Resilience 2011 --  Resilience, Innovation and Sustainability:  Navigating the Complexities of Global Change -- Second International Science and Policy Conference -- March 11-16, 2011

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker's presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, by David Ing.


  • Oran Young, Bren School, UC Santa Barbara
  • Today is his birthday

[Oran Young]

Restructuring talk, based on talk by Bill Clark, but then thought Lin Ostrom would take care of that

Then question from last talk about scaling up and scaling down, in governance

  • Question dear to my heart
  • Have had discussions with Lin Ostrom for many years

Initiative on Earth System Research for Global Sustainability, with two large science organization

  • ICSU
  • ISSC
  • And two funding organizations
  • Applied adaptive management
  • Want to reconfigure global community in three ways
  • 1. Produce usable knowledge, readily recognizable, immediately useful
  • 2. Coordinate and encourage a common focus for research across a diverse set of actors and players in global environmental change (like a common framework, comparable)
  • 3. Engage a new generation of younger researchers

Where has the global environmental change community come from?

  • Over 30 years
  • 1979 WCRP

Put into a wiring diagram

Joining of the physical sciences and life sciences into earth systems science

Next challenge

  • Learning to live sustainability int he Anthropocene
  • Marten Scheffer referred to Holocene
  • Characterized by dramatic fluctuations, human enterprise
  • Rapid depletion of natural capital


  • Biophysical
  • Anthropogenic

Depletion of natural capital

  • Spending down our inheritance

Idea of planetary boundaries popularized by Rockstrom 2009 in Nature

  • Reaching tipping points

Need to move beyond Earth System Science to integrate social sciences fully

From Amsterdam Declaration of 2001

  • Earth systems ... physical, chemical, biological and human components
  • Action is required to formalize, consolidate ...
  • Have't fulfilled this well

Ten years ago, started Earth System Visioning Process

  • Dual initiative, one out of science community, and one from the Belmont Forum (a funders group)
  • Combination of bottom-up and top-down

Came up with a set of grand challenges by ICSU

Engines of research as core programs

  • A number of these will be reaching their end of life over the next few years
  • An opportunity to roll over

How to proceed?

  • Need full partnership among producers, users and funders
  • A new social contract:  coproduction of knowledge, not just about finding better methods to communicate, it's about an end to end relationship including framing of questions
  • A common paradigm:  As Dana Meadows says, to think in systems; maybe beyond coupled systems (just studying linkages) or socio-ecological systems, e.g. governance in arm-waving
    • Movement towards general systems theory, not just coupled systems
    • Need to frame questions that can be answered only through collaboration
    • Interested in human/environment relations based on the concept of stewardship
  • An inspirational research program
    • Building on the grand challenges
    • e.g. IHOPE

Paris Accord, Feburary 2011

  • Created a single brand:  Earth System Research for Global Sustainability
  • Did we arrive at a lasting consensus?

At 2012, launch at the Planet under Pressure Conference


Tucson area.  Strategy to bring researchers from insecurities, into local.

  • Prisoners of organizational structures.
  • ASU is trying to break out of that
  • Incentives around home disciplines
  • Inspiration?  Runs on voluntary effort

Handling fundamental development questions?

Integrating scientific findings into policy?

  • Science as one stream into policy

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2011/03/15 09:55 Oran Young, "Earth System Research for Global Sustainability", Resilience 2011, Arizona State University