People and the planet 2013: Transforming the future

Meeting or Conference
RMIT Global Cities Research Institute - Climate Change Adaptation Program (RMIT CCAP); United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)
02-04 Jul 2013
Australia (Melbourne)
RMIT University

We are living through a period in human history when life on this planet is in danger of becoming unsustainable for many of its species—including us. More than a century ago, when Charles Dickens wrote the Tale of Two Cities, his words told of a deep ambivalence: ‘it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us’. The passage spoke of a new world in which the people of Paris and London had choices to make about their future. Now, variations on those words have become the backdrop to a growing sense that it is has become all too complicated.

This conference responds to that challenge in a number of ways. Firstly, instead of treating sustainability as a narrow ecological question framed by business as usual, it addresses the human condition across the integrated domains of economics, ecology, politics and culture. Secondly, the conference brings together the very different constituencies of academia, civil society, urban governance and business. It asks: What does it mean to be responsible for the future of our planet? How can we best work collaboratively across those different constituencies to address basic issues of sustainability? Thirdly, the conference asks: ‘What is to be done?’ This is not to reduce the future to technical solutions, but rather to debate how are we going to act now to work towards an imagined future.

The conference is part of a larger process of rethinking sustainability across the world. The conference is co-organized by the UN Global Compact Cities Programme, and one of the tasks will be to debate and build upon the recommendations of the Cities Track that lead into the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil in 2012. The conference is linked also to the UN Habitat ‘City Changes’ campaign. In other words, the conference is not a one-off event, but rather will be integrated into a series of ongoing meetings, forums and conferences.

All proposals relevant to the conference theme will be considered, however, preference will be given to proposals that deal with the following themes:

  • Urban Sustainability

  • Cultural Sustainability

  • Climate Change Adaptation

  • Community Sustainability

  • Globalization and Culture

  • Human Security and Disasters

  • Urban Decision-Making and Complex Systems

  • Corporate Sustainability

  • Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures

  • Global Indigeneity and Reconciliation

  • Global Ecologies and Culture

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Event fee

From $175 to $400 AUD

Related Links


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