Mitchell Lecture on Sustainability to focus on ‘optimistic vision’ for world

Creating visions for nature and people that tackle the linked sustainability challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and human development and translating them into timely solutions is the focus of the 2019 Mitchell Lecture on Sustainability at the University of Maine.

E.J. Milner-Gulland, Tasso Leventis Professor of Biodiversity at the University of Oxford, will present “An Optimistic Vision for a Sustainable, Wild, and Socially Just World,” at 2 p.m. Oct. 8 in Hauck Auditorium, with remarks by Sen. George Mitchell.

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are required and are available online. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, call 581.3196.

Using examples from her work in conservation, Milner-Gulland will discuss how to put more effective institutions and incentives in place, so individual behavior and the decisions of companies and governments are more aligned with ecological sustainability and improving human well-being. 

While her examples will focus mostly on wildlife exploitation and rural people living in low-income tropical countries, the lessons are universal. 

Milner-Gulland’s research group undertakes a range of projects on five continents and in marine and terrestrial settings. The projects include developing and applying methods for understanding, predicting and influencing human behavior in the context of local resource use in developing countries, and working with businesses to improve their environmental and social sustainability. 

Her team also works on controlling the illegal trade in wildlife and on designing, monitoring and evaluating conservation interventions to improve their effectiveness. She aims to ensure that all the research in her group is addressing issues identified by practitioners, and is carried out collaboratively with end-users.

Launched in 2007, the Senator George J. Mitchell Lecture on Sustainability serves as a forum in which the university community, the general public, and many others can learn from and interact with some of the world’s leading thinkers about strategies for accelerating the transition to a sustainable world. Sharing the stage with these extraordinary thought leaders, Mitchell offers his insights about the importance of sustainable development, a subject he first addressed in his 1991 book, “World on Fire: Saving an Endangered Earth.”

More about the lecture is online.