Join MASS---Ramapo's Masters in Sustainability Studies---for the
sixth program in our spring 2013 series "Creating a Sustainable
World: Voices of Key Practitioners II."
April 11,[masked]:30 P.M. Alumni Lounge
Ecological Stewardship: Empowering Communities to Protect the
Back by Popular Demand: Michael W. Klemens, Ph.D.
Renowned Conservation Biologist Michael Klemens has long pioneered
methods for mutual learning between communities and scientists to
promote Ecological Stewardship. Recognizing that stewardship is the
outcome of a process of social learning, Klemens, longtime Senior
Conservationist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, built a
transformational approach based on collaboration between ecologists
and community decision makers and citizens. The mutually desired
outcome is the ability to protect and build resilient ecosystems
adaptive to human stressors.
Free and open to the public.
Visitors will need a parking pass from the security booth at the
Professor Michael R. Edelstein, Ph.D.
Conservation biologist and community advocate, Michael W. Klemens,
has been a pioneer in developing models of mutual learning between
communities and scientists. These models integrate local (i.e.,
indigenous) knowledge with expert investigation, thereby empowering
informed communities to become both good stewards of their natural
capital and advocates for a more sustainable future. His approach
creates a foundation for action, focusing on improved ecosystem
resilience to adapt to the ever-changing conditions accelerated by
poorly- designed development and climate change, often abetted by
governmental inertia. He states that “in order to improve our
ability to be resilient, we must learn how to make our development
footprint lighter and to place development in a manner that respects
the natural infrastructure that each community is blessed with. The
challenge is to inform and motivate the community to become engaged
stewards of the commons, and to discard notions of oppositional
thinking that one must choose between human progress and healthy
ecosystems.” Most urgently, it is a process of social learning that
informs and improves the quality of local decision-making confronted
with continued pressure for ill-informed patterns of development,
colloquially referred to as sprawl.
Michael W. Klemens earned a doctorate in conservation biology and
ecology at the University of Kent UK, has worked as Senior
Conservationist with the Wildlife Conservation Society and is on the
scientific staff of the American Museum of Natural History. Thirty
years of research have taken Dr. Klemens from the theoretical study
of the distribution of amphibians and reptiles to the realization
that the only hope for sustaining these species and other forms of
biological diversity is to bridge the chasm between conservation
science theory and land use planning practice. He founded the
Metropolitan Conservation Alliance (MCA) as a vehicle to translate
biological data and conservation concepts into planning tools for
local and regional application, empowering communities to develop
more sustainable patterns of growth. Advocating strongly that
scientists are ethically responsible to actively engage in
community-based learning efforts to achieve these goals, he has
chaired local planning commissions in New York and Connecticut.
MCA's work in the NY-NJ-CT Tri-State Region created collaborations
between diverse stakeholders, joined by a common goal to chart a
more secure and ecologically robust future. Klemens’ books include
the co-edited volume Nature in Fragments: The Legacy of Sprawl
(Columbia University Press).
Vasishth [address removed] (201)[masked]
Associate Professor, Environmental Planning
Director, Master of Arts in Sustainability Studies