Unite Behind the Science
IMPACTR in conversation with Professor Katherine Richardson
Katherine Richardson, a leading scientist on sustainability and the role of biodiversity on the cycling of carbon, talked to IMPACTR about the bigger picture, the current state of science, and key areas where societies should address their actions to meet the global sustainable goals.
“For more than 30 years the science has been crystal clear” Greta Thunberg told world leaders at the UN General Assembly on Monday. So we spoke to someone who knows the science. Meet Katherine Richardson: Professor in Biological Oceanography, Head of the Sustainability Science Centre at the University of Copenhagen, recipient of numerous grants and awards, lead and co-author of countless scientific publications, wife, mother and grandmother.
It was "by chance" that Professor Richardson (and her love of tiny ocean organisms) that she ended up where she is. Early on she was one of two women invited to the committee for the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, along with Nobel Prize winner Paul Crutzen, and the first chair of the IPCC Burt Bolin. Conscious of the importance of representing a female voice in a male-dominated industry, Katherine recalls that moment being a “game-changer.”
Fast forward to today and Professor Richardson has become a vital voice in achieving the 2030 agenda. We caught up with the accomplished and celebrated Professor to discuss her involvement in defining environmental sustainability, the cause and effect of climate change on the Earth’s systems, and what you and I need to do to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come. “The Earth doesn’t have an umbilical cord, we’re not going to get more resources when we’ve used them all. Sustainable development is about learning how to use those resources as effectively as possible,” she told us, “if we continue to live like we do in (developed countries) then we would need over four Earths to supply the resources needed for that kind of a lifestyle.”
CUTTING EDGE SCIENCE and PUBLIC DEBATE
Katherine Richardson talks about the time that takes for the cutting edge scientific discoveries to get to the public debate. There is no more time to lose.
- Twenty years ago, the cutting edge in science was on climate change, but public opinion has not been aware of it until much later.
- Ten years ago, the cutting edge in science was on planetary boundaries.
- NOW, the cutting-edge science is on transformational change and systems interactions.
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