At the Closing Plenary Session, Conference Chair Tatiana Kluvánková provided three prominent themes that encapsulated this annual Earth System Governance conference: collaboration, social change, and the (virtual) community – all of which have been in focus throughout the week. Similarly, the Closing Plenary panel discussion created space for a range of reflections. For Stanislava Brnkalakova, a key member of the 2021 Bratislava organizing team, the conference theme strongly reflected dialogues around ecosystem services and digital innovation, in our personal research and practices, as well as civil society involvement. Susan Park spoke for many when she expressed gratitude for Opening Speaker Prof. Karen O’Brien, highlighting the importance of how we, as individuals, relate and connect to others in an entangled world. Jasper Montana, the winner of the 2021 Oran R. Young Prize, spoke of the challenge to understand deeply diverse contexts and relations within a broader global perspective at the same time. Finally, Prakash Kashwan queried how we as a community can engage in collective action to create policy-relevant and politically salient work. His quote later in the evening described Earth System Governance as the “cross-cutting interdisciplinary communities of colleagues & friends, who are working together to push the field beyond the scholarly comfort levels. Onward & upward!”
Our biggest thanks go to you, the Earth System Governance community, who have shown up and brought your energy, insights, and questions to each of the sessions. An event like this is the core of the Earth System Governance network’s activities and we hope that it will inspire and lead to more collaborative work to take place in the future.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all members of the Organizing Team who worked to put this hybrid event and mammoth programme together, especially Ivana Vybochova the conference manager, among the many others involved.
We are also deeply grateful for the support and engagement of our Co-Hosts: Utrecht University, The German Development Institute, SIMRA, Stockholm University; as well as the Supporting Organizations: African Research and Impact Network, The International Society for Ecological Economics, and The MIT Press (who kindly sponsored the Oran R. Young Prize). There is so much behind the scenes, but seeing everything come together makes the hard work worth the effort.
Recorded videos from Plenary, Semi-Plenary, and Innovative Sessions will be made available in the coming weeks on the Earth System Governance youtube channel. Parallel Panel videos will not be available publicly but will be available per request. Re-live some of the conference and commentary or continue the conversation by checking out the #ESG2021 hashtag on Twitter.
Get involved with the Earth System Governance Community
If this has been your first experience with the Earth System Governance community, make sure to get involved. There are plenty of opportunities. As announced at the Closing Plenary, the next annual conference will take place in Toronto, Canada in November 2022. In the meantime, it is possible to connect and get engaged with Earth System Governance Taskforces, Working Groups, our series of publications including the Earth System Governance Journal, as well as early-career activities. Calls and opportunities will be regularly circulated from our newsletter which you can sign up for via our website. Information on how to submit an application to be a research fellow of the project can be found here.
On behalf of the Hosts Organizations and Organizing Team of the 2021 Bratislava Conference on Earth System Governance, we thank you warmly for participating, both virtually and on-site!
Tatiana Kluvánková, Conference Chair, CETIP, SlovakGlobe, Slovak Academy of Sciences and Slovak University of Technology, Bratislava.
Gustav Thungren, Managing Director of the Earth System Governance Project