I have just returned from an excellent conference in Stockholm on Resilience, Adaptation, and Turbulent Times. To a certain extent, this conference marks a new stage in resilience science—the study of dynamic social-ecological systems—as it expands from academics into policy. I only wish I could have kept pace with the conference's sheer abundance of activity. Fortunately, many of talks are online (watch them here), several of which I’ve recently caught up with:
Steve Carpenter, of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, covers World-Ending Disasters, coping with uncertainty, and the many-fold uses of scenarios in approaching complex problems in “Scenarios: Imagination for Transformation”.
Martin Scheffer, from the Netherland’s Wageningen University, describes ‘tipping points’ in coral reefs, lakes, forests, and society more generally to show how surprise is often the norm in non-linear systems that pack big change in rapid events in his talk on “Critical Transitions”.
Will Steffen [no relation to Worldchanging editor Alex], of Australian National University and former Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), describes how humanity's Great Acceleration has inaugurated the Anthropocene, and its implications for geo-engineering, the precautionary principle, and other potential solutions in a talk titled “The Earth as a Social-Ecological System?”.
I have watched these three talks online, and recommend each of them highly—but there are many more to explore. Enjoy!
Wow, wish I could've been there! This is really where it's at. I'm glad complexity theory is making inroads into the sustainability discussion. We'd be lost without it.