On Wednesday 14th September, the ENHANCE ITN will welcome two distinguished speakers to give the public talks: President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson of Iceland, and environmentalist and oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau. To learn more about these fascinating discussions, the abstracts can be found below.
Iceland has only been inhabited by humans for roughly the last 1000 years. Since then, it has been subjected to continual attempts to “un-wild” its large swathes of untouched land. This poses a series of questions over how Iceland may be “re-wilded” in the future: namely, what are the benefits of returning the land to its pre-inhabited state? How would this affect the populations of the country, both human and non-human? Can woods be regrown, and wetlands restored? How can we minimise human impact on areas that have suffered from the development of infrastructure? In his keynote speech, President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson will be addressing these questions, and exploring the story of Iceland’s wild lands and how they have been altered by human settlers over the last millennium.
The closing keynote to the conference will be given by pioneering oceanographer and designer Jean-Michel Cousteau. Speaking on his many years of exploring and mapping the world through oceanography, Mr. Cousteau will bring to the audience’s attention the fragility of our underwater ecosystems, and will offer up his own thoughts on how humanity can protect, preserve, and celebrate life in the oceans, which depend on—as well as support—other forms of life across the rest of the planet, including, of course, human life. Drawing on his experiences and stories from his life of exploration and discovery, Mr. Cousteau will detail his forward-thinking work on environmentally responsible architecture, highlighting the necessity of a reciprocal relationship between humanity and nature in our strategies for survival.
Join us at the Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall on the University of Leeds campus on Wednesday 14th September from 5pm to witness these two celebrated environmentally-minded speakers give their thoughts on the Future of Wild Europe!