11a. Ecological civilization

Track Chairs:

Frank K Birkin. University of Sheffield. f.birkin@sheffield.ac.uk


Goals and objectives of the track


China has the ambition to develop an Ecological Civilisation.  In one sense this may appear contradictory since the ecological study of organisms in their environments typically excludes the cultures and traditions that are constitutive of civilisations. Others regard the ambition as regressive and argue that Homo sapiens' interactions with the natural environment were best developed during the long aeons of our hunter-gatherer ancestors and that civilisations make progress precisely to exclude the hardships of these interactions. So how are we to understand China's ambition?


Is it an intrinsic property of civilisations that they destroy their environments? Assessments of prior civilisations reveal that some did indeed cause extensive environmental damage.  The modern Chinese state is no exception - neither is the world at large. Our population levels, our demands for goods and services, human food chain resources, economic and business models, industrial processes and popular understandings of wealth and the good-life all impact the environment and cause significant social and ecological damage.


Sustainability researchers already study and seek remedies for such damage in its many aspects. So what is new about an Ecological Civilisation? Is it merely a Chinese label for sustainability or does it provide new opportunities, stronger focus and fresh solutions for making our world a better place? Can the world follow China's example?


This track is framed by the fundamental questions raised by an Ecological Civilisation and we welcome answers. In addition, we want to explore the depth and impacts of an Ecological Civilisation in reports on studies that clearly address at least one of the following issues: 


        i.            The values, understandings and goals that would distinguish and support an Ecological Civilisation;

      ii.            Economic systems, business models, moderating consumption, accounting and performance appraisal methods that would serve an Ecological Civilisation;

    iii.            Human habitats in an Ecological Civilisation including population issues, the roles of communities and mega-cities;

    iv.            Agriculture and food chains in an Ecological Civilisation;

       v.            Governance and policy issues relating to an Ecological Civilisation;

    vi.            The accommodation and utility of technologies such as robotics, algorithms, social media and virtual realties within an Ecological Civilisation;

  vii.            The potential translation of an Ecological Civilisation to diverse cultures and traditions worldwide paying particular attention to engaging and motivating people with regard the implementation of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals;

viii.            Art and literature's roles to explore and support an Ecological Civilisation; and

     ix.            Critiques of an Ecological Civilisation.

You may submit your abstract by visiting the Ex Ordo abstract submission system (you will be required to setup an account first): http://isdrs2019.exordo.com

Deadline for abstracts: 15 December 2018 31 January 2019