The long-term maintenance of human wellbeing depends on the wellbeing of the world around us, which in turn depends on the responsible use of natural resources. It is now clear that human activities have a significant and sharply escalating impact on the biodiversity of world ecosystems, and there is abundant scientific evidence that humanity is living unsustainably. With the drastic increase of human population, natural ecosystems have declined and changes in the balance of natural cycles have had a negative impact on both humans and other living systems.
Sustainability in its broadest term can be applied to almost every facet of life on Earth – from the nano to macro levels, from a local to a global scale, and from minuscule chemical cycles that redistribute water, oxygen, nitrogen and carbon through the world's living and non-living systems, to the way massive global systems are operated. Returning human use of natural resources to within sustainable limits will require a major collective effort – one that is rooted in the integration of economic, technological, social and environmental concerns.
The members of this distinguished panel will discuss the fundamental question: how we can meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Panelists will address such issues as: