SYMP 6 - Human Behaviour and Sustainability: Addressing Barriers to Change

Tuesday, August 7, 2012: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
Portland Blrm 253, Oregon Convention Center
Robert A. Dyball, Australian National University
Catherine Gross, Australian National University
Erle Ellis, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
This symposium proposal addresses the conference theme of Preserving, Utilizing and Sustaining our Ecosystems through a coherently integrated series of interdisciplinary research projects. The unifying argument of the symposium is that the primary barriers to sustainability are not a lack of existing knowledge, but socially constructed obstacles hindering our capacity to act on the basis of that knowledge. The symposium groups its presentations around five priority areas that would help overcome these barriers and transform human behaviour to more sustainable living. These themes are (i) reforming formal policy institutions; (ii) strengthening the institutions of civil society and fostering citizen engagement; (iii) changing the per capita impact of consumption; (iv) embedding equity and justice into decision making; and (v) reflecting on dominant values and belief systems. Each study relates one or more of these themes to research into human utilization of ecosystems. Following remarks introducing the five themes, the first speaker will contrast intensity of agriculture with extent of biodiversity in Australia and Romania, with implications for wildlife conservation policy. The following speaker will discuss frameworks for engaging local communities in large scale landscape conservation, drawing lessons for civic engagement processes that cross local to regional and national scales. The third speaker will present an interdisciplinary study of food consumption practices in low income, high population nations in terms of human and environmental health. By contrast, the fourth speaker will discuss mechanisms by which high income, high resource consuming populations might take greater responsibility for the global consequences of their behaviour. The ethical dimension of this high resource consumption scenario is developed in a presentation of perceptions of fairness in water sharing between food producers, ecosystem needs and urban consumers in Australia. The following speaker will discuss how values, beliefs, and personal history of members of fishing communities in North Carolina result in different attitudes to habitat conservation and utilization of ecosystem services. The final two speakers will discuss pathways to more sustainable futures via improved policy innovation in sustainably managing coupled human and natural systems. The floor will then open for a discussion about how to move towards sustainable and fair utilization of Earth’s ecosystems.
Justice, Agroecology, Rangeland Ecology and Management Section, Human Ecology Section
9:05 AM
 Financial institutions and sustainable development
Thomas Lovejoy, George Mason University & Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment
9:25 AM
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