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.”