Jonathan J. Halperin
Jonathan J. Halperin
Designing Our Future
Strategy. Partnership. Communication.

Mining the Planet

I’ve had occasion to have some in-depth conversation with Achim Steiner, head of the United Nations Environment Programme. In the following clip below we discuss the unique role of humans play in both degrading and repairing the natural environment. And as part of that we review the conundrum of humans both as a species within that natural environment, and as the only species that can act on that environment in potentially catastrophic ways.

As I suggest to him, we are at a unique moment of species responsibility as we have a triad of technical capacity unknown to earlier generations:

  • geographic information systems that let us see and analyze data in place;
  • knowledge management tools and techniques that enable us to handle massive quantities of data; and
  • a deepening understanding of resource and environmental economics that help us see market failure and the richer value of fully functioning ecosystems.

As Achim explains, we can and must do so much better than “simply mining the planet.”



(For more video of Jonathan Halperin presenting and interviewing on the theme of ecosystem restoration, see Hope in a Changing Climate.)

Jonathan makes connections that other people miss. Beyond an understanding of any single environmental issue or energy challenge, he knows how to use knowledge to drive change, how to bring the right players to the table, and how to reframe seemingly intractable problems to create space for new approaches. He’s a strategic thinker with a very clear sense of how things work.

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