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Saleem H. Ali holds the Chair in Sustainable Resource Development at the University of Queensland, Australia. He is also Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont, USA. Dr. Ali is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for 2010 and World Economic Forum "Young Global Leader" (2011). His books include "Environmental Diplomacy" (with Lawrence Susskind, Oxford Univ. Press) and "Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed and a Sustainable Future" (Yale University Press). He can be followed on Twitter @saleem_ali.

Healing the Wounds of War between Bangladesh and Pakistan

The flight from Karachi to Dhaka spans the heartland of South Asia and gives travelers an appreciation for the complexity of The Great Partition. So many linguistic and ethnic divides had to be traversed to formulate national identities for countries that now exist in the area. Nearly a fourth of the world’s population resides here.…

Climate Change Science Conflicts and Pluralism: The Subtext at COP21 in Paris

“What we need is an agreement that’s ambitious — because that’s what the scale of the challenge demands. We need an inclusive agreement — because every country has to play its part. And we need an agreement that’s flexible — because different nations have different needs. And if we can come together and get this…

Europe’s Border Quandaries in a New Age of Exodus and Terror

Around the time of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris on November 14, I was arriving at the airport in Zagreb, Croatia on a brief visit to observe the impact of the Refugee Crisis on border communities in the Balkans.  There was sobering sense of connectivity between the news flashing on my mobile about the…

How should mining companies invest in social capital during economic downturns?

For the past three years, I have been one of the instructors in the Advanced Social Management Program for AngloAmerican Corporation, a major global mining company. The program is managed by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and involves two separate intensive masterclasses in South Africa and Chile and a six month group…

Minerals are Essential to address Climate Change and meet Sustainable Development Goals

In 2013, the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) launched the Resourcing Future Generations (RFG) initiative to bring world attention to the challenges of sustaining resource supplies. The RFG initiative includes a diverse group of geoscientists, environmental and social scientists and economists, drawn from a range of institutions with diverse private and public experience in…

Arctic Diplomacy requires Convergence of Military and Scientific Interests

Scientists and the military have a long history of engagement but largely in a client-donor relationship. Yet, global environmental change is providing another opportunity for more “natural” convergent cooperation that was manifest at an unusual meeting of academia and the military held at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources (RSENR) at the University…

The Muslim Miners of Mongolia

Dedicated to exploring the connections between society and the environment, Saleem H. Ali reflects on a visit to a small mining town in Mongolia which hosts a diverse cultural heritage and is planning for a sustainable future.

Google and the Green Economy: Lessons in Process Innovation

Guest post by Samia Mazhar Global efforts to reach a climate change agreement in Paris later this year are gaining momentum not only in the halls of some parliaments but also in the corporate world. In this guest post, an Australian scholar of project management and innovation, Samia Mazhar, explores ways one major corporate power…

Spock’s Enduring Legacy for Earth Governance

As the world mourns the passing of Leonard Nimoy, the role he most memorably represented and the marvelous mythology he helped to create will remain timeless. As an environmental planner interested in better ways of governing natural resources, Star Trek‘s fabled future and specially Spock’s role provides me surprising inspiration. The creator of  Star Trek,…

Pakistan’s Polarized Polity May Find Convergence in 2015

I heralded the start of 2015, seated together with family around a bonfire, on a mildly foggy night in Lahore, Pakistan. The mist that surrounded us was metaphoric of the uncertainty that enshrouds my land of origin. During a three-week visit, I had witnessed the national horror of a terrorist attack against promising adolescents and…

Ethiopia’s Bentonite Trail: A Development Path?

By Rodger Barnes In this guest post Rodger Barnes  reports from the Afar region of Ethiopia on the mining of bentonite – an aluminum phyllo-silicate mineral used in drilling processes worldwide. Industrial minerals are often overlooked in the mining and development discourse although they clearly have a potential to make a social and economic contribution…

Sovereign Wealth Fund Divestment as an Environmental Protection Strategy

In this guest post, one of my doctoral students Asmaa Khadim, who is a Canadian lawyer, presents perspectives on the growing trend for large national funds to divest from particular industries that they consider socially or environmentally problematic. Is this making any positive change? This article explores how in a few cases some signs of…

Ecological Restoration of an Indigenous Community on the US-Canadian Border

Environmental justice concerns in Native communities across the Americas have been a source of continuing social conflict. Addressing the injustices of the past and rebuilding trust between companies, governments and communities remains a challenge. In this guest article, Kim McRae, a doctoral candidate at the University of Vermont with twenty years of community advocacy experience…

The Scarce Mineral Behind the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics

  This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics is thankfully not being awarded for the discovery of some esoteric atomic particle but rather for the development of a technology that impacts all our lives. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences noted in its announcement that the prize was awarded to 3 scientists who “invented a new…

Mining Research in the Amazon – Methodological Perspectives from the Field

In this guest post, I have requested one of our doctoral candidates Mirella Gavidia to share her insights from communicating her dissertation research in the Amazon with communities whom she studied and who were not so used to contemporary social research methods. The iterative process by which field research must adapt to field conditions shines…