AAAS Day 4: SUSTAINABILITY OF SCIENCE & RATIONALES FOR RESEARCH

BY JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre member AAAS Day 4: Sunday 18 Feb 2007   This was another largely US-focused event, which nevertheless raised some intriguing issues about the how the rationales for scientific research on sustainability are defined and who sets the agenda. In the US, two pillars sustain bipartisan political support for science: national…

AAAS Day 4: WATER – FROM LOCAL TO GLOBAL

BY JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre memberAAAS Day 4: Sunday 18 Feb 2007 I was attracted to this symposium by its title, as it links two key areas of our STEPS work – the governance theme with the water domain. It didn’t quite live up to my expectations, however, as the focus was mainly on Northern…

AAAS DAY 3: IN PURSUIT OF SUSTAINABLE SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS

BY JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre member AAAS Day 3: Saturday 17 Feb 2007 Another interesting topical lecture was given by Elinor Ostrom (pictured left) Co-Director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity at Arizona State University on “Sustainable…

AAAS DAY 3: AN EMERGING SCIENCE OF SUSTAINABILITY

BY JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre member AAAS Day 3: Saturday 17 Feb 2007 Today is the day I have been waiting for at AAAS, as there are a series of symposia and topical lectures on the theme of ‘Science and Policy of Sustainability’, all of which relate to one degree or another to ‘Sustainability Science’….

AAAS DAY 2: NEXT YEAR’S THEME

BY JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre member AAAS Day 2: Friday 16 Feb 2007   The AAAS clearly sees itself as a global organisation, despite maintaining the ‘American’ bit it its title. To build on this year’s meeting theme of ‘Science and Technology for Sustainable Well-Being’ and reinforce its international credentials, the AAAS announced that the…

AAAS DAY 2: NEW UNIT OF MEASURE – “THE RUMSFELD”

BY JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre memberAAAS Day 2: Friday 16 Feb 2007 In a wide-ranging lecture on “The Intersection of Burgeoning Human Populations and Natural Hazards, Caltech geologist Kerry Sieh introduced a new unit of measure today during a widely talked-about speech on earthquake preparedness. He explained that 1 “rumsfeld” (in honour of former US…

AAAS DAY 2: IMPROVING WATER MANAGEMENT IN AGRICULTURE

BY JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre memberAAAS Day 2: Friday 16 Feb 2007 Another interesting session looked at the challenge of producing more food with less water by improving water use efficiencies in a variety of ways. While the focus of most of the presentations was US irrigation systems and technologies, the issues they raised are…

AAAS DAY 2: BIOENERGY TO THE RESCUE?

BY JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre memberAAAS Day 2: Friday 16 Feb 2007 Renewable energy from biomass is all the rage these days, with policy makers from Brazil to the US diverting huge sums of money into R&D in a race to develop new biofuels to reduce their country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels and generate…

AAAS DAY 2: SO MANY SESSIONS, SO LITTLE TIME

BY JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre member AAAS Day 2: Friday 16 Feb 2007 The challenge at a conference of the size and scope of this year’s AAAS annual meeting is managing to attend the diverse array of fascinating symposia and lectures on offer, particularly when many of the most interesting ones are scheduled in parallel….

AAAS DAY 1: HOLDREN & THE 10% ‘TITHE’

BY JOHN THOMPSON, STEPS Centre memberAAAS Day 1: Thursday 15 Feb 2007 AAAS President John P. Holdren (pictured right) used his presidential address to urge swift action to build a sustainable future. Challenges such as poverty, climate change and nuclear proliferation pose global risks that require scientists and engineers to join with political and business…