Thursday, August 5, 2010: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Blrm A, David L Lawrence Convention Center
Within a coherent framework of Human Ecology, this symposium provides an interdisciplinary view of climate change forcing on human ecosystems and some of the consequences of the adaptations human societies might make in response. Climate change is introduced as a key “planetary boundary” that current anthropogenic activity is transgressing (introduced by Rockstrom et al in Nature 24/09/09). If humanity does cross the threshold of such planetary boundaries, then it risks perturbing the stability domain that has dominated during the Holocene, rendering the socio-economic and bio-physical foundations of complex societies highly vulnerable. Responding to this scene-setting introduction, speakers will discuss how these pressures may act on different aspects of human society and their ecosystems and how different social adaptations might feedback further change processes. In presenting, speakers will integrate their research more broadly in order to show how the changes they are discussing will influence change in other dimensions, so placing their material in a larger context.
Responding papers will discuss an integrated study of the vulnerability of the interconnected food systems of Tokyo, Copenhagen and Canberra; changes to the capacity of ecosystems to provision for food or bio-fuels, and the consequence of different options for carbon fluxes; and the effects on human health and wellbeing.
Talks following the break will be on how climate and the planet can be understood as comprising an integrated biophysical system. On a local scale, interdisciplinary studies of indigenous groups can track key socio-ecological changes across history in place, revealing principles that others can learn from. Such principles are relevant in the management and preservation of the ecological and conservation value of the newly emerged and novel human-influenced ecosystems of the 21st century. These examples demonstrate that policy makers, citizens, environmental managers and others need to collaborate with ecologists and other disciplines within communities of practice in order to understand and manage wicked problems in coupled human-environment systems
The final speaker will wrap the symposium up by referring back to the concept of “planetary boundaries” and the thresholds that they place on humanity’s safe operating space. These planetary boundaries require redefining human relationships to the planet within a new framework of “planetary stewardship”. Ecologists have a key role to play within interdisciplinary partnerships to help frame policy and community engagement for a future of planetary stewardship. The session will then open for discussion from the floor, with all speakers convened as a panel.
ESA Human Ecology Section, ESA Agroecology Section