Human-driven climate disruption poses extreme risks in the coming decades. Indeed some people, societies, species, and ecosystems have already experienced significant, even catastrophic consequences. Recognition of the scale and immediacy of this malady is now driving a new era of mitigation strategies. Climate disruption, however, is not a single ailment that can be treated in isolation.
Rather, it is one of a family of existential afflictions, including a massive and accelerating loss of biodiversity, acute ecological overshoot, and intensifying social inequities – emergent from the same underlying pathology. And while some climate mitigation pathways address multiple symptoms synergistically, others exacerbate them.
We find ourselves at a crossroads, in need of a map clearly depicting the landscape and a compass to guide us. In this talk I’ll introduce one such map – a framework of ‘planetary boundaries’ … and one such compass – the concept of a safe operating space for all people. What yet remains is the active participation of a broad spectrum of society to keep the full suite of so- called “wicked” socio-environmental problems clearly in focus as we plot a course forward.
Dr. Robert Davies is a Utah-trained physicist and educator whose work focuses on synthesizing and communicating a broad range of research – including climate, energy, agriculture, economics, and complex systems. His published works include research in the fields of spacecraft / space environment interactions; the fundamental nature of light and information; and Earth’s climate system. He is also co-creator of The Crossroads Project, a collaborative communication project combining a hard science narrative with evocative imagery and powerful music, bringing to bear the power of performance art on the topic of human sustainability.
Dr. Davies is an Associate of the Utah Climate Center and adjunct professor in Utah State University’ Department of Plants, Soils and Climate. He has taught on the faculty of three universities; worked as project scientist for Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory; as technical liaison for NASA’s International Space Station project; and served as an officer and meteorologist in the United States Air Force. He lives and works in Logan.
Rob Davies, Physicist, Utah Climate Center [email protected]