Photo: Sofia Runarsdotter and Enrique Díaz / 7cero, Getty Images (modified)

The lecture will explore the history of the concept of the “environment” and how its meaning has changed. What is the environment? When was the term first used, in what contexts and by whom? How did it become so successful in science, in culture, in politics?

“The growing global youth movement and the UN climate summit last week show that we are living in a time of rapid change – environmentally, socially and geopolitically. It is therefore very timely to look back at the evolution of ‘the environment’ as a policy and political idea.”

— Åsa Persson, SEI Research Director

“We are honoured to have renowned historian Sverker Sörlin deliver this year’s Gordon Goodman Memorial Lecture. As SEI celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, it is also a chance for us to reflect on the changing concept of the environment and what this means for our future work”, said Åsa Persson, Research Director of SEI.

Event details

Date and time: 3 October 2019, 14.30–17.00 CEST
Venue: Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry, Stockholm


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Sverker Sörlin

Professor Sverker Sörlin.
Photo: Sofia Runarsdotte

Sverker Sörlin was Associate Director for the Center for History of Science in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (1988–1990), and the founding director of the Swedish Institute for Studies in Education and Research, SISTER (2000–2003).

From 2006 to 2009 he chaired the Swedish Committee for the International Polar Year.

From 1994 to 2018 he served on the Swedish Government’s Science Advisory Board under four research ministers, and he is currently a member of the Swedish Climate Policy Council.

Sverker has been active at prominent institutes and universities in several countries and has recently published a book on the history of the environment: The Environment – A History of the Idea.

The Gordon Goodman Memorial Lecture

This annual memorial lecture is held in honour of Gordon Goodman, founding director of the Beijer Institute at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (1977–1989) and Stockholm Environment Institute (1989–1991).