Post-Pandemic Sustainability: Towards a Green Economic Recovery for Nature, People and Planet

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the steepest global economic slow-down since World War II. Economic growth has declined, many businesses have fallen into bankruptcy, while unemployment and public debt has soared. The more vulnerable populations have suffered most from the devastating effects of the social and health crisis. There have been warnings from both epidemiologists and conservationists that the likelihood of further pandemics is high due to deforestation and other forms of habitat destruction that increase humans' risk of contracting additional zoonotic viruses.

While the pandemic has resulted in a decline in carbon emissions and a lighter human ecological footprint on the planet, this has not been enough to slow anthropogenic climate change. When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its 2018 report on the 1.5-degree climate target, it estimated a remaining window of only 12 years (until 2030) to establish effective climate change mitigation measures. This leaves only a narrow and rapidly closing window for governments to introduce economic stimulus packages and more humane governance models to promote a durable post-pandemic green economic recovery.

Lessons learned from the pandemic provide a vital opportunity to reorganize development models locally and globally, to move towards bottom-up governance structures that are more just, equitable, and inclusive, and that value environmental intelligence to address the sustainability challenges of the planet.

This conference -- a collaboration between Common Ground Research Networks, the On Sustainability Research Network, and the University of Granada -- seeks paper proposals and contributions from a wide variety of stakeholders, including scholars, educators, business, environmental activists, government policymakers, and local politicians and organizations on how a decarbonized economic transition can be catalysed and implemented at scale. We call for abstracts that explore best practices, identify barriers to change and how they are overcome, and propose innovative, interdisciplinary sustainability solutions.