Global menu



Montréal, May 21, 2020 - 

On World Environment Day, June 5, 2020, for which Montreal is the North American host city, Espace pour la vie and the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are organizing a virtual event to reflect on and imagine the future of our planet (our cities, our spaces) as well as the cohabitation between species on Earth, humans included. With this event, Espace pour la vie reinforces its commitment toward protecting biodiversity and takes its mission outside its walls with the ultimate goal of urging citizens to take action. Espace pour la vie also wants to play an even greater role in environmental projects that concern our society.


For this exceptional virtual meeting called Unlocking Human Potential for Biodiversity, the CBD and Espace pour la vie are honoured to bring together four committed scientists on a unique panel: Anne-Sophie Gousse-Lessard, a researcher in social and environmental psychology; humanitarian author Matthieu Ricard; Stanley T. Asah, researcher in conservation psychology; and environmental activist Vandana Shiva.


A relevant and essential reflection on what it means to “live together”

This event urges us to take a step back, in the present context, to explore ways to tap into the human potential to preserve biodiversity and get closer to nature in order to guide our future actions. Participants from various backgrounds (scientists, artists, educators, citizens, activists and Aboriginals) from Quebec, Canada and abroad will reflect on the subject of the environment. What is our collective relationship to nature? To biodiversity? What should be the focus of our collective attention? What types of projects should we pursue?


An event open to the general public via social networks

The general public will be able to watch the live panel discussion as privileged witnesses of the reflection. Espace pour la vie will broadcast the panel discussion on Facebook Live.

Friday, June 5

10:30 am to 11:15 am - Panel discussion on Facebook Live*


*The entire 3-hour event will be available on our Web site after the event.

For more information or to watch the panel discussion:


#Act4Biodiversity | #ForNature




“In the exceptional situation we are currently experiencing, our humble goal, with this event, is to take a step forward, all together, by opening a productive dialogue with multiple speakers in order to imagine, build and inspire a future based on solidarity and benevolence," said Charles-Mathieu Brunelle, Director of Espace pour la vie.


“The City of Montreal is very proud to host World Environment Day in North America. Cities have a major role to play in the ecological transition, whether in terms of mobility, greening, the reduction of greenhouse gases, or education. This virtual event will promote joint efforts to find solutions to make cities more resilient to climate change,” said Laurence Lavigne Lalonde, responsible for ecological transition and resilience, Espace pour la vie, and urban agriculture within the Executive Committee of the City of Montreal.


“It is urgent that we all act to build a way of life in harmony with nature, which is the basis for a resilient and sustainable global economy. This event will be an opportunity for us to work together and put forward the solutions that are found in nature," said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity.”


Panelist Bios

Anne-Sophie Gousse-Lessard

Anne-Sophie completed a PhD in social and environmental psychology and held a postdoctoral fellowship on adaptation to climate change. She is now an associate professor at the Institut des sciences de l'environnement (ISE) at UQAM and a research fellow at the Centre de recherche en éducation et formation relative à l'environnement et à l'écocitoyenneté (Centr'ERE). She also holds the chair on the ecological transition at UQAM and is a research officer with the Réseau inondations intersectoriel du Québec (RIISQ). Her research interests include the motivational processes, levers and barriers related to behaviour changes (individual and collective) and eco-citizenship. She is particularly interested in sustainable mobility (via the Chantier auto-solo), eco-anxiety and activism from a social transformation standpoint. Anne-Sophie Gousse-Lessard is a lecturer, a speaker and she writes blogs for the Unpointcinq media. She is also involved in the board of directors of the Réseau des femmes en environnement.


Matthieu Ricard

A Buddhist monk, author, photographer, scientist and initiator of humanitarian projects in Asia, Matthieu Ricard also has a PhD in cell genetics. During a trip to India in 1967, Matthieu Ricard met Tibetan spiritual masters. After settling in the Himalayas in 1972 following his thesis in cell genetics at the Pasteur Institute, he became a monk in 1979 and went on to serve as a French interpreter for the Dalai Lama in 1989. He has given numerous conferences, including a dozen at the World Economic Forum in Davos and at the United Nations. A prolific author, Matthieu Ricard participates actively, as a scientist and Buddhist monk, in scientific research in neuroscience on the effects of meditation on the brain. He has co-published several scientific papers on this subject. As a photographer, he has published a dozen albums and donates all of his rights to the humanitarian association Karuna-Shechen, which he founded. In 2019, this organization helped more than 380,000 people in Tibet in the areas of education, health and social services.


Stanley T. Asah

Stanley Asah is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington specializing in Human Dimensions of Natural Resource Management with a focus on Conservation Psychology. He studies the ways to orient human behavior, organizational behavior, and political behavior toward sustainability and conservation outcomes. His interests in the human dimensions of conservation include topics such as: how to connect people—especially children—to the outdoors; effective strategies for motivating pro-environmental behaviors; social responses to environmental hazards such as wildland fire; the social impacts and social acceptability of renewable energy systems; how people benefit from ecosystems and how those benefits could serve as motivators of environmental stewardship behaviors. He is also interested in how to use the psychological sciences, including social marketing and persuasive communication, to initiate, direct and sustain pro-environmental behaviors such as energy conservation and efficiency.


Vandana Shiva

Vandana Shiva is an Indian scholar and an environmental activist who has dedicated nearly five decades of her life to the protection of biodiversity. Shiva completed and received a PhD in the foundations of quantum theory at the University of Western Ontario. Her scientific research and work in biodiversity conservation with local communities, especially women, has allowed her to evolve a paradigm of oneness and non-separability, which she refers to as the “biodiversity of the mind”. Her work has shown how, through the conservation of biodiversity, humans can produce more food, better health, reduce hunger, disease and poverty. Currently based in Delhi where she established the Earth University and a biodiversity conservation farm, she has authored more than twenty books, is one of the leaders and board members of the International Forum on Globalization, and a figure of the global solidarity movement referred to as the Earth Democracy movement. She received numerous awards for her service to the Earth, the protection of biodiversity and people’s rights.


A project of Space for Life’s Laboratory of Possibilities

Unlocking Human Potential for Biodiversity is a project initiated by the Laboratory of Possibilities, an open innovation exchange space created by Espace pour la vie in 2020 that rallies stakeholders from all walks of life to devise creative solutions related to biodiversity, sustainable development and climate change. The Laboratory of Possibilities will have the power to fast-track innovative projects created for the benefit of the planet in concert with citizens, experts, employees, agencies and organizations, urging people to take action.


Espace pour la vie

Espace pour la vie is made up of four attractions on the same site: the Biodôme, the Insectarium, the Botanical Garden and the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium. These four prestigious municipal institutions form Canada's largest natural science museum complex. Together, they are launching a daring, creative urban movement, encouraging all of us to rethink the connection between humankind and nature and cultivate a new way of living.


Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity

Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and entering into force in December 1993, the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty for the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources. With 196 Parties, the Convention has near universal participation among countries. The Convention seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change, through scientific assessments, the development of tools, incentives and processes, the transfer of technologies and good practices and the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders including indigenous and local communities, youth, NGOs, women and the business community. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is a supplementary agreement to the Convention that seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. To date, 163 Parties and the European Union have ratified the Cartagena Protocol. The Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and its Cartagena Protocol are based in Montreal. For more information, go to


- 30 -

Contact our team

Diep Truong
Exergue Communications
514 524-7348
Chantal Côté
Space for Life
514 872-2227
Johan Hedlund
514 287-6670

Add this