Reimagining the Human-Environment Relationship: A Stockholm+50 Associated Event

  • DATE / TIME:
    2022•06•02    13:00 - 15:00

    Stockholm+50 is a commemoration and a time for reflection on the interconnectedness of humans and the environment. UNU-CPR and the UN Environment Programme, supported by IDRC, have led a collaborative effort to capture, interrogate, and elevate alternative paradigms of the human/nature relationship, by inviting a diverse community of thinkers and voices to supply evidence and shape viewpoints in this important global conversation.

    The sources of alternative paradigms are both extraordinarily diverse and still unfamiliar to most. Widely differing religious practices offer a range of environmental ethics that could underpin a shift in how the human-nature relationship is conceptualized. Forms of traditional ecological knowledge and indigenous knowledge propose sophisticated and deeply symbiotic frameworks that can also broaden understandings through key ideas such as reciprocity and intergenerational fairness. Paradigm shifts may also come from innovations in more traditional domains. Legal scholars and someStates are exploring how the environment and the interests of future generations might be given a legal personality, alongside contemporary humans. Biology and ecosystems research offer non-anthropocentric models for sustainable coexistence, while astrophysics can shift the starting point for many of these conversations, moving beyond the human-environment binary as we identify potentially infinite forms of life.

    At a 2 June Stockholm+50 Associated Event, a distinguished panel of experts reflected on ten academic contributions developed in support of Stockholm+50, linking the key ideas advanced by the authors with the global policy challenges and processes that feature prominently on global environmental agendas. The project authors offered responses and reflections, elaborating their proposals and the connections drawn to policy.

    Framing Remarks

    • Dr David Passarelli, Executive Director, UNU-CPR
    • Nanjala Nyabola, Writer and researcher based in Nairobi and Member of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism

    From Reimagination to Action: Building on Alternative Approaches to Shape New Policy Directions

    Moderator: Margaux L’Herbette, UNU-CPR

    • Daniel Perell, Representative of the Bahá’í International Community to the UN
    • Poonam Ghimire, Climate activist & Next Generation Fellow (2021) with the United Nations Foundation, and Member of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism
    • Jasmina Byrne, Chief of Foresight and Policy, UNICEF
    • Dr Pushpam Kumar, Chief Economist, UN Environment Programme
    • Elizabeth Sellwood, Chief, Environment and Security Unit, UN Environment Programme
    • Dr Adam Day, Head of Office, UNU-CPR Geneva

    Author Responses

    • Professor Louis Kotzé, Research Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law, North-West University, South Africa
    • Professor Elena Bennett Canada Research Chair in Sustainability Science at McGill University
    • Professor Belinda Reyers, Professor of Sustainability Science at the University of Pretoria, South Africa and Senior Advisor at the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, Sweden.
    • Professor Jason Hickel, Institute for Environmental Science and Technology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.
    • Dr Iyad Abumoghli, Founder and Director of the Faith for Earth Initiative
    • Professor Adam Frank, Helen F. and Fred H. Gowen Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Rochester
    • Janani Vivekananda, Head of Programme Climate Diplomacy and Security at adelphi
    • Professor Krushil Watene, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Massey University in Aotearoa New Zealand
    • Professor Workineh Kelbessa, Professor of Philosophy at Addis Ababa University
    • Professor Maritza Paredes, Associate Professor in Social Sciences and Director of the Ph.D. Program in Sociology at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
    • Dr David Passarelli & Dr Adam Day

    The background papers are now available here. Read more about the project on the Stockholm+50 website.


    This project is supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), however, the views expressed do not necessarily represent IDRC or its Board of Governors.