Science, Technology, and the Sustainability Challenge

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John Holdren is Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy and Director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, as well as President and Director of the Woods Hole Research Center. He is also Professor of Environmental Science and Policy in Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the immediate past President and current Chair of the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (the largest general science society in the world). His work has focused on causes and consequences of global environmental change, sustainable development, energy technology and policy, nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, and science and technology policy.

"The sustainability challenge is about how to improve the well-being of all of the world's people – taking into account well-being's environmental and sociopolitical as well as economic dimensions – in ways and to end points attentive to the interactions of those dimensions and consistent with maintaining the improvements indefinitely," Holdren writes. "Enhancing the helpful applications and influences of science and technology to this end while avoiding or reducing the harmful ones will be essential (even though not sufficient) for meeting the challenge." His talk will explore three "particularly demanding facets of the relation of science and technology to sustainability, namely: meeting the basic needs of the poor; managing the intensifying competition for the land, water, and net primary productivity of terrestrial ecosystems; and mastering the energy-economy-environment dilemma."


John Holdren

President's Lecture Series

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