School strives to fulfill the mission of the Bruntland Report to increase awareness and understanding in the community, and to inspire action and engagement on a local, national, and international scale. This series is supported by the generous philanthropy of the Terry Blechman as part of the Donald Blechman Memorial Lecture Series.

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2018: Urban Resilience to Extreme Events

The 2018 Our Common Future Lecture brought to the community a very important conversation about how cities can adapt to climate change and extreme events. Dr. Nancy Grimm, co-directorof the Urban Resiliency to Extremes Sustainability Research Network and Senior Sustainability Scientist at Arizona State University delivered 2018's lecture. The focus of the discussion was a new concept of infrastructure that integrates social, ecological, and technological elements and that emphasizes the infrastructure of the future must leverage ecosystem services, improve social well-being, and exploit new technologies in ways that benefit all segments of urban populations and are appropriate to the particular urban contexts.

2017: Speaking Science | Communicating the Climate Story

Dr. Gavin Schmidt, renowned climate scientist, discusses how new observations of past climate change allow us to begin at the beginning of the climate story, gain a better appreciation of where we are now, and where we may be headed. As a scientist, telling these stories is part of the job, yet sometimes the message gets lost in translation. In this lecture Dr. Schmidt explores how scientists must not only share discoveries with all audiences, but help others learn, communicate, and act on this knowledge. Understanding the story will ensure Earth’s climate narrative it is being shaped by and for all its characters.

2016: Conserving Large Predators in a Changing Environment

Dr. Joshua Ginsberg, a renowned leader in conservation science and President of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies shares his insights on the recovery of large species of predators and conservation patters towards recovery that can better inform conservation efforts, and suggest a brighter outlook than one might think. Looking ahead we must consider how expanding human populations, increased urbanization, and climate change will affect the persistence of species.