in Sustainability and the Environment
The recently set-up FEdération de Recherche en Environnement et Durabilité (FERED) (University of Strasbourg/CNRS/INSERM), with the goal to inaugurate this new research structure, launch a Call for contributions. The event will be held in Strasbourg (and if needed, also online) on 20-22 October 2021 on the topic :« Is the concept of "environmental sustainability” misleading? Mixed perspectives ». The Symposium will thus offer an excellent opportunity to question the concept of sustainability at the crossroads of our various disciplines and practices, in order to better understand and master the way it affects environmental research lato sensu.
At a time of the climate emergency, the dramatic loss of biodiversity and the awareness of the need for a transition to the "future world", the concept of "sustainability" has become a buzzword that cuts across our disciplines. Although the concept covers a very old reality, it has been universally defined and recognised, notably in the United Nations' Bruntland report "Our Common Future" (1987), as satisfying the needs of the present without affecting those of future generations. This broad definition leaves a wide margin of appreciation to those who refer to it. Above all, the use of the concept seems to have been largely circumvented to cover processes that have a detrimental impact on the environment.
Thus, the guiding thread of this event will be to assess how the concept of sustainability and the practices claiming to rely on it have evolved. We formulate the hypothesis that, because of a broad definition, it is necessary to assess how this room for manoeuvre has been exploited, and how in return the use made of it has made the concept of sustainability evolve and transform our disciplinary research. The ambition of this symposium will be to contribute to the emergence of a "new innovative sustainability science discipline" by questioning the misuse that may have been made of the concept over the last forty years, by reflecting on the means of ruling out such abuses, by rigorously drawing the contours of "environmental sustainability" and by trying to understand how it still makes sense.
International conference program - 20-22 October 2021 :
Is the concept of « environemental sustainability » misleading ?
The Symposium 2021 of the Research Initiative for Sustainability and the Environment (RISE) of the University of Strasbourg/CNRS will take place from 20-22 October. The Symposium brings together environmental and sustainability scientists from all over the world to one meeting examining the concept of environmental sustainability. The Symposium aims to question the evolution of the concept of environmental sustainability and how it affects environmental research today, at the crossroads of our disciplines and practices. The Symposium will revisit our notions and knowledge of environmental sustainability.
Priority will be given to abstract presenting innovative research renewing and offering a methodological and/or conceptual perspective. Selected contributions will be published after the Symposium as a collective (e.g., a Dictionary for Environmental Sustainability) and/or a special issue in an international journal. The deadline for abstract submission is 15 May 2021. You are kindly invited to select one of the four sessions for your abstract (see below). The Symposium organisation complies to sustainable environmental criteria.
In case any questions arise, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are looking forward to receiving your abstracts and thank you very much for your cooperation.
This session, which is intended to be introductory, aims to clarify the plural, dynamic and vague concept of "sustainability". What have been the role of temporal, geographical, cultural, social, geo-political, economic approaches in the diversity of meanings and representations given to the concept of "sustainability"?
This session enters through sustainable goods, services and processes to expand the characteristics resulting from its implementation. The proposals may cover the following topics: Agriculture/fisheries, food systems, manufacturing, construction, marketing, transportation systems, urban planning and mobility, architecture, management and rehabilitation of ecosystems…
This session questions changes in the assessment and measurement of "environmental sustainability" across scientific disciplines. What is the state of science on the observation, measurement and assessment of environmental sustainability? What are current scientific controversies, and if so, how are they overcome or circumvented? How can "ecological limits" be measured in the longer term and at which scale?
Building on experience acquired over 30 years, this session questions and foresees the evolution and potential impact of the sustainability concept. What can other concepts, such as "Planetary Boundaries", offer to develop sustainability sciences and practices? Is the transition towards a "sustainable" tomorrow desirable? What are the potential drawbacks of development focusing on sustainability?
Rémi BARBIER, Prof. ENGEES, Directeur de l’UMR GESTE
Gwenaël IMFLED, DR CNRS, Lhyges, Directeur de la FERED
Elisabeth LAMBERT, DR CNRS, SAGE, Membre du comité de pilotage de la FERED
Marie-Claire PIERRET, Géochimiste LHyGeS , Responsable de l'OHGE (Observatoire Hydro-Géochimique de l'Environnement)
Laurent SCHMITT, Professeur au LIVE, Directeur Adjoint de la FERED
Karl-Matthias WANTZEN, Professeur, Chaire UNESCO / Fleuves et Patrimoine, CNRS UMR Citeres
Biography and abstracts
"Changing our trajectory towards greater sustainability:
between scientific uncertainties and ecological emergencies"
“Is environmental sustainability at risk of becoming an empty concept? Ambiguous and confusing uses”
"Environmental sustainability: learning from biological strategies and nature-adapted cultural forms".
“Multidimensional Assessment of Sustainability for Countries and Cities"
"Critical reflexions on EU Green Deal: rethinking the concept of vulnerability to built new socio-ecological solidarities"
"About the concept of Corporate Biosphere Stewardship"
"Planetary boundaries to what and for whom ? Growth, capitalism and environmental limits today"
MISHA Conference room
(Maison Interuniversitaire des Sciences de l'Homme – Alsace)
Allée du Général Rouvillois,
Take the Tram C to your left when you leave the train station.
Leave at the "Université" station.
From the airport to the train (Entzheim)
From Entzheim to Strasbourg
From the train station to the
Take the Tram C to your left when you leave the train station.
(Please refer to the map above).
7 Rue de Zurich
► 13 minutes away
46 Rue du Bassin d'Austerlitz, Presqu'île André-Malraux
► 8 - 14 minutes away
Couvent du Franciscain
18 Rue du Faubourg-de-Pierre
► 20 - 30 minutes away
31 Rue des Serruriers 22 minutes away
► 22 minutes away
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* In case of online attendance : -50%
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