UCL ISR Seminar: Decoupling for Conservation - Sparing Nature With Technology
Wednesday, 23 September 2015 from 17:30 to 20:00 (BST)
San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Decoupling for Conservation: Sparing Nature With Technology
Linus Blomqvist, Director of Conservation, Breakthrough Institute
Wednesday 23 September 2015
5.30pm - 7.30pm
G01, Central House, 14 Upper Woburn Place, London, WC1H 0NN
Global conservation efforts focus on protected areas and in recent decades on payments for ecosystem services. While important on the local level, these approaches have proven unable to halt the loss of wildlife and natural habitats on a large scale. Instead, Linus Blomqvist will argue, what spares nature is technological change, along with urbanization and modernization.
Specifically, humans have saved nature by more efficiently using land for producing food, wood, and other goods, as well as through substitution, such as going from bushmeat to farmed meat, from wild fisheries to aquaculture, from fuelwood to modern fuels, and from organic to synthetic fertilizer.
Amidst enormous loss of biodiversity over the last century, these processes offer a glimmer of hope: many of humanity’s impacts on the environment have already flattened out or declined, and most of them have decreased rapidly on a per-capita basis. With population growth slowing down and demand for material goods saturating in developed countries, environmental impacts could peak and decline in the next few decades.
Conservation organizations, governments, and private firms can actively accelerate decoupling, but that will require an embrace of controversial technologies such as nuclear power, intensive agriculture, aquaculture, and factory farms.
Linus Blomqvist is Director of Conservation at the Breakthrough Institute, a California-based environmental research organization. Linus’s current research focuses on how technological progress is decoupling humanity’s environmental footprint from economic growth, and the implications of this process for conservation theory and practice. Linus has also reviewed the science behind the planetary boundaries hypothesis, resulting in a report published by the Breakthrough Institute as well as a scientific article in Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Furthermore, Linus was the lead author of a critical evaluation, published in PLoS Biology, of the methodology behind the Ecological Footprint.
Linus studied geography at Cambridge University, and has worked for conservation organizations in various countries, including the UK-based Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the European branch of BirdLife International. Linus’s interest in conservation and wildlife has also taken him into the field, with experiences ranging from integrated conservation and development projects in rural Ecuador to biological surveys in Mediterranean wetlands. Linus was born and raised in Sweden but has lived in Oakland, California since 2011.
When & Where
UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources
The UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources was established as an academic department in 2011. It is a cross-disciplinary institute set up to carry out research, teaching and enterprise work in the research theme of sustainable use of resources and the environment and to bring together capabilities from across UCL. In 2012 we were re-located within the Bartlett, UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment, and have developed a close relationship with UCL-Energy, with which we undertake joint projects, and share research tools and approaches.