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Open Forum: COVID-19 Can Help Wealthier Nations Prepare for a Sustainability Transition

  • 1.  Open Forum: COVID-19 Can Help Wealthier Nations Prepare for a Sustainability Transition

    Posted 03-18-2020 18:33
    Edited by Steven McGreevy 03-18-2020 21:33

    Dear Future Earth members and other colleagues,

    Most attention to date regarding COVID-19 has justifiably focused on the public health dimensions of the pandemic which have already been dire in a number of countries and are likely to become more challenging as it continues its march around the world. We extend our deepest sympathy to colleagues on the frontlines of the outbreak, to people who have suffered losses, and to everyone subjected to profound disruption.

    However, if we look a little further down the road, might there be emerging a window of opportunity to alter the trajectory of global development with respect to consumption and lifestyles, especially in relatively affluent countries?

    We invite you to join us for an open forum on how the outbreak might contribute to a sustainability transition.

    When: March 26th, Thursday, 2020





    New York

    San Francisco

    21:00 (9pm)

    20:00 (8pm)

    13:00 (1pm)

    12:00 (Noon)

    8:00 (8am)

    5:00 (5am)

    How: Zoom

    RSVP here:

    As the COVID-19 pandemic touches every aspect of modern society, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the slowdowns and shutdowns may inadvertently enable us to shape a new conception of prosperity and good livelihood. We may even come out of this unfortunate episode with renewed fortitude and commitment to work toward the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. And since we are all living through this unique moment, observing the responses by government, businesses, and ordinary people, it marks an opportune time to explore if these changes can provide leverage points for opening pathways to a sustainability transition.

    Building from the points discussed in a recent Future Earth blog post (here), we would like to jumpstart a conversation on how COVID-19 could catalyze social changes that enable us to overcome customary routines and business-as-usual patterns of activity. We will see many adjustments-some good and some less so-being implemented in coming weeks and months. What are the opportunities for "locking in" those changes that can contribute to a more prosperous and equitable future.

    Points of departure for this conversation might include: 

    -Working hours, work itself, and universal basic income

    -Downshifting mobility and virtual communication

    -Shifts in production technologies and routines (Industry 4.0)

    -Restructured supply chains and economic localization

    -A return to the fundamentals of home economics and notions of sufficiency


    Please let us know if you are interested in joining the conversation by RSVPing here:

    Hope to see you online!

    Maurie Cohen, Joseph Sarkis, Patrick Schroeder, Magnus Bengtsson, Steven McGreevy, and Paul Dewick on behalf of the Future Earth Knowledge-Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production

  • 2.  RE: Open Forum: COVID-19 Can Help Wealthier Nations Prepare for a Sustainability Transition

    Posted 03-19-2020 10:35
    well done Steven.  We need more of this

    Josh Tewksbury
    Director, Colorado Global Hub, Future Earth
    Executive Editor, Anthropocene (
    Research Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder
    Senior Scholar, School of Global Environmental Sustainability, Colorado State University

    Twitter: tewksjj
    Tel: +1 206 890 7666

  • 3.  RE: Open Forum: COVID-19 Can Help Wealthier Nations Prepare for a Sustainability Transition

    Posted 03-22-2020 17:31
    Hi Steven,
    I receive funding from Zurich Insurance, and they've started this discussion too.

    Hopefully over the next few months we can assemble a strong collective voice to influence what will no doubt be massive stimulus packages to rebuild economies. We have the opportunity to use that money well.

    Best, Karen
    Karen MacClune
    Executive Director