​​Friday, 28 October 

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Facilitator: Mr S Bangani
Time:​ 13:00-13:05

Environmental education and a safe space for humanity

Presenter: Prof C Reddy, Department Curriculum Studies

Time: 13:10-13:40​

Continued global population growth, technological advancement, and subsequent burdens on the natural world from consumer demands, has led to many environmental issues and concerns.  If this continues, it could reach levels that push life on earth beyond the planetary boundaries to levels of ecological disaster.  Environmental Education (EE) is an important response to these issues and contribute to the transformation to sustainable living.  This paper will explore socio-ecological tensions that have brought human existence close to negative tipping points in various dimensions of the environment and develop ideas for education as a mitigating process that might ensure sustainable living and social justice. This is based on the work of Short (2002), related to place based collaborative knowledge production which suggests the formulation of intensification of the local with an upscaling to the global. This is integrated with Ecopedagogy, which suggests an integral ecology model calling for nature preservation as well as making changes on ecological, economic, social, and cultural structures to enable socio-ecological balance and environmental justice.

Technology, social impact, research, and our fight against climate change​​

Presenter: Prof MJ Booysen, Department Electrical & Electronics Engineering
Time:​ 13:45-14:15

Our country faces many painful challenges that are tough to solve. The quality of primary education at some of our poorest communities’ borders on being a crime against humanity. Our levels of inequality and unemployment are unmatched globally. The realities of living in a region with water scarcity and limited energy supplies confront us daily through restrictions. The threat of climate change looms large over our collective existence on the southern tip of Africa. Our transport sector, including the notoriously unsafe and inefficient minibus taxi sector, faces an unprecedented transformation to electrification, but on dirty coal-based electricity. Over the past decade I have been fortunate to be in a position where I can use my experience and skills in engineering to work on these wicked challenges. In this talk, I will share several case studies from our joint work, describing both the problems and our journey towards implemented solutions.

Ecological intensification as a pathway to sustainable agriculture in drylands

Presenter: Dr F Tshuma, Department Agronomy
Time:​ 14:20-14:50​

Continued use of synthetic agrochemicals, such as N-fertilisers, encourages their increased production and marketing by the manufacturing industries. The production and subsequent application of synthetic agrochemicals in farms contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Reducing the use of synthetic agrochemicals could be beneficial for the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving soil quality. A recent meta-analysis of data from 30 long-term experiments from Europe and Africa (comprising 25,565 yield records), showed that productivity of our staple crops could be maintained or improved through ecological intensification practices (specifically, increasing crop diversity and adding fertility crops such as legumes, and organic matter) in combination with low application of N-fertiliser. Therefore, there is a need and potential to reduce the amount of N-fertiliser used in agriculture, which can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.​

​Connectedness and reciprocity with nature: a personal tale in pursuit of well-being

Presenter: Prof KJ Esler, Department Conservation Ecology & Entomology
Time:​ 14:55-15:25​

Can nature-based solutions provide meaningful outcomes for people and nature?
This question underlies my work as a conservation ecologist with social leanings. Spotlighting the spectacular, biodiverse systems of southern Africa. This work has largely focused on measurable actions and quantitative consequences. A deeper understanding of less tangible outcomes of connectedness and reciprocity have come from a personal tale, backed by an exploration of the literature. Prof Esler will also talk about mindfulness and vegetable mandalas and draw on some broader lessons for building resilience in times of change.

Open access at SU

Facilitator: Ms M Seyffert-Wirth 
Time:​ 15:30-16:00​​

Closing, thank you & Q&A

Facilitator: Mr S Bangani

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