Challenges science 1
CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES IN SUSTAINABILITY SCIENCE
Friday Afternoon Topics: Sustainability Science
The group brainstormed questions they wanted to discuss, wrote them on slips of paper and put them in a box. Moderator Nathan Coutsoubos, from UAF, grouped the questions. People selected the cluster of questions they wished to discuss during two sessions of informal, round-table break-out conversations. The questions served as guidelines only, and often discussions went in unanticipated directions. Conclusions of the discussions were presented to the entire group on summary slides.
- How do we define resilient systems? Persistence: of what, to what? Recovery? Stage of development?
- What does measuring / quantifying resilience imply for social-ecological systems?
- Is resilience theory “an” / “the” appropriate conceptual framework for sustainability?
- Resilience theory and social systems: does “resilience” work?
B. Sustainability: Definitions and Conditions – presentation
- What is sustainability and how is it different? Is it a new paradigm?
- How can there be “sustainability science” if “sustainability” is conceptually impossible to obtain?
- Sustainability of what, for whom?
- Non-human factors influencing sustainability (e.g., disease)?
- Is sustainability a myth?
- Does sustainability imply a dynamic or steady state?
- Is sustainability compatible with natural selection?
- Sustainable development: compatible (or not) with the natural environment? At what spatial and temporal scales?
C. Sustainability Metrics – presentation
- Metrics of sustainability: what are they? How do you get them?
- What are some common indicators of sustainability that work across disciplines with different standards of evidence?
- Validation of methods: how to distinguish success from arm waving?
- How do we identify if a system has enough flexibility?
D. Simulations and Models - presentation
- What is the role of computers, simulations, and modeling in research?
- Value of systems and modeling to sustainability science?
- Use of quantitative, probabilistic models to inform decision-making?
- How can sustainability make use of simulations and computational social tools?
- Integration of ethnographic research and modeling of social-ecological systems?
E. Sustainable Energy
[This discussion was cancelled]
- Sustainable energy research.
- Sustainable energy generation.
F. Values and the Goals of Sustainability -- notes
- Value systems and place: does environment / biodiversity shape values?
- Do we manage based on past or present conditions? Maintain or restore ecosystems? Just monitor instead?
- What does cross-scale research entail? What does it mean? How do we do it?
- Decision-making across scales: does change for individuals aggregate to regional and global change? Modeling methods?
- Making cities sustainable and beautiful: what would the ideal future look like? Consider density of people, green / blue space, energy source, etc.
- Urbanized ecosystems and the ecology of design. Is there a synergy between the design process and the scientific method?
- Urban water ecosystems: riparian and marine.
I. Policy, Politics, and Sustainability – presentation 1
- Disconnects between policy and technology.
- How to implement sustainability recommendations and policy in the developing world?
- How to maintain ecological function and biodiversity while managing public and commercial use?
- Policy, politics, and sustainability: what role should local, state, and national governments have?
J. Sustainability, Climate Change, and Uncertainty – presentation
- How do we think about sustainability in the context of global climate change and uncertainty?
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