Themes & Tensions

Theme 1: Ecological Realities

How do Ecological Realities Necessarily Frame Our Planetary Existence?

Living Tensions:

  • Common spaces: Ecological footprints, atmospheres, biospheres, eco-spheres
  • Shared danger signs: rising sea levels, desertification, soil degradation
  • Relations of human and ecological value: static or dynamic
  • Biological diversity: its past and prospects
  • Universal and variable impacts on environments

Theme 2: Participatory Process

Who’s Sustainable Future?

Living Tensions

  • Who or what deserves equal concern?
  • Can we act locally without thinking globally?
  • Living personally without knowing politically?
  • Politics of boundaries: natural, public, private resources?
  • Women and men; children and the elderly; families and villages
  • Wellbeing and quality of life
  • Public knowledge: the role of the media and government

Theme 3: Economic, Social and Cultural Context

What are the Pressing Demands of Our Time?

Living Tensions

  • Diversity and Meanings: cultural sustainability and sustainable heritage development
  • Reconfiguring the economic equation: contesting “financial years” and “instant gratification”
  • Changing patterns and cultures of consumption
  • Science and technology vs environmental sustainability?
  • Free trade and fair trade
  • Urbanization and the sustainability of human settlement
  • Climate change: impacts and responses

Theme 4: Education, Assessment and Policy

Framing Responsibility to Act?

Living Tensions

  • Balancing good governance and responsible citizenship
  • Negotiating the hidden hand of personal self-interest
  • Biotechnology and its critics
  • self-government, self-management, and cultural autonomy.
  • Accountability: beyond financial years and bottom lines
  • Poverty and its eradication
  • Measuring impacts: environmental assessment
  • Environmental education in a time of eco-systemic crisis