Geography 2050:

Envisioning A Sustainable Planet

November 17 & 18, 2016
Columbia University, New York, NY

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Envisioning A Sustainable Planet


In 2015, we explored our future in an urbanized world. By all indications, the future sees population increasing and densifying within urban areas, and growth halting elsewhere. Whether we face a future where technologies increasingly reduce cities’ dependence on the hinterlands for food, water and energy, or whether we face a future where the ecological stress on the hinterlands continues to grow, we are faced with hard choices about the places and resources that we want to preserve as a global society. At the same time, climate change will impact species distribution, abundance, and ecological interactions across the globe. As such, in 2016, the American Geographical Society is poised to convene its annual Symposium to collaboratively and constructively map the future geography of conservation and sustainability.

 

While previous years symposia have been focused on anticipating the vital trends that will reshape the geography of the planet by 2050, this year’s symposium seeks to bring the best minds together to map and shape a future where our ecosystems and vital resources are conserved and sustainably managed for the betterment of humankind and the Earth.

 

2016 Symposium Program Committee

Dr. Christopher Tucker (Chair), Founder, The MapStory Foundation
Dr. Joshua Campbell, Founder and CEO, Sand Hill Geographic
Dr. Robert Chen, Director, CIESIN at Columbia University
Ms. Faye Cuevas, Chief of Staff, International Fund for Animal Welfare
Dr. David Kaplan, Professor of Geography, Kent State University
Mr. Al Di Leonardo, President & CEO, HumanGeo
Mr. Keith Masback, CEO, United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation
Mr. Jared Novick, CEO, BitVoyant

Dr. Deborah Popper, Professor of Geography, City University of New York
Dr. Marie Price, Professor of Geography, George Washington University
Mr. Anthony “Tony” Quartararo, President & CEO, Spatial Networks Inc.
Dr. Wesley Reisser, Senior Foreign Affairs Officer, Office of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Dr. Lee Schwartz, The Geographer, U.S. Department of State
Dr. Douglas Sherman, Professor of Geography, University of Alabama
Mr. Dean Wise, Vice President of Network Strategy, BNSF Railway



The American Geographical Society is grateful to the following organizations who are working with us, and supporting our efforts, to envision a sustainable planet. 

speakers

Speakers

Mr. Yance Arizona
Executive Director, Epistema Institute
Ms. Anika Ballent
Education Coordinator, Algalita Marine Research and Education
Dr. Lisa Benton-Short
Senior Fellow, The George Washington University Sustainability Collaborative
Dr. Denise Breitburg
Senior Scientist, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Mr. Robert Cardillo
Director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)
Dr. Robert Chen
Director, Center for International Earth Science Information Network
Dr. Craig Colten
Carl O. Sauer Professor, Louisiana State University
Mr. Chip Cunliffe
Director of Environmental Science Programs and Education, XL Catlin
Dr. Myrna Cunningham
Past Chair, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Miskitu from Nicaragua
Dr. Serge Dedina
Mayor, Imperial Beach
Ms. Elizabeth Goldman
GIS Research Associate, Global Forest Watch
Ms. Susan Gordon
Deputy Director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Dr. Meredith Gore
Jefferson Science Fellow, US Department of State
Prof. Peter Herlihy
Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Science, University of Kansas
Dr. Gary Machlis
Science Advisor, National Park Service
Dr. Michael Mann
Assistant Professor of Geography, The George Washington University
Prof. Brent McCusker
Associate Chair of Geography, University of West Virginia
Dr. Robert McDonald
Lead Scientist for Global Cities, The Nature Conservancy
Dr. Vince McElhinny
Senior Director of Social Policy and Practice Department, Conservation International
Dr. Alexander Murphy
Rippey Chair in Liberal Arts & Sciences, University of Oregon
Dr. Ryan Orgera
Lecturer of Geography, The George Washington University
Prof. Deborah Popper
Professor, College of Staten Island & Princeton University
Dr. Marie Price
President, American Geographical Society
Mr. William Reilly
Former Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency
Dr. Wesley Reisser
Senior Foreign Affairs Officer, US Department of State
Ms. Breece Robertson
National GIS Director, The Trust for Public Land
Dr. Roger Sayre
Senior Scientist, US Geological Survey
Dr. Lee Schwartz
Geographer of the United States, US Department of State
Dr. Walter Scott
Founder, DigitalGlobe
Dr. Philip Sharp
Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
Ms. Cela Sinay-Bernie
Managing Director, Altus Power America
Prof. Michael K. Steinberg
Associate Professor, New College & University of Alabama
Dr. Christopher Tucker
Chair, American Geographical Society
Dr. Juha Uitto
Director, Independent Evaluation Office of the Global Environment Facility
Ms. Jessica Webb
Civil Society Specialist, Global Forest Watch
program-three

Program

All sessions and registration will take place in Alfred Lerner Hall, 2920 Broadway, New York, NY 10027
Closing Reception on November 18th will be held at Low Memorial Library.

 

Thursday, November 17th

12:30 – 1:00
Registration
1:00 – 1:15
Welcome

Dr. John Konarski III, Chief Executive Officer, American Geographical Society

Dr. Marie Price, President, American Geographical Society

1:15 – 1:45
Keynote Address: “Mapping Global Ecosystems – An Ecosystems Geography Approach”

Dr. Roger Sayre, Senior Scientist, The U.S. Geological Survey

1:45 – 2:00
Introduction

Dr. Christopher Tucker, Chair, American Geographical Society
Dr. Lee Schwartz, Geographer of the United States, The U.S. Department of State

2:00 – 3:15
Plenary Session: “Living Oceans for the Blue Planet”

Moderator
Mr. Chip Cunliffe, Director of Environmental Science Programs and Education, XL Catlin
Speakers
Ms. Anika Ballent, Education Coordinator, Algalita Marine Research and Education
Dr. Denise Breitburg, Senior Scientist, The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Dr. Serge Dedina, Mayor, Imperial Beach, California

3:15 – 4:30
Plenary Session: “Iconic Species: Sharks, Birds, Elephants and Buffalo”

Moderator
Dr. Deborah Popper, Professor, College of Staten Island and Princeton University
Speakers
Dr. Meredith Gore, Jefferson Science Fellow, U.S. Department of State
Dr. Ryan Orgera, Lecturer of Geography, The George Washington University
Prof. Michael Steinberg, Associate Professor, University of Alabama

4:30 – 5:00
Special Plenary Session: “Remote Sensing And the Impact on Sustainability”

Dr. Walter Scott, Founder, DigitalGlobe

5:00 – 6:00
Welcome Reception

Friday, November 18th

7:30 – 8:15
Registration and Breakfast
8:15 – 8:45
Special Plenary Session: “The Near-Horizon Future of Conservation and the National Parks”

Dr. Gary Machlis Science Advisor to the Director, National Park Service

8:45 – 9:45
Plenary Session: “Protection, Management, and Restoration of Future Forests”

Moderator
Dr. Juha Uitto, Director, The Independent Evaluation Office of The Global Environment Facility
Speakers
Ms. Elizabeth Goldman, GIS Research Associate, The Global Forest Watch
Dr. Michael Mann, Assistant Professor of Geography, The George Washington University
Ms. Jessica Webb, Civil Society Specialist, The Global Forest Watch

9:45 – 10:45
Plenary Session: “Conservation and Indigenous Peoples”

Moderator
Dr. Vince McElhinny, Senior Director of Social Policy and Practice Department, Conservation International
Speakers
Mr. Yance Arizona, Executive Director, Epistema Institute
Dr. Myrna Cunningham, Past Chair, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Dr. Peter Herlihy, Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Science, University of Kansas

10:45 – 11:15
Break and Caucus
11:15 – 12:00
Plenary Session: “How Geospatial Technology Can Enhance Sustainability and Security”

Moderator
Dr. Alexander Murphy, Professor of Geography, University of Oregon
Speakers
Mr. Robert Cardillo, Director, The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency
Ms. Susan Gordon, Deputy Director, The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency

12:00 – 12:30
The AGS Honors and Awards Ceremony
12:30 – 1:30
Lunch
1:30 – 2:00
Keynote Address: “Success in Sustainability in 2050”

Mr. William Reilly, Former Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency

2:00 – 2:45
Plenary Session: “What if People Mattered?”

Moderator
Dr. Robert Chen, Director, Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University
Speakers
Dr. Gary Machlis,Science Advisor to the Director, National Park Service
Prof. Brent McCusker, Associate Chair of Geography, University of West Virginia

2:45 – 3:15
Break and Caucus
3:15 – 4:00
Plenary Session: “Powering Our Future”

Moderator
Dr. Wesley Reisser, Senior Foreign Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of State
Speakers
Dr. Philip Sharp, Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
Ms. Cela Sinay-Bernie, Managing Director, Altus Power America

4:00 – 4:45
Plenary Session: “Making Cities Sustainable”

Moderator
Dr. Lisa Benton-Short, Senior Fellow, The George Washington University Sustainability Collaborative
Speakers
Dr. Craig Colten, The Carl O. Sauer Professor of Geography, Louisiana State University
Dr. Robert McDonald, Lead Scientist for Global Cities, The Nature Conservancy
Ms. Breece Robertson, National GIS Director, The Trust for Public Land

4:45 – 5:00
Call to Arms

Dr. Christopher Tucker
Dr. Lee Schwartz

5:30 – 7:30
Closing Reception
program

Topics

The 2016 Fall Symposium of the American Geographical Society is the third in multi-year strategic dialog about the vital trends that will reshape the geography of our planet by 2050. Entitled Geography 2050:  Envisioning a Sustainable Planet, this symposium will convene thinkers from government, industry, academe, and the social sector to help develop a geographical understanding of the places that must be consciously conserved and restored over the coming decades in order to ensure that we collectively meet our societal sustainability goals.

Rather than exploring predictions of the future, as in years past, this year the American Geographical Society (AGS) seeks to collaboratively and constructively map the future geography of conservation, restoration, and sustainability.  This year’s symposium seeks to bring the best minds together to map and shape a future where our ecosystems and vital resources should be conserved, restored, and sustainably managed for the betterment of humankind and the Earth.

The symposium will be comprised of sessions dedicated to particular dimensions of the global geography that each face their own challenges with regard to conservation, restoration and sustainability.

Oceans

Two thirds of the Earth’s surface is covered with oceans, and the geographic complexity of the conservation, restoration and sustainability challenges they face could not be more complex. The complex interdependencies between fisheries, bleached reefs, coastal encroachment, dead zones, continent sized garbage patches, hunted megafauna, depleted microfauna/microflora, expanding shipping lanes, etc. can only be understood geographically.

Forests

Over the millennia, humans have deforested large swaths of the Earth, fundamentally changing the ecosystems, the landscape, and our climate. The remaining forests, from the tropics to the arctic, face enormous stresses from development of all kinds, including shifts due to climate change. Meanwhile, many initiatives are underfoot to conserve existing forests, restore formerly forested lands, and to harness the power of forests as part of thoughtful sustainability and resilience strategies. The future geography of forests and forestation will require a series of difficult land use choices that trade off competing values.

 

Arctic

Climate change, technological innovation, and industrial development are opening up the Arctic to unprecedented ecological stresses as its many-layered geography fundamentally shifts and evolves. As parts of this vibrant ecosystem are melting away completely, others are active targets for conservation and even restoration. However, the opening of this geography to shipping, extractive industries, military basing and even urbanization are changing how we think of its conservation and restoration.

Iconic Species Ranges

Many of the species that capture the human imagination have distinct ranges and migratory corridors that are encroached upon, under stress, or at risk of illicit poaching activities. Those that are left are the focus of conservation efforts that face many challenges. Some bold attempts have been made to restore such ranges and corridors, in an effort to recreate lost ecosystems. In the end, whether these species and those for which they serve as harbingers, remain viable is a geographical question of the places we collectively conserve, restore, and seek to make sustainable.

Urban Ecosystems

For millennia, humans have established settlements that have fundamentally challenged and transformed the landscapes of their founding. As humanity becomes increasingly urban, including vast peri-urban expanses, these urban corridors will fundamentally challenge the ecosystems in which they are embedded. Yet, conserving and restoring these ecosystems at some level is key to managing the sustainability and resilience of these urban geographies. What strategies can be employed to both relieve the hinterlands of ecological stress, while designing urban areas that are both sustainable and resilient.

Energy

The modes by which humanity generates energy have enormous implications for the world’s ecosystems – as does the geography of power generation. Traditional fossil fuel generation’s intensive use of water resources, and output of dangerous chemical bi-products, has enormous implications for the geographies where generation takes place. As we think through new strategies for energy generation, new opportunities for conservation, restoration, and sustainability open up to us. These choices have implications for every kind of ecosystem.

Poverty, Development and Sustainability

Humanity’s footprint on the planet differs depending on where a given population lives in the development maturity curve. While the United States has a high per person environmental footprint, impoverished populations lacking in proper infrastructure are placing an enormous ecological burden on the planet that is difficult to understand and mitigate. The explosion in impoverished, peri-urban environments with no meaningful infrastructure threaten adjacent ecosystems in ways that will be difficult to unwind. As such, the (future) geography of poverty will play a major role in shaping our strategies for conservation, restoration and sustainability.

Conservation and Indigenous Peoples

Some of the most biologically diverse places on the planet overlap with the territories of indigenous communities. Understanding the relationship between the well-being of indigenous peoples and environmental conservation requires detailed geographic knowledge and multi-level partnerships.  This session will explore the policies that work to support both ecological and cultural sustainability from participatory mapping to territorial recognition.

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Venue

All sessions and registration will take place in Alfred Lerner Hall, 2920 Broadway, New York, NY 10027. 

“View Larger Map” below to get directions!

 

Hotel

We have negotiated preferred rates with the following hotels for the Symposium.  For more information on rates and availability, please click on the linked sites below.


 

Parking

There is limited parking space available near Columbia University, to learn more click here.

Contact Us

917-745-8354 for information

info@geography2050.org

 

Rates & Registration

Registration includes all breaks, Thursday Welcome Reception, Friday breakfast and lunch, Friday Closing Reception, Symposium Proceedings, and all Symposium Materials.

Early
Registration
Until October 7
$400 AGS Business Professional Affiliate
$190 AGS Academic/Not-for-Profit/Government Professional Affiliate*
$200 AGS Business Fellows*
$95 AGS Academic/Not-for-Profit/Government Fellows*
$95 AGS Galileo, Humboldt, Bowman Affiliates*
$190 AGS Retiree/Student Affiliate*
$600 Non AGS Affiliate Business
$300 Non AGS Affiliate Academic/Not-For-Profit/Government
$250 Non AGS Affiliate Retiree/Student
$2,000 Friend of the Symposium**
Closed!
Regular Registration
October 8-November 16
$450 AGS Business Professional Affiliate
$210 AGS Academic/Not-for-Profit/Government Professional Affiliate*
$220 AGS Business Fellows*
$105 AGS Academic/Not-for-Profit/Government Fellows*
$105 AGS Galileo, Humboldt, Bowman Affiliates*
$210 AGS Retiree/Student Affiliate*
$650 Non AGS Affiliate Business
$330 Non AGS Affiliate Academic/Not-For-Profit/Government
$275 Non AGS Affiliate Retiree/Student
$2,000 Friend of the Symposium**
Closed!
At Door Registration
November 17-November 18
$500 AGS Business Professional Affiliate
$230 AGS Academic/Not-for-Profit/Government Professional Affiliate*
$240 AGS Business Fellows*
$115 AGS Academic/Not-for-Profit/Government Fellows*
$115 AGS Galileo, Humboldt, Bowman Affiliates*
$230 AGS Retiree/Student Affiliate*
$700 Non AGS Affiliate Business
$370 Non AGS Affiliate Academic/Not-For-Profit/Government
$300 Non AGS Affiliate Retiree/Student
$2,000 Friend of the Symposium**
Closed!


**For those who select this premier registration, your organization will be acknowledged as a friend and participant of this strategic dialog.*If you are currently not a member, you can register as a member now and receive the member rate. Sign up here.

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Sponsorship Opportunities

AGS is accepting sponsors and underwriters to help support the 2016 Fall Symposium. To view sponsorship and underwriter opportunities, click the button below.

Opportunities

recap

Recap

Geography2050 is a multi year strategic dialouge. In 2014 we opened the discussion with a wide array of topics that were critical to our changing world. In 2015 we focused on cities, and in 2016 we will focus on a sustainable planet. We envision continuing the dialouge with subject such as transportation and food security in years to come.

2014 Recap

In 2014, the American Geographical Society, an organization with a 163 year history of geographic exploration, mounted a new expedition: An “Expedition to the Future” as their first annual symposium of the Geography 2050 series. This initial Geography2050 conference, held on November 19, 2014, by the AGS and the Earth Institute of Columbia University, provided a unique glimpse forward at the Earth and its inhabitants in the year 2050. Many “geo” conferences stress that “geography matters,” but Geography2050 offered details on why and how for a prestigious group of industry, government and academic geographers, and interested citizens. Like any good expedition, Geography2050 included a broad range of expertise, with demographers, remote sensing technologists, energy analysts, climate scientists, global health experts, government leaders, investment specialists and others. Each addressed: What is happening on the Earth? and, Who is being affected by it? The interdisciplinary aspect of the expedition was exemplified in remarks by two senior US government officials: Dr. Lee Schwartz, The Geographer of the United States at the State Department, and Robert Cardillo, Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Fall 2014 Symposium 2014 Symposium Videos

2015 Recap

The American Geographical Society’s second annual Geography 2050 Symposium “Exploring our Future in an Urbanized World” was developed by feedback from the most pertinent issues raised by guests and panelist in 2014. Predictions indicate that an ever increasing proportion of the world’s population will dwell in urban areas by 2050, even as the world’s total population swells by billions. The geographies of our urban habitats are poised to change radically by 2050, and the implications of this for local, regional, and global decision makers are significant and paramount to our well-being. The spatial-temporal processes and patterns that will reshape our cities – and the rest of the planet – are many and interrelated, and will manifest differently in different places over time. In short, there is no single “urban habitat” and it is imperative that we, as a global society, understand the variety and interconnectedness of the world’s towns, cities and mega-cities as they evolve by 2050. The Symposium explored these issues in depth and created a space to establish a working solution-based discussion among private sector, public officials and not-for-profits and academia that continues today.

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