U.Va. To Host Sustainability Symposium Thursday and Friday

April 25, 2012 — The Department of Environmental Sciences in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences is sponsoring a Global Environmental Challenges Symposium Thursday and Friday. Titled "In Pursuit of Sustainability and Resilience," it will highlight the role of the environmental sciences in sustaining social-ecological systems in a time of accelerated environmental change.

The symposium features two international leaders in global sustainability: Brian Walker, research fellow with Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's Sustainable Ecosystems Program and chair of the board of the Resilience Alliance, an international research group working on sustainability of social ecological systems; and Brian Huntley, former CEO of the South African National Biodiversity Institute and an expert in conservation science

On Thursday at noon, Huntley will give a talk on conservation science in southern Africa in the Rotunda. Walker's talk, "Resilience in an Ever-Changing World," will be given at 3:30 p.m. in Clark Hall, room 108.

A roundtable discussion on sustainability will be held on Friday at OpenGrounds from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., featuring both speakers and U.Va. faculty panelists Jon Cannon, professor of law; Fred Damon, professor of anthropology; and Bill Sherman, professor of architecture, who is founding director of OpenGrounds.

The event "will be a great showcase for some of the issues the University can address in the area of sustainability," said co-organizer Karen McGlathery, a U.Va. environmental sciences professor. "Working toward a sustainable future demands a new kind of transdisciplinary scholarship, one that has both a strong foundation in environmental sciences and incorporates the social dimension."

Organizing committee members also include environmental sciences professors Hank Shugart, Deborah Lawrence, Carleton Ray and Jerry McCormick-Ray.