Making positive changes for the future of our planet at Sustainable Earth 2018

The global challenges posed by climate change, natural disasters and human impacts on the environment will be among the key topics discussed at Sustainable Earth 2018.

The annual conference, held at the University of Plymouth, will see international experts debating some of the greatest threats to the future of the planet.

There will be presentations from world-leading researchers at the University on topics including plastic pollution, coastal change, soil erosion and human displacement.

And there will be a series of workshops and poster sessions about research and initiatives ranging from changing the laws on ivory to manufactured soil, pulmonary rehabilitation in Kyrgyzstan to geothermal projects in Cornwall.

The conference, themed around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, is organised by the Sustainable Earth Institute and will take place on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 June.

Five keynote addresses will be delivered during the two days by:

  • Baroness Bryony Worthington, Executive Director, Environmental Defence Fund Europe;
  • Dr Christopher Shaw, Senior Researcher, Climate Outreach;
  • Dr Mike Maunder, Director of Life Sciences, The Eden Project;
  • Dr Vanessa Lawrence CB, senior adviser to governments, and Non-Executive Director of the Satellite Applications Catapult;
  • Professor Virginia Murray, Consultant in Global Disaster Risk Reduction, Public Health England and Vice Chair, UNISDR Scientific and Technical Advisory Group.

Professor Iain Stewart MBE, Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute will also give the inaugural Sterling Lecture, launching the University’s new UNESCO Chair in Geoscience and Society.

It is a global initiative aimed at enhancing awareness of the role geoscience can play in addressing some of society’s greatest challenges.

Professor Stewart said:

“The immediate and long-term challenges facing our planet mean that science and society need to be aligned more closely than ever before. The knowledge and expertise that will enable us to live more sustainably does exist but there needs to be a joining of forces in order to put that into practice and policies.

“Sustainable Earth 2018 offers us an opportunity to do that, drawing together leaders from the fields of science and industry, policy and community to discuss the positive changes we can make now and in the future. It is also a chance to showcase the outstanding research taking place at the University, and how it is transforming lives at home and abroad.”

Programme: Day 1

  • Thursday 28 June 2018
  • Rolle Marquee, University of Plymouth

13:15 Registration, networking and coffee

13:45 Conference welcome and introduction

14:00 Keynote 1: Baroness Bryony Worthington

14:45 University of Plymouth speaker: Professor Richard Thompson - Plastics and the environment

15:15 Tea and coffee

15:30 Marketplace session 1

16:15 University of Plymouth speaker: Professor Will Blake - Soil erosion in East Africa

16:45 Keynote 2: Dr Mike Maunder - Regenerative Futures: New conservation opportunities in the Anthropocene

17:30 Close of conference

The Sterling Lecture 

Selling Planet Earth: Translating geo-science into global action

Speaker: Professor Iain Stewart - UNESCO Chair in Geoscience and Society

18:30 Arrival and registration

19:00 Public lecture

20:30 End of lecture

Programme: Day 2

  • Friday 29 June 2018
  • Rolle Marquee, University of Plymouth

8:30 Registration, networking and coffee

8:55 Welcome back

9:00 Keynote 3: Dr Vanessa Lawrence CB - The Measuring and Monitoring of Sustainable Life: the role of geospatial information today and into the future

9:45 University of Plymouth speaker: Dr Sana Murrani - Displacement and Emplacement of Spatial Heritage

10:15 Tea and coffee

10:30 Marketplace session 2

11:15 Marketplace session 3

12:00 Lunch with poster session

13:00 Keynote 4: Professor Virginia Murray

13:45 University of Plymouth speaker: Professor Gerd Masselink - Extreme storms and recovery: the importance of monitoring for sustainable coastal zone management

14:15 Tea, coffee and biscuits

14:30 Marketplace session 4

15:15 Keynote 5: Dr Christopher Shaw - Communicating climate change

16:00 Closing remarks

16:30 End of conference

Sustainable Earth Institute

The Sustainable Earth Institute is about promoting a new way of thinking about the future of our world.

We bring researchers together with businesses, community groups and individuals to develop cutting-edge research and innovative approaches that build resilience to global challenges. We link diverse research areas across the University including science, engineering, arts, humanities, health and business.

Find out more about our Institute.