The Sustainability Laboratory’s inaugural conversation series, Exploring the Sustainability Challenge, features thought leaders working on some of the most urgent issues facing the planet. Get to know the speakers for each session, below.
Session 1: Setting the Context: Sustainability is a System’s State
Michael Ben-Eli, founder, The Sustainability Laboratory
Michael Ben-Eli is the founder of The Sustainability Laboratory, established in order to advance the concept of sustainability, expanding prospects and producing positive, life affirming impacts on people and ecosystems in all parts of the world. Prior to launching The Lab, Michael pioneered applications of systems thinking and cybernetics in management and organization, and has worked on synthesizing strategy issues in many parts of the world and in diverse institutional settings. Michael is the author of the widely-acclaimed five core sustainability principles, and he is leading the development of The Lab as a worldwide network of ecozone-based activity centers.
Click here to view the recording of Session 1.
Session 2: The Science of Climate Change
Jennifer Francis, Senior Scientist, Woodwell Climate Research Center
Jennifer Francis is a Senior Scientist at the Woodwell Climate Research Center. Her research focuses on the Arctic, and the connections between rapid Arctic warming and weather patterns in mid-latitudes. She is also involved in science communication and outreach work, including two publications in Scientific American, and regular quotes in major media outlets. In 2019, she testified to the congressional hearing for the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in Washington DC, with the presentation: “The State of Climate Science and Why it Matters.”
Click here to view the recording of Session 2.
Session 3: Why is Biodiversity so Important?
Tom Lovejoy, President of the Amazon Biodiversity Center, Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation
Tom Lovejoy, known as the “Godfather of Biodiversity”, is a conservation biologist. He is the founder and president of the Amazon Biodiversity Center, and a Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation. He has served on science and environmental councils under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations, and is credited with bringing the global tropical deforestation to public attention, as well as coining the term “biological diversity.”
Click here to view the recording of Session 3.
Session 4: Combating Desertification
Uriel Safriel, former Director of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and former Chair of the Science and Technology Committee of the United Nations Convention on Combatting Desertification
Uriel Safriel is a Professor Emeritus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. His research areas are marine and desert populations, and community and ecosystem ecology, predominately studying birds and mollusks. His appointments include Chief Scientist of Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Director of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Chair of Israel Man and Biosphere National Committee, and Chair of the Science and Technology Committee of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, and its Science-Policy Interface. He is also a member of The Lab’s Advisory Board.
Click here to view the recording of Session 4.
Session 5: The Economics of Sustainability
Hazel Henderson, futurist, economics iconoclast, best-selling author, and producer for the public television series “Ethical Markets”
Hazel Henderson is a futurist and an economics iconoclast. She is the founder of Ethical Markets Media, a media company promoting the emergence of a sustainable, green, more ethical and just economy worldwide, and the producer of the Ethical Markets television series. She is the author of several books, including the award-winning Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy, and her writing has appeared in newspapers and journals around the world.
Click here to view the recording of Session 5.
Session 6: Sustainability in the Developing World
Ashok Khosla, former co-chair of United Nations Environment Programme’s International Resource Panel (UNEP-IRP), and Founder and Chairman of Development Alternatives
Ashok Khosla is an environmentalist and sustainable development expert. He is the founder and chairman of Development Alternatives, a research and action organization striving to deliver socially equitable, environmentally sound and economically scalable development outcomes, and the former co-chair of United Nations Environment Programme’s International Resource Panel. He is also a member of The Lab’s Advisory Board.
Click here to view the recording of Session 6.
Session 7: Urbanization and Sustainability
Jonathan Rose, urban planner, author, co-founder of the Garrison Institute, and Founder and President of Jonathan Rose Companies, LLC
Jonathan Rose is an urban planner and is considered a visionary in urban development. He is the Founder and President of Jonathan Rose Companies, LLC, known for developing affordable, green, and environmentally responsible communities. He is the author of The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life. He co-founded the Garrison Institute, and he sits on the Boards of various nonprofit organizations.
Click here to view the recording of Session 7.
Session 8: Art and Sustainability
Patricia Watts, curator, writer and founder, ecoartspace
Patricia Watts is a curator and writer. She is the founder of ecoartspace, an international arts organization specializing in artists who engage the human-nature interface. She has curated over thirty exhibitions related to art and ecology, including I AM WATER (2021), Performative Ecologies (2020), Contemplating OTHER (2018), Enchantment (2016), FiberSHED (2015), Shifting Baselines (2013), MAKE:CRAFT (2010), and Hybrid Fields (2006). Watts has delivered numerous workshops and lectures related to arts and the environment, and is the author of dozens of essays for a variety of online and printed publications.
Click here to view the recording of Session 8.
Session 9: Urgent Need For Change
Sir Robert Watson, CMG, FRS, scientific advisor, scientist, and lead author of the February 2021 U.N. Report Making Peace with Nature
Robert Watson’s career has included scientific advisor in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, White House; chief scientist, World Bank; chief scientific advisor, UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; and strategic director for the Tyndall Center, University of East Anglia, UK. He has chaired, co-chaired or directed the WMO/UNEP stratospheric ozone depletion assessments, Global Biodiversity Assessment, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, UK National Ecosystem Assessment and its Follow-on, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Assessment of Agricultural Scientific and Technology for Development, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, and UNEP’s Making Peace with Nature. Awards include a Knights Bachelor (2012), Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (2003); Fellow of the Royal Society (2011), member of the American Philosophical Society (2020), honorary member of the AMS (2021), UN Champion of the World for Science and Innovation (2014), the Asahi Glass Blue Planet Prize (2010).
Session 9 – This recording will be available shortly. Please stay tuned.
Session 10: Only 2% More!
Jason Rhys Parry is Senior Content R&D at Sapienship, a global impact company co-founded by Yuval Noah Harari and Itzik Yahav.
Jason Rhys Parry is Senior Content R&D at Sapienship, a global impact company co-founded by Yuval Noah Harari and Itzik Yahav, where he helps advance solutions to humanity’s most pressing problems. Jason is also a Visiting Research Fellow at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature in Kyoto, Japan. Previously, he was a visiting assistant professor at Purdue University, where he led seminars on existential risk and wrote and directed a play for a mixed audience of human and AI spectators. He has received grants and awards from English PEN, the National Science Foundation, and the Future Architecture Platform, and published widely on environmental philosophy, sustainable design, and the geopolitics of technology.
Session 10 – This recording will be available shortly. Please stay tuned.
Session 11: Gaia’s Dance: Nature’s Guide to a Better World
Elisabet Sahtouris is an evolution biologist, futurist, author, and consultant on Living Systems Design.
Elisabet Sahtouris, Ph.D—internationally known as a dynamic speaker and media personality—is an evolution biologist, futurist, author and consultant on Living Systems Design. Dr. Sahtouris shows the relevance of biological systems to organizational design in businesses, government, and global trade. Her books include A Walk Through TIme: From Stardust to Us, Biology Revisioned, co-authored with Willis Harman, and EarthDance: Living Systems in Evolution.
Session 11 – This recording will be available shortly. Please stay tuned.
Session 12: Alternative Currencies and Solar Dollars
Thomas H. Greco, Jr., is a pre-eminent scholar, author, and educator who has been working at the cutting-edge of transformational currency restructuring.
Thomas H. Greco, Jr. has been widely regarded as a leading authority on moneyless exchange systems, community currencies, financial innovation, and community economic development. He is a sought-after speaker internationally whose expertise includes monetary theory, complementary currency and exchange systems, statistics, survey research, and computer applications. Tom has been an advisor to currency and reciprocal exchange projects around the world and has authored numerous articles and books including his highly acclaimed, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization (Chelsea Green, 2009). He continues to publish his visionary ideas about the changing economic, social, and political scene in various online journals and on his main website. He holds degrees in engineering and management, and formerly held a tenured faculty position at Rochester Institute of Technology (USA).
Session 12 – This recording will be available shortly. Please stay tuned.
Session 13: Healing the Self: The Path for Healing the Planet
Deepak Chopra is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation.
Deepak Chopra MD, MD, FACP, FRCP founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a modern-day health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is also an Honorary Fellow in Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. For the last thirty years, Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution and his 93rd book, Living in the Light (Harmony Books) taps into the ancient Indian practice of Royal Yoga and offers an illuminating program for self-realization, bliss, and wholeness. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of their top 100 most influential people.” www.deepakchopra.com
Session 13 – This recording will be available shortly. Please stay tuned.
Session 14: Gross National Happiness
Karma Tshiteem is the former Secretary of the Gross National Happiness Commission in Bhutan.
Dasho Karma Tshiteem is Chairman of the National Service Core Working Group, established to oversee the setting up of Bhutan’s National Service as a platform, in line with the vision of His Majesty the King; to help youth unleash their full potential as individuals and as citizens, and to protect and promote the interest of the country. He also serves on the Governing Board, and as faculty, in the Royal Institute of Governance and Strategic Studies; as a member of the Governing Board of The Druk Gyalpo’s Institute in Bhutan, and as Chairman of Bhutan National Bank and the Natural Resources Development Corporation. Prior to that, Dasho Karma Tshiteem served as the Chairman of the Royal Civil Service Commission until March 2019, and from 2007 to 2014, as Secretary of the Gross National Happiness Commission, the main planning agency responsible for ensuring that Bhutan’s development leads to Gross National Happiness (GNH). Outside of Bhutan, he has worked in the World Bank and represented Bhutan in the UN Open Working Group on the Post-2015 development agenda. He was also a speaker at the 2021 version of the Future Congress.
Session 14 – This recording will be available shortly. Please stay tuned.
Session 15: Energy for All, Forever
Edward I. Moses is the founder and CEO of Longview Fusion Energy Systems and former director of the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Dr. Edward Moses is a global leader in the science, technology, and application of carbon-free baseload fusion energy for applications to electricity production. He has more than four decades of experience in engineering, physics, cross-cutting technologies, and management and leadership in the design, construction, commissioning, and operations of multi-billion dollar ‘big science’ projects. As director of the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Dr. Moses pioneered the use of laser technology and forged cooperative efforts among academia, national and international laboratories, commercial companies, utility entities, and others. Dr. Moses is currently CEO of Longview Fusion Energy Systems, which he recently launched with a mission to accelerate the move to a carbon neutral economy by bringing laser fusion energy to the global grid.
Session 15 – Recording will be available shortly. Stay tuned.
Session 16: The Cosmic Connection
Brian Thomas Swimme is professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and Director of the Third Story at Human Energy, a nonprofit public benefit organization.
Brian Thomas Swimme is Director of the Third Story at Human Energy, a nonprofit public benefit organization, and professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program. Dr. Swimme did his doctoral work in gravitational dynamics in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Oregon. His newest book is Cosmogenesis, the story of his transformation from modern to noospheric consciousness. His media work includes the video series, “The Story of the Noosphere,” written with Monica DeRaspe-Bolles, and the Emmy-award winning “Journey of the Universe” film, written with Mary Evelyn Tucker. (www.storyoftheuniverse.org)
Session 16 – Upcoming Event: Wednesday, June 21, 2023 @ 6:00 p.m. EST
Producer of Exploring the Sustainability Challenge
Elizabeth Thompson, former Executive Director, the Buckminster Fuller Institute
Elizabeth Thompson is a Consulting Advisor for various nonprofit organizations. She builds and leads organizations that play an important role in exploring deep questions at the heart of contemporary culture and ideas in the context of creating a sustainable future. She is the former Executive Director of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, and the Founding Director of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge Prize program, which ran from 2007-2017 and awarded a $100,000 prize annually to visionary, whole-systems design solutions.
For more information about Exploring the Sustainability Challenge and to register for the event, click here. We hope to see you there!