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

Panelists at this event discussed ten academic contributions developed in support of Stockholm+50.

- Europe/Stockholm

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.

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

A recording of this event can be accessed here.

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.


Nanjala Nyabola

Writer and researcher based in Nairobi and Member of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism

Margaux L’Herbette

Global Governance Fellow
United Nations University Centre for Policy Research (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

Dr Pushpam Kumar

Chief Economist
UN Environment Programme

Elizabeth Sellwood

Chief, Environment and Security Unit
UN Environment Programme

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
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
The Autonomous University of Barcelona

Dr Iyad Abumoghli

Founder and Director
The Faith for Earth Initiative

Professor Adam Frank

Helen F. and Fred H. Gowen Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy
The University of Rochester

Janani Vivekananda

Head of Programme Climate Diplomacy and Security

Professor Krushil Watene

Associate Professor of Philosophy at Massey University in Aotearoa New Zealand

Professor Workineh Kelbessa

Professor of Philosophy
Addis Ababa University

Professor Maritza Paredes

Associate Professor in Social Sciences and Director of the Ph.D. Program in Sociology
The Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú