Damian Winters

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki

Hi everyone. I'm excited to meet you all shortly and I am happy to be part of this group. I became interested in the subject through undergraduate and graduate research on environmental change and the implications for social systems. I recently graduated from the University for Peace (in Costa Rica) where I did my MA in Environmental Security and Peace. My thesis used complex systems theories to explore the types of management structures used for measurement and evaluation of environmental peacemaking programs. I generally found that the organizational structures were too rigid to sustain long-term programs. I think I really became interested in the topic when I picked up Panarchy by Gunderson and Holling. This book influenced the way I thought about organization and change in the environment (excluding humans) and the similarities that can be drawn to social systems. Also, the Complex Forest by Carol Colfer, was a great example of trying to apply the theories through participatory action research. I am now finishing up work with an international development organization where I was helping to build robust, multi-stakeholder development programs that could withstand perturbations in the economic, political, and social arenas.

There are several things that I would like to look at during this summer program:

  • How complex adaptive systems modeling can better inform environmental peacemaking initiatives;
  • Social system hierarchies and points where change can occur;
  • The differences between systems that move towards optimization and those that move towards improvement;
  • Creating Boolean functions that reflect an adaptive approach to environmental management and the constraints in doing so;
  • and a larger interest of mine is how does spirituality fit into all of this?

My expertise will come mostly from my background in real-world applications of complex adaptive systems theories. I hope that by the end of the summer I will have a better sense of how CS could provide alternative management systems for environmental peacemaking projects. I am also eager to learn about how people in other fields will view and use this knowledge. I do not have a concrete idea for a project just yet but I am looking forward to coming up with projects in such an interdisciplinary group.

See you soon!