For the first time in the United States, a NATO panel of leading international experts, including a Colorado State University professor, will gather to discuss how to best address pressing global environmental concerns.
The NATO Environmental Security Panel, which gathers three times a year, will meet Nov. 6-8 in the Lory Student Center at Colorado State to consider funding studies between NATO scientists and Cooperating Individual States. CIS includes the former Soviet Union and other European countries.
"Since the end of the Cold War, countries throughout the world are turning with increasing urgency to face a common enemy–the environmental threats that undermine the health and safety of citizens in every country," said Evan Vlachos, professor of sociology and civil engineering and the United States representative on the panel.
"Civilization needs stable, clean environments," Vlachos said. "Where once the concern was building military power, the concern now is building dialogues between countries to rehabilitate environmental problems. The panel seeks to strengthen ties with the international scientific community and work toward a stable, productive world environment through funded workshops and exchange visits."
Priority topics in the evaluation sessions include improving East-West collaboration on scientific and technological projects, such as the reclamation of contaminated military sites, regional environmental problems and natural and man-made disasters.
"It speaks well for Colorado State that this distinguished panel is meeting on our campus to discuss crucial issues that affect each and every one of us," said Colorado State President Albert Yates. "Our university has a reputation as a leader in exploring the best ways to preserve and protect environmental integrity for our well-being and, equally important, for the well-being of future generations."
Vlachos said that panel members will be briefed on the work done by the Center for the Environmental Management of Military Lands, a research center at Colorado State. CEMML, part of the department of forest sciences in the College of Natural Resources, provides research and technical support to the Department of Defense and its conservation and environmental protection efforts. The center helps military planners, trainers and land managers maintain healthy, diverse ecosystems to support training and testing exercises.
Vlachos has over 25 years of experience in research, teaching and consulting on national and international projects including urban planning, natural resources management, forecasting and futurism, technology assessment and demography. He is associate director of the International School for Water Resources in addition to serving as member of the Advisory Panel on Environmental Security for NATO in Brussels.
In addition to Vlachos, panel members include Hilmar Bungum from the Research Council of Norway, Douglas Champ from Chalk River Laboratories in Canada, Joao Ribeiro da Costa from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Portugal, Francis Lambert from the Centre d’Etudes de Saclay in France, Adolphe Muller from the Geologisches Institut in Germany, Nicholas Owens from the department of marine sciences and coastal management at the University of Newcastle in the United Kingdom, Robert Guicherit from the TNO Institute of Environmental Sciences in the Netherlands, and Luis Veiga da Cunha from Belgium and director of the Priority Area on Environmental Security.
"This meeting brings together some of the best minds in the world," said Neil Grigg, chairman of the department of civil engineering. "Every member will take back to their respective countries a renewed commitment to help create a safe and healthy environment."
Other areas of possible funding studies include:
- Environmental and human health consequences on military activities, particularly those relating to former and existing military bases and test sites;
- Nuclear and chemical pollution and decontamination;
- Solid and toxic waste management;
- Water pollution problems with emphasis on groundwater;
- Integrated water resource management;
- Marine pollution, especially in costal zones and estuaries;
- Air pollution in industrial areas;
- Natural and man-made hazards;
- Industrial accidents;
- Agricultural management, including soil practices and use of pesticides and fertilizers;
- Consequences of climate change on environmental security.