Some folks on the ECN LISTSERV have been highlighting the upcoming International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) conference, Making Sustainable Decisions. The conference description explains the double-entendre of the title:
The 2009 IAP2 conference will provide the opportunity to discuss the multiple facets of sustainability. In a kind of double entendre, we want to explore the state of the art both in terms of how to make decisions that reflect sustainability principles, as well as, how to make decisions that are themselves “sustainable.” We believe these two facets feed into each other, but as the world’s premier organization focused on public participation in public decisions, IAP2 believes that the sustainability of the decision itself is in need of closer examination.
This is indeed an important organization and conference for the field of environmental communication. And the idea that we can and should seek decision-making processes that result in lasting decisions that themselves result in beneficial triple-bottom-line outcomes (social and ecological sustainability) is at the core of what environmental communication is all about. Learning to live well within the planet’s limits is not simply a matter of creating so-called green technologies. It is also about creating (through communication) meanings that support cultures of planetary care. Now that’s not exactly what this conference is about, but it’s one key piece of what needs to be done.