ATREE organized the Conference on Conservation Science and Sustainable Development, during 24-25 January 2017 in Bengaluru.
The conference marked 20 years of ATREE’s work and was attended by more than 600 participants from more than 10 countries.
The themes of the conference are Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services; Water, Land and Society; Forest Governance and Livelihoods; and Climate Change and Development.
The event was inaugurated with a talk about ATREE and its history, delivered by Prof Kamaljit S Bawa, President, ATREE. Prof. Bawa reminisced how an institution that was meant to stay small and humble has now grown to address a whole range of modern-day social and environmental issues. He said “Indian scientists are uniquely placed to play a role in demonstrating how to come out of the crisis of the environment”.
Ms Rohini Nilekani, ATREE Governing Board member, praised ATREE’s unique contributions to conservation and sustainability research.
His Excellency Nils Ragnar Kamsvag, the Norwegian Ambassador to India, then released the book “Transcending Boundaries: Reflecting on Twenty Years of Action and Research at ATREE”, edited by Ankila Hiremath, Nitin Rai, and Ananda Siddhartha of ATREE.
The first key-note address, by Dame Georgina Mace, Professor, University College London, reflected on how nature could be valued in a human-dominated world. Dr Mace called for investment in natural capital to sustain the benefit streams humans derive from nature.
The second key-note address by Mr Gunter Pauli, author of the “Blue Economy”, who has sometimes been called the “Steve Jobs of Sustainability”, described innovative business models that could shape the future of water, agriculture, food and energy to ensure access for all. Through a series of case studies, including one on the tea plantations of Kaziranga, Assam and another on how diapers could be made out of charcoal and coffee gram, Mr. Pauli made a powerful case for using human ingenuity to do much better.