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The POLIS Project on Ecological Governance is a centre for transdisciplinary research that investigates and promotes sustainability. POLIS was established in 2000 by the Eco-Research Chair of Environmental Law and Policy at the University of Victoria and and became part of the Centre for Global Studies in 2011. POLIS fills a unique niche on campus as a place where academic and policy research meets community action. As POLIS researchers, we work together with a diversity of people in different ways – urban and rural communities, First Nations, Aboriginal organizations, businesses, co-operatives, public officials and the non-profit sector – to foster healthy and sustainable communities.
The POLIS mission is to cultivate ecological governance through innovative research, policy analysis and strategic advocacy, law reform, education and community action. Ecological governance offers alternatives to linear, extractive, and unsustainable systems – alternatives that are circular, reflective and self-sustaining in ways that reduce urban demands on distant and local ecosystems. For our communities to become sustainable, we must re-imagine and re-invent our systems of governance. At POLIS, we don’t see ecological governance as a choice, but as an imperative for the 21st century.
Providing a forum for cross-disciplinary dialogue, collaborative research, and socially engaged scholarship on ecological governance is the thrust and continuity in our work – whether it be investigating the shift from supply to demand management in our use of water, re-imagining new forms of urban “smart growth” such as the “planetary university,” developing research protocols and collaborative partnerships between the university and First Nation communities, or reforming environmental laws. Our work at POLIS is designed to liberate the potential where people in place work together to develop sustainability in that place. This basic ethos motivates our research, policy analysis and advocacy, education and community action.
POLIS gratefully acknowledges the support of our main sponsors and the University of Victoria: