Panel 3: Challenges to the Global Society: Energy, Environment, and Resources


Jeanie Bukowski, Associate Professor of International Studies at Bradley University (Chair)

Jürgen Scheffran, Professor of Geography at the University of Hamburg Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability

  • Complex Crisis Landscapes and Climate Risk Governance: Challenges for European Stability and Transformation – The end of the Cold War was followed by disorder and transformation. Fractal and fragile crisis landscapes include the global and Greek economic crisis; the Arab Spring; wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria; the civil war in Ukraine; refugee crisis; terror attacks; nationalist movements; Brexit, and consequences of the US election. Multi-level conflicts are interrelated through global connectors such as financial markets, infrastructures and supply chains; media and social networks; communication and transportation systems; resource flows and climate change. Environmental and climate changes have become driving forces in the Anthropocene and risk multipliers that impose stress on natural resources, human security and societal stability; affect the availability of water, food, energy, health and wealth; challenge vulnerable infrastructures and networks; interfere with economic and financial crises; contribute to instability, environmental migration and violent conflict. Challenges to European stability, transformation and governance are discussed, with focus on Mediterranean and Arctic regions.

Don Wuebbles, Harry E. Preble Professor of Atmospheric Science and affiliate professor in the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Our Changing Climate: One of the Most Important Issues of the 21st Century – The science is clear that the Earth’s climate, including that of the United States, is changing, changing much more rapidly than occurs naturally, and it is happening primarily because of human activities, especially from land use change and use of fossil fuels. Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans. Documented changes include surface, atmospheric, and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; disappearing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; and rising sea level. Storms are changing in intensity, precipitation patterns are altering, and the occurrence of droughts is shifting. Humanity is already feeling the effects of the changes in extreme weather and in sea level rise. Many sectors of our society are being affected, including threats on human health and well-being. Responding to climate change is imperative, our choices are mitigation, adaptation, or suffering. We are currently doing some of all three.


Bernadette Montanari, EU Marie-Curie Fellow Visiting Scholar at the Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy (SDEP) at the Department of Geography & GIS and the International Institute of Social Sciences in the Netherlands

  • Shifting Priorities or Perpetuating The Cycle: The Case of the Excluded Rural Women of the Green Moroccan Plan – Despite major funding from the international funding agencies to address the issues of poverty, illiteracy, social exclusion and gender inequality, Morocco still struggles to integrate rural women in socio-economic development. The latest attempt is the Green Moroccan Plan (GMP) and its second pillar that seeks to integrate small traditional agriculture into a market economy. In particular, it stipulates the creation of income generating activities (IGA) through cooperative-like structures for women. While the government is advocating -through a complex top-down institutional framework-, attention to women’s integration in participation, decision-making, capacity building and autonomy at household and community level, rural women remain on the margin of development initiatives. In this paper, I seek to demonstrate that the government standardised strategies to include rural women into development do not function. A new tailored form of “initiative” based on shifting the priorities to encompass women’s social organisation, and other community socio-cultural attributes is timely.