Bill Rees – Towards Sustainability: Does Science Matter?

Photo by: Nick Wiebe

Recently, we had an opportunity to host a variety of great talks for science teachers. One of the talks was by Dr. William Rees. It was a nice little introduction into the conundrum of our reliance on “progress” to fix things. In any event, here is the link that will lead you to a 25 minute talk he gave.

If you do watch it, I’d be interested to see what you think. In many ways it suggests that human behaviour is currently not well suited to dealing with an issue of this magnitude.

Interestingly, one of the questions that came up after the talk, (that I thought really nailed the going feeling in the room) was “Do you think it’s important to teach students to hope?”


Related Topics


David (@ng_dave) is Faculty at the Michael Smith Labs. His writing has appeared in places such as McSweeney's, The Walrus, and He plans on using Terry as another place to highlight the mostly science-y links he appreciates. In fact, if you liked this one, you might also like his main site generally - this can be found at

3 Responses to “Bill Rees – Towards Sustainability: Does Science Matter?”

  1. Genna

    An interesting talk. It’s really one of those that says a major paradigm shift is needed (where the whole consumerism jaunt needs to shut down somehow).

    As Dr. Rees suggests, maybe this is something that the youth can take charge of – although judging by the popularity of things like Gossip Girl and High School Musical, it’s not looking too hopeful if you ask me.

  2. Brad

    The bigger question, of course, is how can one get this paradigm shift to occur.

    Is it more scary weather to shock us, or is it’s putting forth a stigma on being environmentally irresponsible?

    Or maybe it’s starting already? Green is the new hip isn’t it? So perhaps we’re not far off – maybe we just need to keep going with a whole lot of (grassroots) nudges.

  3. Mike

    Thanks for linking to the talk. The mismatch between consumer culture and sustainability was stated fairly clearly in Bruce Sterling’s Veridian Design Manifesto (the article that launched WorldChanging.) There has been significant progress since then. What is needed now is for the greening trend to make further inroads into daily life, to the point where it becomes the norm.

Leave a Reply

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.