Challenges and Innovations to Tackle Global Environmental Change

Human interference with the nature has not only damaged the ecosystems and environment but has also affected the scope for livelihood security of current and future generations. Several attempts have been made by the scientific community to understand the root cause of Global Environmental Change (GEC) and suggested various research pathways for the coming decades. Several research innovations have been made especially during the last two decades in addressing environmental issues, protection of ecosystems and human impacts through multi-disciplinary approaches. Civil Society Organizations and other end users of the field based activities have largely resulted in the recovery of degraded ecosystems and restoration of environment. Assigning property rights to open access environmental goods using protected areas and co-management approaches have been successfully practiced in different parts of the world. Some strong attempts have also been made to bridge the gap between the scientific findings and implementation in the field to achieve tangible results in enhancing environmental quality.

Human induced impacts especially rapid urbanization and the growth of world population are some of the contributing factors for global environmental change. In addition, the world has been facing a complexity of episodic disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis etc along with climate-induced disasters like cyclones, floods and droughts. Most recently, on the 11th of March 2011, an undersea earthquake of magnitude 9 on Richter Scale, triggered a giant tsunami of about 23m height, which travelled a distance of about 5 km inland and devastated about nine prefectures along the Northeast coast of Japan. The severity of this natural disaster and its impact on environment, economy and community is yet to be studied and fully understood.

At a time when the world is grappling with climate related disasters and climate change issues, assessing the vulnerability and resilience, the recent disaster in Japan has diverted the attention of scientific community to this new challenge. The scientific community needs to look into this challenging task to brainstorm, debate and consolidate research findings towards new policy formulations. In this context, an international event at Chennai is proposed to enable the meeting of scientists and experts of national and international repute to discuss and debate research outcomes to face the new challenges in the wake of disaster induced environmental changes. This gathering will also be an occasion to offer our empathy and salute the brave people of Japan on the occasion of first anniversary of the 2011 tsunami. It is expected that this open science international forum will enable increased focus towards disaster induced environmental issues pertaining to coastal areas of various parts of the world.