Prof. Dr. Jianguo “Jack” Liu is a world leader in systems integration and sustainability (e.g., integrating ecology with social sciences, policy, and technologies for understanding and promoting global sustainability). He holds the Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability, and is University Distinguished Professor and founding director of Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability at Michigan State University (USA). He has translated many research findings to effective policy and management for global sustainability, especially in China. Furthermore, he has amplified the impacts through helping numerous others. Liu’s pioneering research has opened up new frontiers in sustainability and greatly advanced the fundamental understanding of global challenges. He coined the integrated concept of telecoupling (socioeconomic-environmental interactions over distances), and has been leading the development and applications of the award-winning telecoupling framework. This framework helps disentangle the complexity of globalization and systematically expand sustainability science from focus on specific places separately to human-nature interactions across distant places. It provides a powerful tool to uncover hidden impacts of human activities within specific places on sustainability elsewhere. Many of his research findings have been translated into effective policies and management interventions, which have helped the recovery of a global wildlife icon (giant pandas), improved management of protected areas, and revolution of China’s environmental protection.
Quick Q&A with Prof. Dr. Jianguo 'Jack' Liu about the World Sustainability Award
What did this award help you accomplish?
The award money has really helped to support my research, particularly in funding the publication of several peer-reviewed papers. These papers address the effects of telecoupling (human-nature interactions over distances) on global sustainability. For example, one paper focuses on the Arctic, which is rapidly telecoupling with the rest of the world through more shipping and tourism, as well as resource development due to the unprecedented sea ice melting, because the Arctic has been experiencing the fastest temperature rise in the world. Another paper focuses on global nitrogen/phosphorus flows across telecoupled agricultural trade networks, which have implications for global food security and environmental sustainability.
Would you recommend it to future researchers in sustainability? Why or why not?
Yes. It would be a wonderful recognition of their outstanding work and an inspiration for other researchers. The award money can help support research without strings attached.