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Event Details

Thursday, November 10

7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Despite dire warnings about human-driven global ecosystems collapse, our efforts to curb environmental destruction continue to fall short. What we do over the next decade will determine the fate of life on earth. Human’s unique physical and cognitive capacities have enabled our increasingly efficient exploitation of the environment through technology. Civilization’s advancement relies on the concomitant development of technology and science. These advances have improved the quality and duration of life for an increasing percentage of the human population. They have also led to our current planetary predicament. Technology and science today allow us to measure and track the state of our environment. We now understand the extent of damage caused by human activity and the critical situation we find ourselves in. The continuation of civilization will be enabled not by our collective regression, but by using our best technology, most advanced science, novel collaborations, and creativity to reframe our relationship with nature. GoodLands is one of the most internationally recognized emerging efforts among an increasing number of institutions, organizations, and individuals whose work embraces this integrative approach.

Molly Burhans is the founder of GoodLands. GoodLands is a social enterprise that helps organizations use and manage their properties to restore ecosystems and increase the well-being of people in their communities. GoodLands’ model has been recognized by the United Nations as one the most innovative, feasible, and scalable approaches to ecosystem restoration. It uses cutting edge technology to integrate a community’s needs and ideas with a foundational understanding of their property portfolio’s current and potential impacts. Our solutions incorporate emerging research from public health, environmental sciences, and economics.

GoodLands services were initially developed for the largest nongovernmental landholder in the world; the Catholic Church. Molly quickly learned that The Church also had not updated their record keeping systems in a long time. It turned out that the Vatican’s last map update was during the Holy Roman Empire. Before the age of thirty Molly led the development of the first digital map of the Catholic Church in history. She has since received Papal approval to trial-run a geographic institution in the Vatican. GoodLands created a climate solution that can be used to transform my organization’s real estate portfolios into positive forces for planetary change. The story behind how this all came to be is a wild adventure that has led Molly through the halls of Vatican palaces, slums in Nairobi, forested mountains owned by monasteries, and beyond.

Molly Burhans is an award-winning Catholic environmentalist, cartographer, and social entrepreneur. She is the founder of GoodLands, an organization whose mission is to mobilize the Catholic Church to use its land holdings for environmental and humanitarian good. Burhans was the chief cartographer for the first unified global map of the Church, which premièred at the Vatican in 2016. She is one of Encyclopedia Britannica's 2022 “20 Under 40,” a winner of the Sierra Club’s EarthCare Award, a U.N. Young Champion of the Earth, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and an Ashoka Fellow.