SYMP 5-3
Complexity theory: Integrating social, human and ecological dynamics

Tuesday, August 11, 2015: 9:00 AM
308, Baltimore Convention Center
Simon A. Levin, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

As the human population continues to increase, with effects magnified by increasing per capita demands on Earth's limited resources, we must address the degree to which Earth's systems are sustainable.  The scientific challenges posed by this simply stated goal are enormous, and cross disciplines.  Of particular importance is how we maintain the Global Commons, and sustain the public goods and common -pool resources essential to our well-being.   This challenge is especially difficult because of the character of the coupled human-environmental system as a complex-adaptive system, made up of independent agents with individual selfish agendas.


Ecological and socioeconomic systems are two sides of the same coin, with competition for limited resources, exploitation,cooperation, and the emergence of macroscopic patterns at the system level.  This lecture will explore the relationships in such complex adaptive systems between microscopic processes and macroscopic patterns, and address the great challenge of achieving cooperation at global levels with regard to public goods and common pool resources, building on extending local solutions to the global level.