In this session the SGA Network Secretariat are joined by Prof. Kai Chan (University of British Columbia) to explore the question 'Are Cultural Ecosystem Services Key to Sustainability?' Cultural ecosystem services’ (CES), long seen as the black sheep among the major classes of ecosystem services, have been gathering great momentum as a topic of study. Yet even still, CES are frequently seen as being of secondary importance in environmental protection efforts. Prof. Chan argues that instead that CES are an essential focus for sustainability and environmental protection, both because CES are crucial contributors to human well-being and because they are key to sustainable human-ecological relationships. This webinar reviews the history of research and thinking on CES and considers what such research might imply for the management of ecosystems and of the human-ecological relationships that are key to CES and to future trajectories for humanity on Earth. In light of competing notions of weak and strong sustainability, several propositions are advanced regarding appropriate management for CES and so all ES. Overall CES can be seen as a newly recognized kind of human-natural capital, and as capital-producing: not only do positive experiences and attachment with nature yield both well-being and key capacities, they also yield the stewardship attitudes and identities that may be fundamental to local and global sustainability.
Kai Chan is an associate professor and Canada Research Chair (tier 2) at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. Kai is an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented sustainability scientist, trained in ecology, policy, and ethics from Princeton and Stanford Universities. He strives to understand how social-ecological systems can be transformed to be both better and wilder. Kai leads CHAN’S lab (chanslab.ires.ubc.ca), Connecting Human and Natural Systems; he is a Leopold Leadership Program fellow, a director on the board of the BC chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), a member of the Global Young Academy, a senior fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program, and (in 2012) the Fulbright Canada Visiting Research Chair at the University of California, Santa Barbara.