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General discussion on the course Please enter here any general comments you have on the course, issues it raises, and ways it could be improved. Use meaningful Titles. 4
by wclark
November 20. 2010
Help! Questions or issues with the site. For immediate needs, use the 'Contact' link at the top of all pages. 0 No conversations started
Suggest a topic for cross-institution collaboration Students taking the seminar for credit are required to write synthesis/review papers on specific topics of interest. We encourage collaborative efforts on these papers, but working together across institutions presents logistical challenges. Within this forum, you may champion a topic you are particularly interested in working on collaboratively with others. Provide a summary of the topic and build a case for why the topic is both important and relevant to the seminar. Other students can then respond if they are interested in working with you. Note that we will put some limit on the number of people who work together (5 perhaps). 2
by maruch
November 02. 2010
Sustainability Science Seminar Survey Feedback Below is a summary of the feedback received from participants in the 2010 Distributed Graduate Seminar on Sustainability Science. Please look through the results and feel free to offer any further comments or feedback you would like to include. This feedback will be used to inform the administration of a similar seminar in future years. 1
by chrising
January 03. 2011


Forum name Conversations Most recent comment
Session 1 - 09.13.2010 Introduction ASU: Moderator/ Minnesota: Seminar structure/ Harvard: Course content 0 No conversations started
Session 2 - 09.20.2010 Sustainability Science and Sustainable Development 5
by sheilasutton
October 04. 2010
Session 3 - 09.27.2010 Long term trends and transitions This is the discussion site for Session 3. 5
by sheilasutton
November 14. 2010
Session 4 - 10.04.2010 The human-environment system This is the discussion site for Session 4 on The Human-Environment System (Turner presenting, King moderating, Cambridge commenting) 8
by bodonogh
October 15. 2010
Session 5 – 10.11.2010 The environmental services that flow from natural capital (Speaker: Steve Carpenter) This session addresses the variety and inter-relationships of services derived from natural capital, and examines the structure, processes, and dynamics that control the provision of these services. 6
by oconn568
October 17. 2010
Session 6 – 10.18.2010 Divergent vs. convergent development models The divergent development model is characterized by intensive agriculture in some areas and discrete conservation parcels in others. This is presented by Perfecto and Vandermeer as the landsparing/agricultural intensification model. Convergent development models are characterized by spatial coincidence of agriculture and conservation. Perfecto and Vandermeer refer to this as the agroecological matrix model. 7
by martino
December 15. 2010
Session 7 – 10.25.2010 Human well-being, natural capital and sustainable development 5
by mattgburgess
November 01. 2010
Session 8 – 11.01.2010 Emergent properties of coupled human-environment systems 5
by tschenk
November 06. 2010
Session 9 – 11.08.2010 Institutions for managing human-environment systems This session provides an opportunity to explore the institutions -- the rules, norms, incentive structures, expectations, etc. -- by which people seek to govern or manage human-environment systems for sustainability. The authors of the book are grappling with several tensions here, as will be apparent in the readings. One of these concerns assumptions about the goals of human actors (hedonistic, communitarian, idealistic, etc.). Another concerns the place of rationality -- however broadly defined -- in individual and social decision making. Still another concerns the role of the state and its relation to other actors in the governance of human-environment systems. Finally, we are struggling to integrate our views on management problems that arise in the context of highly asymmetric externalities (eg. I release pollutants that hurt you much more than me) and those those that arise in the context of more symmetrical resource commons (we are both grazing the same pasture). Because our guest speaker, Elinor Ostrom, has been a leader in the study of institutions for the governance of resource commons, I suggest that we focus our discussions in the seminar session itself on that dimension of institutions, and reserve our reflections on cases of asymmetric pollution mostly for the web site. 5
by KLundquist
November 16. 2010
Session 10 – 11.15.2010 Worked examples of concepts in human-environment systems This session examines empirical examples of several characteristics or potential "emergent properties" of coupled human environment systems. These include 1) Networks and connectedness in CHESs and 2) Transformations of CHESs that involve multiple stressors and responses. In the case of system connectivity, understanding breaks in networks can inform where the system may be vulnerable. Displacement is an important type of breakage in social connectivity that merits particular attention and highlights the idea that connectivity in social systems can be considered a form of social capital. In the case of multiple stressors (including examples of "double exposure") that transform CHESs, a system may have so many components in a state of change that the path forward is noncomputable. Recognizing the unpredictably under such conditions leads to emphasis on developing adaptive capacity in the system. Both of these properties of coupled human environment systems bring focus to environmental justice and the question of "sustaining what for whom?". In this session, worked examples from pastoralists in Africa and displaced populations from the Three Gorges Dam in China provide opportunities to evaluate theoretical concepts with real systems and to form links between theory and practice. 4
by KBenessaiah
November 28. 2010
Session 11– 11.22.2010 Linking Knowledge with Action for Sustainability (Speaker: Bill Clark) The need for action agendas promoting sustainable development to mobilize appropriate science and technology has long been recognized. With few exceptions, however, the world still lacks dedicated, problem-driven R&D systems for sustainability comparable to those that exist for defense, energy, or health. The substantial 'local' knowledge so often relevant to sustainability is even less well mobilized. And too often the real needs of decision makers are not the needs that researchers assume them to have. Altogether, the potential contribution of knowledge to action in pursuit of sustainability is seldom realized. Fortunately, there are exceptions. This session will explore what has been learned about the nature of systems that are relatively effective in linking knowledge with action for sustainability. 5
by tschenk
November 28. 2010
Session 12 – 11.29.2010 Metrics for sustainable development 5
by Agharley
December 13. 2010
Session 13 – 12.06.2010 Core questions of sustainability science This session will focus on identifying and discussing candidate "core questions" of sustainability science. Our goal with "core questions" is to highlight topics ripe for research that would promote fundamental, generalizable understanding of social-environmental systems with special attention to the subset of that understanding relevant to sustainability. We distinguish such "core questions" from the "grand challenges" (such as those identified by the Gates Foundation for global health) which we seek to mobilize knowledge in ways that directly improve technologies or policies and ultimately outcomes that directly advance sustainability in particular contexts the world. We invite all members of the seminar to enter their candidate "core questions" here, and to comment on the questions that others have posted. It would be helpful if you could associate each question, in the title bar, with the numbered topic from the assigned reading with which it is most closely associated. Of course, if you have questions that don't fit the template you should post them anyway. We ask each member of the seminar to post at least one specific question before the seminar session. Make the title of your posting a question, and then provide as much specificity as you can (including if appropriate references to key literature) in the text of the message. Thanks. BC 30
by tschenk
December 11. 2010
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