Last Tuesday evening I attended the launch of the new Sydney Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of Sydney. SEI is a cross-Faculty research institute which aims to address two of the key questions of our time:
- how do we understand and redesign the fundamental relationship between human communities and the natural world that supports them; and
- how can people and societies adapt positively to environmental change?
SEI brings together a wide range of the University’s researchers and projects on environmental themes. This includes academics focusing on the social impacts of climate change, human/non-human relations, environment and culture, sustainable cities, food security, and organisational adaptation in both the public and private realms.
The Institute currently includes seven nodes:
- HfE Mellon Australia Observatory
- Sydney Network on Climate Change and Society
- Food, People and the Planet
- Maricultures Environmental Research
- Cities Network
- Balanced Enterprise Research Network (BERN)
- Human Animal Research Network
The Institute provides an important platform for informing public discourse, decision-making, and policy in relation to the environment. This will be increasingly important in an era of resource scarcity, biodiversity decline and climate crisis.