UNAA Peace Program to host sustainability forum; Astronaut Ron Garan keynote speaker
By Evelyn A. Opilas
September 16, 2016
American astronaut Ronald J Garan Jr will be keynote speaker at the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) Peace Program sustainability forum, giving a perspective of how Earth looks from space 240 miles away.
The forum ‘Focus SDG11 – The Future We Want’ will be held 9am-5pm Wednesday, 5 Oct at The Mint, Macquarie Street Sydney to mark World Habitat Day.
It will focus on the UN’s ‘Sustainable Development Goal 11: Making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ and will be based on the general consensus on climate change which has identified sustainability as the world’s most critical issue.
UN Peace Program Director Dr Zeny Sicat Edwards said the one-of-a-kind forum brings together a diverse panel of specialists who have accepted the challenge to propose creative ideas to help ease this urgent issue.
“This forum aims to offer practical solutions to reconnect with our surroundings, to make a difference, and to turn knowledge into action – central to this will be tackling issues concerning the natural and built environment from macro to micro levels,” Dr Edwards, an architectural historian and an alumna of St Theresa’s College QC, said.
Garan, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut who has completed 177days, 23 hours and 54 minutes in space and conducted four EVAs (extravehicular activity), said in his website that looking down at Earth “240 miles below was a very moving experience” however he “couldn’t help but think of all the people who don’t have clean water to drink or enough food to eat, of the social injustice, conflicts, and poverty that exists throughout the Earth.
“We have within our grasp the resources and technology to solve many, if not all, of the problems facing our plant,” the founder of online blog ‘Fragile Oasis’ and author of ‘The Orbital Perspective’, said.
“The sustainability forum serves as a reminder that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns, and we look forward to presenting innovative and practical solutions for a sustainable future,” Dr Edwards said.
The UN General Assembly, in its Resolution40/202 of 17 December 1985, had designated the first Monday of each year as World Habitat Day ‘to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter’.
Ron Garan will be available for interviews ahead of his keynote speech.
To schedule an interview, please contact Dr Edwards – firstname.lastname@example.org
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