Our Common Future Lecture Series

In 1987, the United Nations World Commission on Environmental Development (WCED) published "Our Common Future." The report sought to unite nations in search of a sustainable development path, and placed environmental issues firmly on the global political agenda. Led by Gro Harlem Bruntland, Norwegian prime minister and chair of WCED, the report laid the groundwork for future environmental movements, including the 1992 Earth Summit and Agenda 21.

The School of Environment, Arts and Society’s Our Common Future series brings renowned researchers, scholars, and public intellectuals to discuss the critical environmental issues facing the world today with the citizens of South Florida. In doing so, the School strives to fulfill the mission of the Bruntland Report to increase awareness and understanding in the community, and to inspire action and engagement on a local, national, and international scale. This series is supported by the generous philanthropy of the Terry Blechman as part of the Donald Blechman Memorial Lecture Series.

2019: #StayWoke: The Language and Literacies of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

Dr. Richardson's talk illuminates the language, literacies, communicative, and rhetorical practices of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The work pays attention to the communication practices of the BLM and Hip Hop generation in its extension of Black and African American language traditions and prior liberation movements in their unapologetic performance of Black chants, Black grammar, phonology, vocabulary, Black fashion and music, to die-ins, hands-up, and the technologization of the movement through social media, Black Twitter, hashtags, and memes.

Explore 2019 Lecture 

2018: Urban Resilience to Extreme Events

The 2018 Our Common Future Lecture brought to the community a very important conversation about how cities can adapt to climate change and extreme events. Dr. Nancy Grimm, co-director of the Urban Resiliency to Extremes Sustainability Research Network and Senior Sustainability Scientist at Arizona State University delivered 2018's lecture. The focus of the discussion was a new concept of infrastructure that integrates social, ecological, and technological elements and that emphasizes the infrastructure of the future must leverage ecosystem services, improve social well-being, and exploit new technologies in ways that benefit all segments of urban populations and are appropriate to the particular urban contexts.

Explore 2018 Lecture and Student Art 

2017: Speaking Science | Communicating the Climate Story

Dr. Gavin Schmidt, renowned climate scientist, discusses how new observations of past climate change allow us to begin at the beginning of the climate story, gain a better appreciation of where we are now, and where we may be headed. As a scientist, telling these stories is part of the job, yet sometimes the message gets lost in translation. In this lecture, Dr. Schmidt explores how scientists must not only share discoveries with all audiences, but help others learn, communicate, and act on this knowledge. Understanding the story will ensure Earth's climate narrative is being shaped by and for all its characters.

Explore 2017 Lecture 

2016: Conserving Large Predators in a Changing Environment

Dr. Joshua Ginsberg, a renowned leader in conservation science and President of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies shares his insights on the recovery of large species of predators and conservation patterns toward recovery that can better inform conservation efforts, and suggest a brighter outlook than one might think. Looking ahead we must consider how expanding human populations, increased urbanization, and climate change will affect the persistence of species.

2014: Alternative Energy: Invest in a Girl, Change the World

Annie Griffiths, one of the first female photographers to work for National Geographic, discusses her effort to document the aid programs that are empowering girls and women in the developing world as they deal with the devastating effects of climate change.

Explore 2014 Lecture 

2013: The Arctic in Global Perspectives

Dr. Robert Corell, a global climate scientist, discusses consequences of interactions between regions of the Northern hemisphere and the Arctic on climate change, ecosystems, human health, and development, and the potential impact on Arctic countries, and the rest of the world, including South Florida.

Explore 2013 Lecture