Conference 2023

Imagine you are in 2060. The planet is a completely different place compared to the past, the 2020s. What began as a need for change in the ‘transition twenties’ became a deep transformation, both of nature and of society. Climate change has changed the face of the earth, in some places we now live with water, not against it. In other places we now see the social impact of the disruption of the ‘water towers’ of the world. Equilibrium, is now a word for history class. Sustainability (to use that concept of the past!) is now at the heart of our politics. Ecocide is an established crime. What were they thinking in the past when a good life was based on consumption? While prediction is difficult, particularly when it is about the future, there is no doubt that the 21st century will down in history textbooks as the Century of Ecology.

The Pathways to Sustainability Conference 2023 took place on 4 April 2023. We offer you inspirational speakers, reflecting on this year's theme See the future from various perspectives.

9.30 - 12.30 Plenary morning programme

In the morning we will take you on a journey to the future with inspirational performances and speakers.

© Majanka Fotografie

Nynke Laverman is rapidly rising in popularity as a singer, songwriter, spoken word artist and explorer. In her latest album Plant, which she made together with musician Sytze Pruiksma, she explores the derailed relationship between Man and Nature. The album Plant was accompanied by a podcast series with all sorts of experts, which can be found on the Spotify platform.

Dr Lewis Akenji is managing director of the Hot or Cool Institute, a Berlin based public interest think tank that explores the intersection between society and sustainability. It brings together researchers and practitioners to facilitate solutions to global problems. Lewis has consulted with organizations including United Nations agencies, the Asian and African Development Banks, the European Commission, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and has served as technical or science-policy adviser to several national government delegations.

Dr Fatima Denton is director of the Institute for Natural Resources in Africa of the United Nations University in Accra, Ghana, which she joined in 2018. She is the holder of the Prince Claus Chair in Equity and Development of Utrecht University since 2022. She has worked with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, where she co-ordinated the African Climate Policy Center. In her work, she has straddled research and policy. Recently she was a co-ordinating Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on Climate Change and Land. 

The Conference Moderator is Dr Vanessa Timmer. She is the Executive Director of OneEarth Living, a Canada-based nonprofit ‘think and do tank’ advancing sustainable everyday living around the world. Vanessa is also a Senior Research Fellow at Utrecht University with Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, the Urban Futures Studio, and Pathways to Sustainability.

Reflections on the pathways to 2060

We look back from 2060: how did we get where we are? What explains the incredible socio-ecological transformation? With Prof Beatrice de Graaf, Prof Harriet Bulkeley and Dr Eline Hutter.

Once we are back in 2023, the speakers and panelists of the conference, together with the curator of the morning, Pathways to Sustainability Scientific Director Maarten Hajer, will reflect on the ‘2060’ experiment and how alternative ways of working could help us accelerate the transition to a sustainable future for all.

Pathways to Sustainability Award

Henk Kummeling onderaan trap

During the day, voting will take place for the third Pathways to Sustainability Award. This award was launched to recognize research projects that combine the strength of Utrecht University's research with the agendas of external stakeholders, for the benefit of a sustainable future for all. A jury will select the three best projects out of the submitted nominations. You, as a conference participant, can then vote for your favorite project. Rector Magnificus Henk Kummeling will present the award to the winner.

12.30 - 14.00 Lunch

Over lunch, there is ample opportunity to talk to people and we offer you a variety of projects and initiatives that you can visit.

14.00 - Breakout sessions

In the afternoon we will break out into various sessions, to explore how we can become more impactful, in the university and in society at large. You can actively participate in one of the breakout sessions.

16.30 - Plenary wrap up and drinks

We will end the day together. Inspired, with lots of ideas to think about, we will part around 17:30.

Pathways to Sustainability Conference

Date: Tuesday 4 April 2023, 9:30 - 17:30
Venue: TivoliVredenburg Utrecht
Admission: The conference is fully booked