E. O. Wilson and Transdisciplinary Thinking to Solve Wicked Problems

Authors: Craig Thomas*, Salem State University
Topics: Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Human-Environment Geography, Global Change
Keywords: sustainability, interdisciplinary, climate change, biodiversity loss, naturalist, population and consumption growth
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Iris, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The world is less sustainable than it was 30 years ago at the advent of the Brundtland Report, which outlined our contemporary conception of sustainability. By 2050, climate change will exacerbate most existing socio-ecological problem, causing up to 1 billion environmental refugees, and extirpating a quarter or more known species. How can we build a better model for sustainability that synthesizes concepts, values and principles from the three branches of knowledge (natural sciences, social sciences and humanities)? The United Nations “sustainable development” paradigm has failed because it is vague, focuses on trading-off environmental values, and emphasizes development for developing and developed countries alike. In this paper, I focus on E. O. Wilson’s recent scholarship and publications. Wilson presents an integrated and interconnected worldview of human and natural systems, and a road-map for a sustainable world. Employing his palette of naturalist concepts, values and principles can provide a new model for sustainability and prevent socio-ecological collapse in the 21st century.

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