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Natural Capital Futures

Futures Thinking Aotearoa
26 September 2007 Forum

Wednesday, 26 September from 12.15 - 1.30pm
Large Gallery, Turnbull House, Bowen St, Wellington

Natural Capital Futures; Systems, Metrics & Leadership

Presented by Morgan Williams
*When thinking about how to craft this contribution I felt it was important to have a title that used the terminology of natural capital. It is the most fundamental 'capital' on which our society depends yet it is still largely marginalised in substantive discussions and actions aimed at advancing our well being as a nation. When we do focus on it a mitigation of effects mentality still dominances with great reluctance to even enter into a dialogue about the sorts of changes Jonathon Porritt alludes to in the following quote:

"To achieve environmental sustainability in an affluent industrial country would require a reduction in the environmental intensity of consumption by a factor of about 10 (i.e. by 90%) by about 2050"
Jonathon Porritt,
Captalism as if the World Matters, 2005

With the above as background the address will begin, to set a context, with a few simple lessons from the RMA then focus on systems and the pursuit of resilience. I will talk about metrics that matter, that is some of the key knowledge needed to navigate to a more sustainable future and then wrap up with some views on what we need to understand about leadership in the century in which sustainability will become the new universal 'language'.

Dr. J Morgan Williams has just completed a ten-year term as the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. Since leaving his post as PCE Morgan has moved into his next phase of professional life; Acting Director and reviewer of the Centre for Rural and Regional Innovation - Queensland at the University of Queensland, a board member of The Natural Step Foundation of NZ, Trustee of Leadership New Zealand and ongoing speaking engagements.

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A Cantabrian - he grew up milking cows, building things and mucking about in rivers fishing and boating. He has degrees in biology and ecology, drawing on research in Antarctica and the tropical Pacific. He has extensive experience in agricultural, environmental, pest and ecological research and policy, particularly as they relate to the sustainability of land use and information exchange in rural and agribusiness communities. He has published widely on ecological and pest management matters, contributed to several books, represented New Zealand on three Australian inter-governmental committees and undertaken many consultancies in the Pacific Islands and Australia. Most of this experience was gained during 20 years with MAF and a short period in Agriculture New Zealand - part of the Wrightson Group.

While he was commissioner Dr Williams increasingly focused the office's work on sustainability concepts at a systems level; be the system a city, our oceans, energy provision, planning legislation, dialogue in society or education and learning for sustainability. The aim has been to contribute to thinking about matters that are pivotal to New Zealand's evolution as an environmentally sustainable nation.


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