About Yale Environmental Dialogue

Yale Environmental Dialogue event at the Aspen Institute in Washington D.C.
Robert Little
The Yale Environmental Dialogue kicked off Climate Week in New York City with a panel event at the Yale Club.
We want to generate fresh thinking, draw on diverse perspectives, and identify innovative pathways to progress toward a sustainable future.
— Daniel Esty
    Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy
    Yale University
Sustainability has emerged as a global priority in the past several years. The 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement and the adoption of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals has sharpened the focus all over the world on the need to address critical challenges, from the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to the water shortages plaguing and air pollution choking cities across the planet. The pathways to success in addressing these issues, however, have received much less attention. What has become plainly evident is that the 20th Century approaches to environmental protection will be insufficient.
In the United States, moreover, partisan divides, regional disputes, and deep disagreements over core principles have made it nearly impossible to chart a course toward a sustainable future. New ideas, transformed policy approaches, reframed business models, innovative partnerships, and creative ways to engage the public will all be required to change this dynamic.
The Yale Environmental Dialogue, an initiative of the Yale School of the Environment (YSE), aims to promote this change by injecting new energy and fresh thinking into the national conversation with the goal of identifying new solutions.

Created in 2017, the Dialogue aims to produce cutting-edge insights and new approaches for environmental protection for the 21st century. It will engage thought leaders and decision-makers to promote robust intellectual engagement across diverse perspectives, utilizing a variety of interactive formats on the most critical environmental, energy, and sustainability challenges facing humanity.

The Dialogue aims to transform the public policy debate through forums and publications that address complex and controversial issues through a knowledge-focused, non-partisan lens, bringing together professionals, public officials, civil society leaders, and other stakeholders.  Though it seems paths forward are increasingly hard to find, the series of forums will explore contentious issues and identify shared values to point the way.

“There are so many challenges we’re facing as a nation in terms of the environment and how we manage our natural resources,” said YSE Dean Indy Burke. “But we see an opportunity for Yale to be a leader in tackling them. Through this initiative we will promote conversation on these difficult topics, across the country, in a way that is productive and impactful.”

Discussion Topics

  • Sustaining Humans and Nature as One: Ecological Science and Environmental Stewardship
  • Sustainability, Natural Capital, and Equity
  • Biodiversity Rewind: Leveraging Natural Systems and Landscapes For A Cooler Earth
  • Industrial Ecology and the Circular Economy
  • Innovation and Technology to Power the Planet with Renewable Energy
  • Changing Tides: Promising Policies and Technologies for a Bluer Ocean
  • A Restoration Agenda for Native Forests
  • How Environmental Lessons Learned Shape Our Environmental Path Forward
  • From Red Lights to Green Lights: Remaking Environmental Protection for the 21st Century
  • Too Big Not to Fail
? The Problem with Big Ideas
  • Environmental Protection Through Systems Design, Systems Decision-Making, and Systems Thinking
  • Planetary Sustainability in the Urban Century
  • Broadening Climate Change Action: The Paris Agreement Can't Do It Alone
  • Next Generation Corporate Sustainability Leadership: New Lines Of Accountability
  • Environmental Justice and Public Health
  • Planetary Boundaries: Defining Sustainable Use for Critical Materials
  • Making Companies Work for Society: Harnessing Global Financial Markets For Sustainability
  • Bridging Divides: Building Networks Across Differences
  • Science as The Foundation for Policy: The Case of Fracking
  • Moral and Spiritual Contributions to a Flourishing Earth Community
  • Citywide Green Infrastructure:Rethinking Parks for an Urban Future
  • Building Public and Political Will for Climate Action
  • Pricing Pollution: Deploying Global Tax and Other Price Signals for Sustainability.
  • Remaking American Agriculture for a Sustainable Future
  • Toward an Evergreen Revolution: Intensification in Smallholder Farming
  • Fostering Energy Innovation for the 21st Century
  • What’s in Your Backyard? How Private Lands Should Be Used for Wildlife Conservation
  • Waste and Materials Management: New Strategies to Achieve Reduction and Reuse in the 21st Century
  • Genomics as a Driving Force for Environmental Health
  • Found Water: Reuse and The Deconstruction of “Wastewater”
  • Green Banks: Driving the Supply Side of Clean Power
  • Building Climate Resilience by Design
  • How Technology Breakthroughs Save the Environment
  • Bracing for Climate’s Impact: Transforming the National Weather Service for the Challenges Ahead
  • State Constitutional Rights to a Clean Environment
  • Disaster Risk Reduction – The Calm before The Storm
  • Youth and Climate Change: Leaders, Lawsuits, and Leaps Forward
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