Open to the Public

Sepia toned Lauren Lambert, smiling, arms crossed wearing a leather coat and lots of cool rings
Lauren Lambert, Ph.D, founder of FutureNow (and MIIS Alumna, Intl. Environmental Policy 2015)

Effective collaboration and cooperation across difference are at the heart of present and future sustainability challenges and solutions. 

Empathy: Using Cognition to Enhance Collaboration for Sustainability
Speaker:  Lauren Lambert, Ph.D, founder of FutureNow 
Tuesday, April 9, 2024
12:30pm to 1:30pm Pacific Time
Online via Zoom (details below)

About the topic

Collaboration among social groups (intragenerational), across time (intergenerational), and across species (interspecies) is central to achieving sustainability transitions in the 21st century. 

In practice, there are three types of differences that limit collaboration and cooperation toward sustainability outcomes: differences among social groups, differences across time, and differences across species. 

Each of these differences have corresponding cognitive biases that challenge collaboration. Social cognitive biases challenge collaboration among social groups; temporal cognitive biases challenge collaboration across time; and anthropocentric cognitive biases challenge collaboration across species. 

In this work, I present three correctives to collaboration challenges spanning the social, temporal, and species cognitive biases through intervention-specific methods that build beyond traditional framings of empathy, toward social, futures, and ecological empathy. 

By re-theorizing empathy across these domains, I seek to construct a multidimensional theory of empathy for sustainability, and suggest methods to build it, to bridge differences among people, time horizons, and species for sustainability practice.

About the Speaker

Lauren Lambert has over 15 years of experience in global risk assessment, sustainability, responsible innovation, organizational development and governance.  As a futurist and social scientist, she specializes in designing learning environments that foster meaningful transformation in organizations, governments and on small teams.  In addition to a successful career in marine insurance, her work over the last decade includes working with the World Resources Institute, International Tropical Timber Organization, National Institutes of Health, National Academies of Sciences, Arizona State University,  School for the Future of Innovation & Society and the Konrad Lorenz Institute of Cognition and Learning, alongside multiple local and regionally based community sustainability and policy research initiatives across the globe. 

Lauren Lambert  is the founder of  FutureNow.  She completed her MA degrees in International Environmental Policy and Public Administration at MIIS in 2015.

Recommended Reading

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Contact Rachel Christopherson at the Center for the Blue Economy at or (831) 647-4183.

Gratitude to Our Sponsor

We thank the Nancy Eccles and Homer M. Hayward Family Foundation.

About the Host:  the Center for the Blue Economy

The Center for the Blue Economy is a research center at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.  Our mission is to provide economic and policy analysis that supports the development of a robust and equitable blue economy for the 21st century. The Center uses the World Bank’s definition of the Blue Economy: the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health. 

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