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Tapping into what matters: Relational Values and Policy mixes for sustainability

March 20, 2019 @ 11:00 - 14:30


CACOR cordially invites you to a Presentation and Round Table Debate

About the session

Prof. Kai ChanThis is a presentation given by Professor Kai Chan and a workshop session run by the Values Committee.

Kai Chan is a professor at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. Kai is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented sustainability scientist, trained in ecology, policy, and ethics from Princeton and Stanford Universities. He strives to understand how social-ecological systems can be transformed to be both better and wilder. Kai leads CHANS lab (Connecting Human and Natural Systems), and is co-founder of CoSphere (a Community of Small-Planet Heroes). He is a UBC Killam Research Fellow; a Leopold Leadership Program fellow; a director on the board of the North American section of the Society for Conservation Biology; senior fellow of the Global Young Academy and of the Environmental Leadership Program; a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists; Lead Editor of the new British Ecological Society journal People and Nature; a coordinating lead author for the IPBES Global Assessment; and (in 2012) the Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Kai on Google Scholar, ResearchGate.

Tapping into what matters: Relational values and policy mixes for sustainability

Policymaking involving the environment is dominated by one kind of thinking, particularly about values—economics. (Intrinsic values are often recognized, but lack the rigorous framework of economics.) Insights from many other relevant social fields are myriad but generally inaccessible, too late coming, or in formats not conducive to incorporating into decision-making. As a result, many good environmental policies—desperately needed to meet the challenge of sustainability—abort early, have perverse effects, or lapse due to recoil and resistance from stakeholders. The concept of relational values—as preferences, principles and virtues about human relationships involving the environment—is quickly gaining traction as a crucial and previously overlooked way of understanding what matters to people and why, and what could serve as foundations for new social norms. By incorporating relational values in decision-making of all kinds as I describe, we can incorporate a wide range of important insights from diverse social sciences and humanities, making environmental policies and programs implementable and effective, avoiding many unintended negative effects and harmonizing smart policy mixes to enable a transformation in social norms towards sustainability.

Round Table Conversation: The presentation will be followed by a guided dialogue on the exploration of values on individual and collective level – what weak signals would indicate if certain value was crossing the line – either in becoming excessive or deficient.


March 20, 2019
11:00 - 14:30
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Canadian Association for the Club of Rome


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