100 opinion-makers and 30,000 young citizens from 30 countries
join forces and share ideas to prepare the Rio+20 conference.
Science, politics and society
We addressed various topics in the framework of our study among the world youth and the panel of 100 personalities. Here are some examples of questions we discussed:
The world has never trained so many engineers, technology has never been so present in the lives of billions of individuals; we are today capable of building a « sustainable » world, at least « technically ».
Yet scientists and politicians are met with distrust... How to overcome this new obstacle ?
How can science, politics and society be reconciled? How can the scientific realities of sustainable development be reconnected with the daily contingencies of the life of citizens (jobs, standard of living, transportation, etc.)?
Should our political and educational models evolve to do so?
Some interview excerpts linked to this topic:
- We are all aware of the arguments from politicians and biologists, but for people to really want to change you have to connect with their emotions and artists have an essential role to play in that. My underwater sculptures are designed to ensure they aggregate fish and provide a suitable substrate for corals to settle, while diverting tourists away from natural reefs. They have no ownership; they belong to the sea, a communal space, with no visual boundaries that really demonstrates how we are all part of the same planet.
Jason deCaires Taylor (UK), Founder and Artistic Director of Museo Subacuático de Arte of Cancún
- In our interconnected world, we need to break down traditional silos of academic disciplines, for our graduates to be better prepared to address the emerging issues of sustainability, grounded in the humanitarian values and cross-disciplinary thinking that can and should be one of the hallmarks of a great liberal arts and science education.
Amy Gutmann (USA), President of the University of Pennsylvania and professor of political science.
- Reaching the goal of long-tem sustainability of the biosphere requires us to coordinate and collaborate on a scale that has never been seen before. We cannot simply design a program to “save the biosphere”. Rather, the first prerequisite for solving such a large and complex system is to guide the development of a “global brain”, an emergent property arising from the integration of people and knowledge on a vast, unparalleled scale. We must promote open innovation through non-traditional structures, which can facilitate interaction among all stakeholders, including scientists, entrepreneurs, young leaders, and professional artists seeking to explore and nurture the vibrant intersection between art and science. This is precisely one of the strategic objectives of the B2 Institute at the University of Arizona—a unique think tank and research incubator that addresses the scientific Grand Challenges of our time.
Joaquin Ruiz (USA), Executive Dean of the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science, Professor of Geochemistry at the University of Arizona and Director of Biosphere 2, an Earth systems science research facility.
- In theory, we all want global rules, but we also need to ensure that they are properly implemented locally. We need “to think globally and act locally”, but also to “think locally and act globally”. Both are needed. We also need to enhance the United Nations to help effectively in the management of Natural resources, but at the same time improve the internal management of the United Nations themselves to serve efficiently the peoples.
Michael Scoullos (Greece), Chairman of the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development and Chairman of the Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean.