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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.

Science Diplomacy across the Bering Straits: Experiential Learning as an Opportunity for Thawing US-Russian Relations

By Saleem H. Ali, Helena Voinov Vladich and Caroline Karp Introduction The geographic point where the Russian and United States’ mainlands are closest lies in the Bering Strait between the State of Alaska and the Russian territory of Chukotka (Fig. 1, 2). At this point, these countries are less than 82 km (51 miles) apart.…

Peace Eludes Islamic Enclaves of the Philippines: Could Responsible Resource Extraction be part of the Solution?

The brutal murder of Canadian mining executive John Ridsdel in the Philippines this week is yet another sobering reminder that Southeast Asia’s most literate country (over 95% literacy), with a population of over a hundred million has many challenges ahead. As a major election approaches, this tragedy will likely strengthen the case of hard-line politicians…

Shale Gas “Evolution”: Is Environmental and Social Certification an Option?

Guest article by Matthew Bach The rise and possible fall of unconventional gas sources in recent years has been widely debated. In this guest posting, I have invited Matthew Bach, of Erasmus University, in The Netherlands, to evaluate the efficacy of certification mechanisms to ensure improved environmental and social performance of the shale gas sector. …

Human Connections Across Nations Charting the Future of Academia

Economists tend to agree that knowledge is the quintessential “non-rival good” – meaning it does not diminish by sharing, and in fact increases with greater connectivity. Among the greatest collective triumphs of globalization and the internet has been the speed and span of research collaboration. The value of such international exchanges cannot be underestimated for…

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…