Ravage of the Planet 2011
3rd International Conference on Management of Natural Resources, Sustainable Development and Ecological Hazards
13 - 15 December 2011
The 3rd International Conference on Management of Natural Resources, Sustainable Development and Ecological Hazards – or Ravage of the Planet – has recently taken place in Selangor, Malaysia at the University of Teknologi Mara.
The meeting was co-organised by Professor Syed Zubir of the University of Teknologi Mara (UiTM) and Professor Carlos Brebbia of the Wessex Institute of Technology, UK, who also was the co-editor of the conference book.
Our modern civilization has emphasized the importance of dominating nature rather than trying to achieve a harmonious relationship with her. This has led to freely exploiting the natural resources in the name of technological advances and improving our standards of life while neglecting its quality.
The Ravage of the Planet conference aims to discuss the problems affecting our civilisation and try to find solutions. The meeting has been held previously in two very special locations; the 2006 conference was organised in Bariloche, Patagonia, and the second in Cape Town in 2009. Malaysia was deemed to be an appropriate location because of its multicultural environment as well as being a country that welcomes visitors from all parts of the world. The campus of UiTM in particular is an example that a large university can act with environmental and social responsibility.
The conference was opened by Professor Carlos Brebbia who pointed out the importance of these meetings for the aims of his Wessex Institute of Technology (WIT), which sees itself as a focus for the dissemination of knowledge. The emphasis of WIT’s work, Professor Brebbia explained, is on interdisciplinary research, bringing colleagues from different fields together. The Institute works in a series of joint projects including those supported by the European Union and other international organisations. It also carries out advanced consulting and research for industry, with particular reference to aerospace and energy. Collaboration with industry is one of the most important objectives of WIT and has led to the dissemination of advanced research in computational modelling, an area in which WIT has carried out pioneering work.
Professor Brebbia also referred to the importance of the WIT conference programme which comprises approximately 25 international meetings per year. The conferences are usually held in collaboration with other institutions, producing a series of volumes that are distributed around the world in hardback format as well as digital versions. All conference papers are also archived in WIT’s online library at http://library.witpress.com
Professor Brebbia ended by thanking UiTM for acting as a host, and to all delegates, particularly those who came from far away to this important and truly international conference.
The delegates were then welcomed by Dr Norsaadah Ismal, Deputy Vice Chancellor for International Relations of UiTM.
She referred to the importance of the conference in trying to solve or mitigate the negative impacts of human intervention on nature. These range from research topics in the sciences and humanities, political and social issues, planning and development, health and safety, ecology and natural resources and new technologies.
The objective of the conference is to see that some of the ideas presented will contribute to finding the solutions that are urgently needed to the fundamental problems facing our planet. An important aspect of meetings such as Ravage of the Planet is that it can transend the awareness of the scientific community’s current paradigm to arrive at solutions that bring us closer to nature.
The organisers expressed also their appreciation to UiTM for their hospitality in hosting the meeting in a friendly atmosphere which helped to establish the right climate for intellectual discussion and to foster further links among the delegates.
Invited PresentationsThere were a series of invited presentations during the conference as follows:
‘Ecosystem services approach for water framework directive implementation’
by M. C. Cunha, University of Coimbra, Portugal
‘Zero food miles super-circuit’
by S. S. Zubir, University of Teknologi Mara, Malaysia
‘Climate change induced decadal variations in hydrodynamic conditions and their influence on benthic habitats of the Estonian coastal sea’
by Ü. Suursaar, University of Tartu, Estonia
‘Air quality for a sustainable California, U.S.-Baja California, Mexico border region’
by M. Quintero-Núñez, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Mexico
The papers presented at the conference were classified under the following headings;
- Ecology and the environment
- Ecology and ecosystems
- Learning from nature
- Planning and development
- Socio-economic issues
- The built environment
- Water resources
- Air issues
- Sustainable tourism
- Nautical tourism and safety
- Disaster management
International Scientific Advisory Committee
The International Scientific Advisory Committee met over dinner at an excellent Arabic restaurant to discuss how the conference has progressed and to plan reconvening the meeting in two years time. A series of new topics were discussed as well as the need to emphasise that the authors ought to give their presentations in a way that can appeal to a wide range of disciplines: Ravage of the Planet being primarily an interdisciplinary meeting. Several possible locations for the 2013 conference were discussed, taking into account the importance of holding the meeting in emerging countries, rather than those in Europe or the USA.
The conference banquet took place in a well-known restaurant in Kuala Lumpur where an excellent buffet was offered as well as a show comprising different dances from various regions of multicultural Malaysia.
Excursion to Melaka
At the end of the conference the University of Teknologi Mara offered the delegates a complimentary excursion to the historic city of Melaka, which is considered one of the oldest cities in Malaysia. The Portuguese, the Dutch and the English have controlled the city for more than 450 years consecutively and left their imprint on its culture. The excursion comprised places such as Jonk Street with its many historical buildings; the Stadthuys town hall and governors’ residence, which is the oldest Dutch building in the East. They also saw the remains of A Formosa, a fort protecting the river built by the Portuguese and the oldest pieces of European Architecture in the whole of South East Asia.
The excursion made a stop on the way back in the Putrapaya, the new administrative capital city of Malaysia where participants enjoyed walking around the waterfront.
The conference was highly successful and characterised by its friendly atmosphere. It will be reconvened at a place and in a location to be decided shortly.
Publication of Papers
Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 148 of WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment (Online ISSN: 1746-448X). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com