Scholars from China and the United States attend a panel discussion at U.S.-China Environment and Sustainability Forum in Ann Arbor of Michigan, the United States, on Oct. 2, 2019. About 150 scholars from China and the United States gathered at the University of Michigan (UM) in the U.S. Midwest state of Michigan to seek sustained environmental development. (Photo by Su Debing/Xinhua)
CHICAGO, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- About 150 scholars from China and the United States gathered at the University of Michigan (UM) in the U.S. Midwest state of Michigan to seek sustained environmental development.
At the 2-day U.S.-China Environment and Sustainability Forum on Oct. 1-2, scholars have taken stock of the achievements in addressing environmental and sustainability challenges in both countries, as well as identified the critical areas that the two countries should work together and help the global transition towards more sustainable development.
In a welcome speech, Jonathan Overpeck, dean of UM School for Environment and Sustainability, hailed the forum as coming "at a critical time for our planet, for future generations, and for collaboration across borders and boundaries."
"We have climate on the brink of irreversible damage: dwindling freshwater supplies; rising pollution in air and oceans; disruption of ecosystems; inadequate food access; soaring urban populations; and world-wide social inequity," said Overpeck. "We need to design solutions that are science-driven, that address issues like climate mitigation, adaptation, and the massive economic shift."
"Now more than ever, the United States and China need to partner to pave the way and advance solutions that address our wicked challenges," Overpeck said. "The planet is one thing we all have in common."
"As global economic leaders, the sooner we accelerate our collaborations, the sooner we'll solve the problem," he added.
Overpeck held that with challenges comes opportunity. "We can set the example for designing equitable and just solutions where the whole world benefits, where we position ourselves for this global transition, where we reinvent the environmental movement for the 21st century and beyond."
The forum is launched based on the existing student education cooperation program UM has with China, and aims to further the dialogue and cooperation between scholars and policy makers, Xi Chuanwu, organizer of the forum and a professor of UM School of Public Health, told Xinhua.
The friendship between UM and China has spanned more than a century. UM is actually one of the first group of U.S. universities admitting Chinese students in early 1900s.
"Today, the partnerships forged between the University of Michigan and China create greater global impact through cross-cultural innovation, only possible through this collaboration in cutting-edge academic programs, scientific research, and technological exploration," said Martin Philbert, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at UM.