The Ernst Strngmann Forum

Founded on the tenets of scientific independence and the inquisitive nature of the human mind, the Ernst Strungmann Forum is dedicated to the continual expansion of knowledge. Through its innovative communication process, the Ernst Strungmann Forum provides a creative environment within which experts scrutinize high-priority issues from multiple vantage points.

This process begins with the identification of themes. By nature, a theme constitutes a problem area that transcends classic disciplinary boundaries. It is of high-priority interest, requiring concentrated, multidisciplinary input to address the issues involved. Proposals are received from leading scientists active in their fi eld and are selected by an independent Scientific Advisory Board. Once approved, a steering committee is convened to refine the scientific parameters of the proposal and select the participants. Approximately one year later, a focal meeting is held to which circa forty experts are invited.

Planning for this Forum began in 2006. In November, 2007, the steering committee met to identify the key issues for debate and select the participants for the focal meeting, which was held in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, from November 9-14, 2008.

The activities and discourse involved in a Forum begin well before participants arrive in Frankfurt and conclude with the publication of this volume. Throughout each stage, focused dialog is the means by which participants examine the issues anew. Often, this requires relinquishing long-established ideas and overcoming disciplinary idiosyncrasies which might otherwise inhibit joint examination. However, when this is accomplished, a unique synergism results and new insights emerge.

This volume is the result of the synergy that arose out of a group of diverse experts, each of whom assumed an active role, and is comprised of two types of contributions. The first provides background information on key aspects of the overall theme. These chapters have been extensively reviewed and revised to provide current understanding on these topics. The second (Chapters 5, 11, 17, and 22) summarizes the extensive discussions that transpired. These chapters should not be viewed as consensus documents nor are they proceedings; they convey the essence of the discussions, expose the open questions that remain, and highlight areas for future research.

An endeavor of this kind creates its own unique group dynamics and puts demands on everyone who participates. Each invitee contributed not only their time and congenial personality, but a willingness to probe beyond that which is evident, and I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to all. Special thanks goes to the steering committee (Thomas Graedel, David Greene, Thomas Peter Knepper, Yuichi Moriguchi, David Skole, and Ester van der Voet), the authors of the background papers, the reviewers of the papers, and the moderators of the individual working groups (Dolf de Groot, Faye Duchin, Thomas Knepper, and Jack Johnston). To draft a report during the Forum and bring it to its final form is no simple matter, and for their efforts, we are especially grateful to Karen Seto, Heather MacLean, Klaus Lindner, and Andreas Loschel. Most importantly, I wish to extend my appreciation to the chairpersons, Thomas Graedel and Ester van der Voet, whose support during this project was invaluable.

A communication process of this nature relies on institutional stability and an environment that encourages free thought. Through the generous support of the Ernst Strungmann Foundation, established by Dr. Andreas and Dr. Thomas Strungmann in honor of their father, the Ernst Strungmann Forum is able to conduct its work in the service of science. The work of the Scientific Advisory Board ensures the scientific independence of the Forum and is gratefully acknowledged. Additional partnerships have lent valuable backing to this theme: the German Science Foundation, which provided financial support, and the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, which shares its vibrant intellectual setting with the Forum.

Long-held views are never easy to put aside. Yet, when this is achieved, when the edges of the unknown begin to appear and the gaps in knowledge are able to be defined, the act of formulating strategies to fill these becomes a most invigorating exercise. It is our hope that this volume will convey a sense of this lively exercise and extend the inquiry into the linkages of sustainability.

Julia Lupp, Program Director

Ernst Strungmann Forum

Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS)

Ruth-Moufang-Str. 1, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

http://fias.uni-frankfurt.de/esforum/

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