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Recent Events

Strengthening Sustainability Program at the Undergraduate and Graduate Levels: A Workshop
February 13, 2019, Washington, DC

Food Loss and Waste Workshop

October 17, 2018, Washington, DC

Report Release: Housing, Health and Homelessness
July 11, 2018 11am-12pm, Washington, DC

Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability

January 30-21, 2018, Washington, DC

Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability
June 4-5, 2015

The National Academy of Sciences
2100 C Street NW
Lecture Room
Washington, DC
The most recent meeting of the Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability was held on June 4-5, 2015 in Washington, DC.  As a first event of a year-long initiative, the June 4 Roundtable meeting hosted a session that provided an overview of the state of the science on sustainability indicators and metrics in the context of climate change and infrastructure vulnerability.  The purpose of the session was to assess what indicators and metrics have been found to be the most useful for promoting sustainability as well as identify knowledge gaps related to developing indicators that integrate across the ecological, social, and economic sciences.  During the meeting, the Roundtable heard presentations on examples of select sustainability indicators and metrics that incorporate various disciplines and sectors and that are being used to inform policy and action related to sustainability practice and research.  A published summary of the event was issued in October 2015.  
The day was capped by a dinner speech from Patricia Beneke, Director and Regional Representative of the United Nations Environment Programme Regional Office for North America, describing the United Nation’s sustainable development goals and post-2015 agenda including the role of science and technology.
The second day featured presentations addressing issues related to sustainability and climate change adaptation for infrastructure. Sustainability is a becoming a key consideration as the public and private sectors engage in climate change adaptation planning efforts, particularly given the impact of climate, weather, and extreme events on the engineering and design of built and natural environments.  The sheer increase in the number and scope of national and international sustainable engineering activities as part of climate change adaptation planning is further evidence of this increased focus.  However, a more strategic discussion on how sustainability can and is being integrated into climate change adaptation planning for infrastructure is needed.  To begin this discussion, the presenters reviewed examples of public and private sector efforts related to climate change adaptation in select infrastructure sectors and discussed approaches for how to move this topic forward.
For the session on NRC updates, Roundtable members reviewed and provided suggestions on current and planned STS program activities. An update on the recent NRC report from the Ocean Studies Board and Water Science and Technology Board, Reducing Coastal Risks on the East and Gulf Coasts (2014), was also provided. Roundtable members raised suggestions for future Roundtable topics and activities.  

Agenda and Presentations                                                                                                                             

Thursday, June 4, 2015
8:30 am         Breakfast available
9:00 am         Welcome, Introductions and Meeting Goals 
David Dzombak (NAE), Carnegie Mellon University, STS Roundtable Co-Chair
                        Lynn Scarlett, The Nature Conservancy, STS Roundtable Co-Chair
                        Jerry Miller, National Research Council
9:30 am         Keynote Remarks 
                        Andrew J. Hoffman, University of Michigan (Sustainability Metrics, Sustainable Enterprise, and Climate Change)

Measuring Progress towards Sustainability: The State of the Science on Indicators and Metrics of Sustainability: Climate Change and Infrastructure Vulnerability
10:00 am       Overview and Introduction to Panel
                         David Dzombak (NAE)/Lynn Scarlett, STS Roundtable Co-Chairs
10:10 am       Panel I: Sustainability Indicators and Metrics: Overview of Current State of the Science
                        Moderator: Lynn Scarlett, The Nature Conservancy
  • Lidia Berger, Dewberry (Connectedness and Infrastructure: Key Sustainability Challenges)
  • Ralph Sims, Massey University, New Zealand (Cities and Infrastructure Indicators)
10:50 am       BREAK
11:10 am       Panel I: Continued
11:30 am        Q&A and Discussion
12:00 pm        LUNCH
1:00 pm          Panel II: Examples of Innovative Public Sector Sustainability Indicators and Metrics
                         Moderator: Suzette Kimball, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Michael Slimak, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA’s Report on the Environment)
  • Joe D. Manous, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Sustainability Metrics related to Water Resources and Climate Change Adaptation)
  • Melissa Kenney, University of Maryland (Multidisciplinary Climate Change and Impact Indicators Input to USGCRP)
2:00 pm          Q&A and Discussion
2:20 pm          BREAK
2:40 pm          Panel III: Examples of Innovative Private/NGO Sustainability Indicators and Metrics
                         Moderator: Marilu Hastings, Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation
  • Matthew Swibel, Lockheed Martin Corporation (Metrics-Driven Sustainability Decision-Making)
  • David Dornfeld (NAE), University of California, Berkeley (Green Manufacturing and Social Sustainability Metrics, including Climate-related Metrics)  
  • David Allen, University of Texas (Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering)
3:40 pm           Q&A and Discussion
4:00 pm           BREAK          
4:10 pm           Discussion and Next Steps on the Use and Development of Sustainability Indicators and Metrics
                          Moderator: David Dzombak (NAE), STS Roundtable Co-Chair
4:50 pm           Wrap up and plans for next day (STS Roundtable Co-Chair)
5:00 pm           Adjourn
5:15 pm           Reception (RIS, 2275 L Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037)
6:00 pm           Working Dinner (RIS)
                          Speaker:  Patricia Beneke, United Nations Environment Programme

Friday, June 5, 2015
8:30 am            Breakfast available
9:00 am            Welcome and Feedback from Previous Day
                           David Dzombak (NAE)/Lynn Scarlett, STS Roundtable Co-Chairs
Current Activities (STS Roundtable Co-Chair)
9:10 am            Transition toward Sustainability after 15 Years: Where Do We Stand in Advancing the Scientific Foundation? 
(Workshop scheduled for 2015)
                           David Dzombak (NAE), Carnegie Mellon University
9:40 am            Pathways to Urban Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities (Consensus report expected in May 2016)
                           Paulo Ferrão, University of Lisbon

                           Steve Bergman, Shell International Exploration & Production Company
10:00 am          Critical Role of Animal Science Research in Food Security and Sustainability (Consensus report released January 2015)
                            Ann Bartuska, U.S. Department of Agriculture
10:10 am          Housing, Health and Homelessness: Evaluating the Evidence (Scoping Session held February 2015)
                            Jennifer Saunders, National Research Council
10:20 am          STS Program and Publication Updates
                            Jerry Miller, National Research Council
10:30 am           NRC Publication Update: Reducing Coastal Risks on the East and Gulf Coasts 
(Report released in 2014 by the Water Science and Technology Board and Ocean Studies Board)
                             Deborah Glickson, Ocean Studies Board, National Research Council
10:45 am           BREAK
Sustainability and Climate Change Adaptation for Infrastructure
11:00 am           Introduction to Panel
                            David Dzombak (NAE), Carnegie Mellon University
11:05 am           National Perspectives
                            Richard Wright (NAE), American Society of Civil Engineers
11:25 am           Industry Perspectives
                            Catherine McKalip-Thompson, Bechtel Corporation
11:45 am           Q&A and Discussions
Future Activities (STS Roundtable Co-Chairs)
12:00 pm           Proposals from Roundtable Members for Future Roundtable Topics 
                            All Members
12:30 pm           Wrap up (STS Roundtable Co-Chairs)

12:45 pm           Adjourn

Disclaimer: This website contains unedited verbatim presentations made by meeting participants and is not an official report of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Opinions and statements included in this material are solely those of the individual authors. They have not been verified as accurate, nor do they necessarily represent the views of other meeting participants, the committee, or the Academies.