How is the human enterprise shaping the biosphere and how can we become better stewards of planet Earth? These are some of the fundamental questions that will drive a new research cluster called 'Changing Planet'.
The cluster primarily consists of researchers from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics and the Family Erling Persson Program - Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere.
It is researchers from the "global themes" of the three above mentioned organisations that form the new initiative. They are all well-connected and will rely heavily on a network of organisations around the world including the Earth System Governance Project, Resilience Alliance and University of Waterloo in order to advance the research and contribute to positive change for global sustainability.
A pressing need for new perspectives
'Changing Planet' is a response to the increasing need for improved understanding of interactions between people and ecosystems at larger scales.
While previous research has done a great job in mapping and quantifying linkages of many biophysical components at the planetary scale, there is still a poor understanding of social-ecological connectivity at that scale, argue the researchers behind the initiative.
"The pace and extent of global changes means there is a pressing need to develop our understanding of how social processes are interconnected and how they drive and interact with the processes of the biosphere"
Beatrice Crona, member of steering group
Solutions at multiple scales
The new umbrella initiative aims to provide a platform to develop this knowledge, making use of the diverse methodological toolboxes and skillsets of the contributing research programmes and their international partners.
"The research undertaken within 'Changing Planet' will be broadly concerned with understanding how humans affect social and ecological processes, what this may lead to and what possible solutions and transformations can be initiated to improve outcomes in the future," says Anne-Sophie Crépin, also part of the steering group.
The partner organisations have already organised several international workshops about global dynamics. Now, with the launch of the new cluster the work will be strengthened through a range of different activities, including interactive 'learnshops', a kind of workshops designed to create dialogue and learning across academia and business and/or practitioners
Research will also be conducted by postdocs and senior researchers employed or affiliated to each programme.
The cluster's new website includes more details about partners, advisors, funders and ongoing research, as well as publications, videos and blogposts.
Watch interview with cluster member Sarah Cornell explaining Earth System Science (the interview was conducted in relation with a book launch in 2012):
For more information visit the Changing Planet website or contact the executive members in the steering group:
Anne-Sophie Crépin is an environmental and resource economist. Most of her work is based on small theoretical dynamic models that combine relevant economic factors with complex ecosystem dynamics.
Beatrice Crona has conducted extensive research on the role of social networks in natural resource governance and the role of boundary-bridging organizations for adaptive governance.
Victor Galaz is an Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer in political science. His research interests are in global environmental governance, planetary boundaries, emerging technologies and emerging political conflicts associated with the notion of the Anthropocene.
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