I’m not an ecologist. However, my interests in the systems sciences has connected me to the research originating with the Resilience Alliance. I decided to make time to educate myself in the current research presented at Resilience 2011: The Second International Science and Policy Conference, at Arizona State University in Tempe.
As an additional contribution to learning, I’ve posted digests of the talks that I’ve attended on the Coevolving Commons. I habitually type notes into my laptop during meetings. Some people find these digests helpful, to gain a high-level appreciation of content before committing more time to watching a video, or reading an article. (On the digest pages for plenary talks, I’ve provided links back to speakers’ videos and slides).
Attending a 5-day meeting in person enables a rich immersion of ideas in a domain. I got to see, up close, some people whose work is worth knowing about, including …
- Buzz Holling, in a panel with Kathleen Sutcliffe and Andrew King on “Resilience in Business“;
- Brian Walker, increasing scientific rigour, introducing “Resilience Propositions on Trial” (in advance of a later panel);
- Garry Peterson, leading a panel on “Social Ecological Regime Shifts and Transformation“;
- Martin Scheffer, providing background history as “Resilience Revisited“;
- Joe Tainter, framing complexity in human societies in “Resources and Societies: Past and Futures“; and
- Elinor Ostrom — a Nobel prize laureate in economics — on “Thinking about the Future: A Social-Ecological Systems Approach to Sustainability“
… plus many other talks over the four days. (I caught a plane eastbound on the fifth day, so I missed a few plenary talks).
Since I didn’t expect that the resilience science community would necessarily know about the systems sciences, I contributed a talk on “Natural systems, service systems: Scientific perspectives on redesigning social-ecological systems“.
Learning about a new field can be a challenge. One approach is to start low on a scale of legitimate peripheral participation, watch for commonalities and patterns to emerge.