Global Change and Social Sciences at UM
February 15, 2013
|Location:||Clapp Bldg 426, The NTSG Terra Conference Room|
Dear Institute on Ecosystems, Systems Ecology and Interested Social Science Faculty
In the last 5 years, since my involvement with the IPCC 4th Assessment Report, I have concluded that the “global warming” issue is morphing into the ultimate issue of globally sustainable human activity. The fundamental geophysics of climate change is now well known and monitored. Yet by most global metrics no meaningful progress is being made towards slowing climate change or coming to any kind of political consensus about what to do. I think this topic has become primarily a social science issue, about the attitudes, prejudices, priorities, motivations, ethics, beliefs of humankind. And I read book after book concluding that society must change fundamentally our goals, priorities and human interactions in a multitude of ways in order to become a sustainable presence on the planet.
I think there is a remarkable opportunity now for the Social Science faculty at UM to forge a new and coherent role for themselves in the Institute on Ecosystems, the Systems Ecology graduate program, and more broadly the UM research and teaching mission in Sustainability. I see important components coming out of Economics, Law, Sociology, Business, Journalism, Political Science etc. I do not have a clear blueprint for what this ultimate “program” might look like, but I am willing to convene a first “think tank” of faculty interested in thinking about possibilities.
So, I invite anyone interested in exploring these ideas to Clapp Bldg 426, The NTSG Terra Conference Room on Friday Feb 15 at 3:00PM.
I will come through with cookies and coffee.