OUTCOMES TERRAenVISION 2018
TERRAenVISION: Science for Society. Environmental Issues Today
Our Planet suffers from human activities. As scientists, we know more and more about our environment, about processes, rates of change, new threats and risks. However, the challenges seem to grow quicker than the solutions we can create.
To work towards the Sustainable Development Goals we need to integrate our science and share our knowledge for economically robust transitions in environmental management.
In TERRAenVISION, different groups of scientists come together to discuss sustainability. We form a community that aims to put our science into practice and collaborate with stakeholders, from farmers to policy makers. We focus on the scientific research that aims to find solutions to the societal challenges of our time. TERRAenVISION promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and networking, to bring together scientists and stakeholders that have the same goal, work on the same societal issues, but have different scientific backgrounds. By bringing the people and their knowledge together, we aim to take the steps towards solutions that can bring our society to a more sustainable situation. In this conference, we want to link to International policies such as the sustainable Development Goals, the UN Climate conventions, CAP and COP.
In the first TERRAenVISION meeting in January 2018 in Barcelona we discussed climate change, fire, water scarcity and pollution, land degradation and the ecosystems that are affected by these drivers. But next to showing the problems we aimed to seek sustainable solutions; both from an environmental as well as from a socio-economic point of view.
The insights provided by this meeting lie in the necessity for holistic research and solutions. The meeting covered landscape restoration, sustainable agriculture, nature-based solutions, Land Degradation Neutrality, connectivity, and economically viable solutions for scarcity of resources and mitigation of Climate Change. To achieve sustainability the key issue is to make the solutions not only functional from an environmental point of view, but also socially acceptable and economically viable.
Insights from the first TERRAenVISION meeting:
Awareness: scientifically we know how to address many of the societal challenges. But as a society are we willing to pay for this, and are we willing to implement these solutions? We need better knowledge brokers to channel the scientific knowledge to policy makers, project developers and the practitioners’ community at large. We need pure science yes, but also applied science that attempts to solve the problems of humankind and our Planet. For this we need easy to understand teaching and dissemination strategies, that take into account social and cultural barriers. Through social media, we can reassure the public that individual decisions can make a real difference for global sustainability.
Connect scientific fields: connect climate change research with fire research: which impacts does climate change have on fire and visa versa? What are the risks posed by future fire regimes impact to vegetation and soil carbon storage. Connect carbon sequestration to other soil functions and the impact and opportunities of landscape restoration. The soil carbon 4 per 1000 initiative will work best when soil functions are restored and embedded in other ecosystem services the soil provides. Solutions need to be beneficial for multiple sustainability goals (SDGs)
Robust economic transitions: for sustainable development and land degradation neutrality we need to bridge the funding gaps that will link societal issues with scientific knowledge. We need to stimulate public-private partnerships and need to bring organizations together to make transition agendas together, to work out shared priorities.
Policy transitions: The SDGs are aimed to be achieved by 2030. From an environmental point of view 2030 is almost tomorrow! This gives a sense of urgency: transitions need to be facilitated from all levels in society. Because our Planet is not uniform, policy on all levels needs to be tailor made; we need innovative solutions and new business models.
Humankind deserves a chance to achieve Sustainability, and we must accomplish it as soon as possible. As time runs, the option space is shrinking.