CEC Chair speaks at Rio+20 and biodiversity colloquium

06 May 2013 | News story

Juliane Zeidler, CEC Chair, contributed to a session on the role of science and education in nature conservation at an international colloquium in April in Brasilia.

INTERNATIONAL COLLOQUIUM ON RIO+20 AND BIODIVERSITY: ASSESSING THE FUTURE WE WANT

26 April 2013, Brasilia, Brazil

Session on Rio+20 and Biodiversity: The Role of Science and Education in Nature Conservation

Since 1992 there has been more embedding of policies and processes to support sustainable development. Brazil has made remarkable strides to protect biodiversity and address inequity. The pace of change in most of the world, though, has been too slow.

We are working against a powerful vision in the public eye – which is one of luxury living and unbridled consumption, and a mantra of economic growth.

How do we instead project and communicate a powerful and compelling vision of a future we want - based on sustaining natures ability to support all life on earth while addressing the needs of the poor?

A vision of doom does not fit with what psychology shows motivates us… nor is a vision of denial.

People are happiness seekers – so connecting with People's desire for happiness triggers positive change qualities like creativity, cooperation and openness to change. Consequently we need to appeal to these positive emotions when working on changing behaviour and engaging People in a new vision.

People are natural imitators, research in psychology tells us. People change their behaviour to blend with their environment and peers. Thus we need to play into the idea of what is normal and make visible sustainable behaviours of individuals and organizations.

How do Senators set the example of how to live so we imitate? What would it take to have all Senators encourage strong visions of a sustainable future?

People want to be good (most), and we can work with the findings from psychology about this. They want to protect innocent others, and they want to be fair to others. These moral behaviours are very powerful. So our biodiversity and sustainable development issues need to be framed as social justice.

People need to be responsible and live up to their values. We need to encourage this expectation. People need to be responsible and live up to their valuesbe they politicians, business operatives, farmers or city dwellers – here or anywhere in the world.

Stemming from psychology, consumer research, marketing, and other disciplines, there is a wealth of knowledge about the one aspect of biodiversity we worry much about – People!