Join the Environmental-Humanitarian Nexus e-discussion!

Posted on Posted in by Basilio Monteiro

The Institute for International Communication at St. John’s University, The United Nations Environment Group, and the Give Me 5 Campaign would like to extend a very warm invitation to the Give Me 5 Community and all of you who decidedly work for the betterment of people and planet, to the third e-discussion by the UN Environment Management Group – Nexus Dialogue Series:

“The Environmental-Humanitarian Nexus” NOW till October 17th 2017.

The puzzle of sustainable development cannot be solved by solely concentrating on the pieces. It has to be seen as a whole and not only as a series of isolated issues and problems. For these dialogues, a “nexus” approach is the one that focuses on overlaps across sectors while respecting sectoral expertise in order to make better plans by understanding interactions. This e-discussion seeks successful examples and lessons learned from this methodology.

A message from Prof. Basilio Monteiro, e-discussion moderator:

My dear friends worldwide,

We find ourselves at a crossroad of an existential threat: will we be swallowed by the spree of hurricanes, earthquakes, erupting volcanoes, and what not…? The above three questions invite you to think what could be our adequate response.

I would like to expand this conversation beyond the confines of the UN agencies, and invite the global community to consider and engage how we, as global citizens,  could be participants in addressing this impending catastrophe.

While we are thinking about how to respond to the inevitable crisis, how could the global community could mitigate the many causes of the environmental and humanitarian disasters. The below statement is to provoke you to help to think and act.

The Impending Humanitarian Catastrophe

Exponential environmental degradation compounded by Climate Change is paving the way to unmanageable humanitarian catastrophes. There is no ‘magic-bullet-solution’, but this impending situation calls for a well-coordinated multi-pronged action. I would like to shift the focus of this dialogue away from “relief and recovery” to the development of public policy and harnessing effective communication processes, so that the public at large may contribute to this dialogue. The nexus Environment-Humanitarian Nexus is a space where we can all contribute and this e-discussion looks to open a space for diverse participants to share their thoughts and solutions to improve the state of our environment and effectively address humanitarian catastrophes.

Communicating with the public:

Understanding environmental damage and climate change requires consequential thinking as effects are experienced over a period of time and across the globe. Are the prevailing communication practices suitable to communicate environmental degradation and climate change as drivers of disaster and conflict?

Communicating with the government / corporate leaders/stakeholders

Current business and operational models of the industry tend to accelerate environmental degradation and climate change. Profit maximization is often-times the only driver of industry and infra-structure which seek only short-term value for stockholders. It is in industry and business best interest to operate sustainably in order to achieve long-term profitability. Furthermore, it is also good business to consider every stakeholder when providing a good or service. The few disrupters of industries are paving the way; but, they are few and far in between. Various countries are enabling change through national/regional public policy. However, their footprint on global scale is still minimal. How can member states incentivize sustainable business and industry in a globalized world?

Scientists as activists in the communication process.

Scientists usually remain ensconced in the ‘ivory tower’ of academia, and use that distance to gain impartiality and credibility. In general, scientific language is cloaked with obtuse vocabulary that only goes well with the scientific community. Given the urgency of environmental degradation, climate change, increasing natural disasters, and conflict, scientists and policy-makers must find a way to speak in the language of the public.

How can scientists and policy-makers better engage in direct communication with the public through the general media of mass communication?

Make sure you JOIN the space and SHARE about your work!