As humans are increasingly impacting the environment, how do we imagine the future of the Earth? Elena Bennett sees anthropocene as an opportunity to create sustainable development through a conscious use of natural resources.
Elena is a systems ecologist who focuses her research on the sustainable use and management of ecosystem services (the benefits people obtain from nature). Trying to explain to her daughter what is happening to the environment right now, Elena found she needed a way to approach the future in a positive manner. As an Associate Professor at the McGill School of Environment of the McGill University, she gathered a database of initiatives of people aiming to improve their environment all around the world. These success stories help create an inspiring narrative and drive confidence in a better future through reconnection to nature and to our communities, and help us to understand how we might achieve such a future. She believes that humans should think of themselves with humility as a part of nature and find ways to slow down the dramatic impact that our industrial society has on the environment.
Elena did her undergraduate studies in Biology and Environmental Studies at Oberlin College, where she met inspiring professors. She earned her Master of Science in Land Resources from the University of Wisconsin in 1999, and her PhD in Limnology and Marine Sciences in 2002. As a postdoc, she helped coordinate the Scenarios Working Group for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Elena started working at McGill in 2005.