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{{Theory and Knowledge Systems for Sustainability}}
 
{{Theory and Knowledge Systems for Sustainability}}
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Theory and Knowledge Systems for Sustainability Science
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22-24 October 2013
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A workshop co-sponsored by the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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Organizers: Nina Fedoroff (KAUST and SFI), Molly Jahn (University of Wisconsin), Luis Bettencourt (Santa Fe Institute), and Margaret Collins (IIASA)
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Over the next two or three decades, urbanization, global infrastructure expansion and increases in consumption will require vast capital investments, locking in patterns of demand and supply for decades to come, with profound implications for climate change and the Earth’s environment. It is increasingly recognized that decisions at the smallest spatial and time scales aggregate to shape global long-term trajectories.  Yet sustainability challenges are often focused on improving “fast” variables, such as crop yield and water quality, without recognition of slower, underlying dynamics, such as the supporting ecosystem services.  The workshop will explore the kinds of experimental approaches that will build our ability to recognize, describe and intentionally manage slow variables in physically, biologically and sociologically complex systems that affect humanity’s ability to satisfy its needs sustainably. A mature, predictive science of sustainability, robustly grounded in complex systems theory, is needed to guide the exploitation of Earth’s resources toward a more sustainable operating space for both people and the planet. 
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This workshop brings together leaders from SFI, IIASA and the broader research community to consider a framework for systematic inquiry to undergird predictive, hypothesis-driven, empirically testable practice.  We will begin by exploring the current state of relevant theory and practice at the land/water/energy/climate nexus.  We will use geographically delimited cases to illustrate the development and application of open, learning, knowledge systems that capture the progression from data and information to models and theory. We will focus on identifying what we are still missing in terms of theory and practice in a science of sustainability that can enable insights and infrastructure to better empower individuals and communities in both developed and developing world to pursue trajectories that maximize human well-being while minimizing irreversible damage to the Earth’s environment.
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Draft Program
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Day 1
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Arrival by late afternoon, evening dinner and reception, opening remarks by Jerry Sabloff
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Day 2
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9:00  Opening remarks and workshop objectives: Pavel Kabat, IIASA Director and CEO, Nina Fedoroff (KAUST and SFI), Molly Jahn (U. Wisc.), Luis Bettencourt (SFI) and Margaret Collins IIASA
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Session I: The current state of sustainability science (Moderator: Sander van den Leeuw)
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9:30-10:30 Discussion Panel 1:  Are there theoretical foundations for sustainability science?
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Panelists:  Simon Levin (Princeton University, Bill Clark (Harvard University), Geoff West, SFI
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Format: 10 minutes for comments followed by discussion
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10:30-11:00  Coffee Break
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11:00-12:00 Discussion Panel 2: How do theory and practice interface today and where is there a need for new approaches? 
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Panelists: Tom Wilbanks (Oak Ridge Labs), Pam Matson (Stanford), Nebojsa Nakicenovic (IIASA), Ulf Dieckmann (IIASA)
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Format: 10 minutes for comments followed by discussion
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12:00-1:00 Working Lunch
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Remarks by Pavel Kabat:  Integrating theory and knowledge systems into the global water futures initiative
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Session II: Case studies and what can be learned from them (Moderator: Tony Janetos)
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1:00-3:00 Discussion Panel 3: Case studies toward sustainability in complex social-ecological systems
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Panelists:  Bronwyn Harch, CSIRO; Harry Kolar, IBM; Bob Scholes (CSIR, South Africa).
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Format: 15 minutes for comments followed by discussion
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3:00-3:30 Coffee Break
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3:30-4:30 Discussion Panel 4: What hypotheses about moving to sustainability emerge from case studies?
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Panelists: Jen Dunne, SFI; Ilan Chabay, Inst Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam; Michael Obersteiner (IIASA)
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Format:  5 minutes for comments followed by discussion
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6:30 Wine & cheese at Nina Fedoroff’s home
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7:30 Conference dinner at Santa Café
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Day 3
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Session III: Urbanization and its implications for sustainability (Moderator TBD)
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9:00-10:30 Discussion Panel 5: Urbanization and urban systems: ecological impacts and innovation potential.
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Panelists: Luis Bettencourt, SFI; Jessika Trancik, MIT; Ann Kinzig, Arizona State
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Format: 10 minutes for comments followed by discussion
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10:30-11:00 Coffee break
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Session IV: From practice to theory and theory to practice (Moderator: Simon Levin)
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1:00-2:00 Discussion Panel 6: Critical transitions in complex social-ecological systems.
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Panelists: Elena Rovenskaya (IIASA), Vasilis Dakos, Estación Biológica de Doñana, Omar Knio, Duke Univ. and KAUST
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Format: 10 minutes for comments followed by discussion
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12:00-1:00 Lunch Break
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2:00-3:00 Discussion Panel 7: Defining and staying in a safe operating space
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Katherine Richardson, Univ of Copenhagen; Deb Neimeyer, UC Davis; John Antle, Oregon State University
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Format: 10 minutes for comments followed by discussion
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3:00-3:30 Coffee Break
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3:30-4:30 Discussion Panel 8: Bringing theory to practice and application (Moderator: Molly Jahn)
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Are we monitoring the right parameters? How will we know when we are in a safe operating space for humanity? How do we more effectively integrate theoretical and data-based modeling through experimentation?  What does such an experiment look like in a complex socio-ecological system?
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Discussants: Sander van den Leeuw, Arizona State University; Pavel Kabat, IIASA ; Molly Jahn, Univ of Wisconsin
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Format: Discussion
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Participants
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John Antle, Oregon State University
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Luis Bettencourt, SFI
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Ilan Chabay, Inst Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam
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Bill Clark, Harvard
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Margaret Goud Collins, IIASA
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Vasilis Dakos, Estación Biológica de Doñana
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Ulf Dieckmann, IIASA
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Robbert Djikgraaf, Institute for Advanced Studies
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Jennifer Dunne, SFI
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Nina Fedoroff, SFI and KAUST
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Bronwyn Harch, CSIRO
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Molly Jahn, Univ. WI
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Pavel Kabat, IIASA
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Ann Kinzig, Arizona State University
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Omar Knio, Duke Univ. and KAUST
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Harry Kolar, IBM
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Simon Levin, Princeton
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Pam Matson, Stanford
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Nebojsa Nakicenovic, IIASA
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Deb Niemeier, UC Davis
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Michael Obersteiner, IIASA
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Katherine Richardson, Univ. of Copenhagen
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Elena Rovenskaya, IIASA
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Jerry Sabloff, SFI
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Bob Scholes, CSIR
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Jessica Trancik, MIT
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Sander Van der Leeuw,
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Geoffrey West, SFI
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Tom Wilbanks, ORNL

Revision as of 18:21, 28 August 2013

Workshop Navigation

Theory and Knowledge Systems for Sustainability Science 22-24 October 2013 A workshop co-sponsored by the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) Organizers: Nina Fedoroff (KAUST and SFI), Molly Jahn (University of Wisconsin), Luis Bettencourt (Santa Fe Institute), and Margaret Collins (IIASA) Over the next two or three decades, urbanization, global infrastructure expansion and increases in consumption will require vast capital investments, locking in patterns of demand and supply for decades to come, with profound implications for climate change and the Earth’s environment. It is increasingly recognized that decisions at the smallest spatial and time scales aggregate to shape global long-term trajectories. Yet sustainability challenges are often focused on improving “fast” variables, such as crop yield and water quality, without recognition of slower, underlying dynamics, such as the supporting ecosystem services. The workshop will explore the kinds of experimental approaches that will build our ability to recognize, describe and intentionally manage slow variables in physically, biologically and sociologically complex systems that affect humanity’s ability to satisfy its needs sustainably. A mature, predictive science of sustainability, robustly grounded in complex systems theory, is needed to guide the exploitation of Earth’s resources toward a more sustainable operating space for both people and the planet. This workshop brings together leaders from SFI, IIASA and the broader research community to consider a framework for systematic inquiry to undergird predictive, hypothesis-driven, empirically testable practice. We will begin by exploring the current state of relevant theory and practice at the land/water/energy/climate nexus. We will use geographically delimited cases to illustrate the development and application of open, learning, knowledge systems that capture the progression from data and information to models and theory. We will focus on identifying what we are still missing in terms of theory and practice in a science of sustainability that can enable insights and infrastructure to better empower individuals and communities in both developed and developing world to pursue trajectories that maximize human well-being while minimizing irreversible damage to the Earth’s environment.

Draft Program Day 1 Arrival by late afternoon, evening dinner and reception, opening remarks by Jerry Sabloff Day 2 9:00 Opening remarks and workshop objectives: Pavel Kabat, IIASA Director and CEO, Nina Fedoroff (KAUST and SFI), Molly Jahn (U. Wisc.), Luis Bettencourt (SFI) and Margaret Collins IIASA Session I: The current state of sustainability science (Moderator: Sander van den Leeuw) 9:30-10:30 Discussion Panel 1: Are there theoretical foundations for sustainability science? Panelists: Simon Levin (Princeton University, Bill Clark (Harvard University), Geoff West, SFI Format: 10 minutes for comments followed by discussion 10:30-11:00 Coffee Break 11:00-12:00 Discussion Panel 2: How do theory and practice interface today and where is there a need for new approaches? Panelists: Tom Wilbanks (Oak Ridge Labs), Pam Matson (Stanford), Nebojsa Nakicenovic (IIASA), Ulf Dieckmann (IIASA) Format: 10 minutes for comments followed by discussion 12:00-1:00 Working Lunch

Remarks by Pavel Kabat:  Integrating theory and knowledge systems into the global water futures initiative 

Session II: Case studies and what can be learned from them (Moderator: Tony Janetos) 1:00-3:00 Discussion Panel 3: Case studies toward sustainability in complex social-ecological systems Panelists: Bronwyn Harch, CSIRO; Harry Kolar, IBM; Bob Scholes (CSIR, South Africa). Format: 15 minutes for comments followed by discussion 3:00-3:30 Coffee Break 3:30-4:30 Discussion Panel 4: What hypotheses about moving to sustainability emerge from case studies? Panelists: Jen Dunne, SFI; Ilan Chabay, Inst Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam; Michael Obersteiner (IIASA) Format: 5 minutes for comments followed by discussion 6:30 Wine & cheese at Nina Fedoroff’s home 7:30 Conference dinner at Santa Café

Day 3 Session III: Urbanization and its implications for sustainability (Moderator TBD) 9:00-10:30 Discussion Panel 5: Urbanization and urban systems: ecological impacts and innovation potential. Panelists: Luis Bettencourt, SFI; Jessika Trancik, MIT; Ann Kinzig, Arizona State Format: 10 minutes for comments followed by discussion

10:30-11:00 Coffee break

Session IV: From practice to theory and theory to practice (Moderator: Simon Levin) 1:00-2:00 Discussion Panel 6: Critical transitions in complex social-ecological systems. Panelists: Elena Rovenskaya (IIASA), Vasilis Dakos, Estación Biológica de Doñana, Omar Knio, Duke Univ. and KAUST Format: 10 minutes for comments followed by discussion 12:00-1:00 Lunch Break 2:00-3:00 Discussion Panel 7: Defining and staying in a safe operating space Katherine Richardson, Univ of Copenhagen; Deb Neimeyer, UC Davis; John Antle, Oregon State University Format: 10 minutes for comments followed by discussion 3:00-3:30 Coffee Break 3:30-4:30 Discussion Panel 8: Bringing theory to practice and application (Moderator: Molly Jahn) Are we monitoring the right parameters? How will we know when we are in a safe operating space for humanity? How do we more effectively integrate theoretical and data-based modeling through experimentation? What does such an experiment look like in a complex socio-ecological system? Discussants: Sander van den Leeuw, Arizona State University; Pavel Kabat, IIASA ; Molly Jahn, Univ of Wisconsin Format: Discussion Participants

John Antle, Oregon State University Luis Bettencourt, SFI Ilan Chabay, Inst Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam Bill Clark, Harvard Margaret Goud Collins, IIASA Vasilis Dakos, Estación Biológica de Doñana Ulf Dieckmann, IIASA Robbert Djikgraaf, Institute for Advanced Studies Jennifer Dunne, SFI Nina Fedoroff, SFI and KAUST Bronwyn Harch, CSIRO Molly Jahn, Univ. WI Pavel Kabat, IIASA Ann Kinzig, Arizona State University Omar Knio, Duke Univ. and KAUST Harry Kolar, IBM Simon Levin, Princeton Pam Matson, Stanford Nebojsa Nakicenovic, IIASA Deb Niemeier, UC Davis Michael Obersteiner, IIASA Katherine Richardson, Univ. of Copenhagen Elena Rovenskaya, IIASA Jerry Sabloff, SFI Bob Scholes, CSIR Jessica Trancik, MIT Sander Van der Leeuw, Geoffrey West, SFI Tom Wilbanks, ORNL