Category Archives: climate change

The Need for Social Science in Climate Change

A recurrent theme I find as I look out at the world and human affairs is that many problems are not wanting for technical or know-how fixes.  Moreover, large scale change or differences over time or place often seem to turn on small differences in application or implementation.  This is more than a generalized idea of tipping points.  More specifically, I mean that small scale points of interaction or articulation between components of human systems can matter.  This is especially true in the case of collective action problems.  I like to tell my students about how idiotic it seemed that at my kids’ school, no one ever pulled all the way up into the drop off zone effectively doubling the number of sets of cars that could pull up (since they would go to half way point and stop).  A crossing guard was even standing there.  A year later, new guard is in place who waves people forward.  Voila, problem solved.  My day starts with less fuming and cursing.

A recent article in Nature addresses the need to understand human systems, the stuff of social sciences (especially everything besides neo-classical economics since we have to deal with networks and aggregations of people.  Sorry about that.).  Ameliorating climate change is a massive collective action problem.  The article quotes a sociologist:

The answer, like the problem, has to be wide-ranging and global, says Jeffrey Broadbent of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, who also studies how societies affect their environments. “Its only solution lies in a level of global cooperation that humanity has never seen before.”

This wake-up call will hopefully spur more activity around looking at how networks of interaction, influence, and collective identity formation, sucha s between cities, regions, or countries, are the substrate on whcih policy takes place.  Understanding this, a crucial task, is the goal of the COMPCON project.  Boradbent at UMN is one of the sociologists involved.  They are currently collecting cases studeis and network data to look at what happens to fill the gap between know how and implementation for climate policy.  Let’s hope the answers come soon enough to keep Champagne production in France and not closer to Wales.

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Filed under climate change, Network Society, Networks, organization studies, Research, sociology

Climate Change Song- “Get Down Into It”

YouTube – Get Down Into It

Local musicians and citizens raising awareness fueled by digital and living web technologies.  Look for me and Thea in early part.

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Filed under activism, climate change, lewisburg, life, Media, participatory technology, technology

Bucknell’s Next Green Steps

I did my presentation yesterday about innovation as it may relate to solutions to global warming.  I’ll get slide share slides up soon.    I annotated my slides in word with links and references.  I wonder how I can get that up and out on line.  Is there any file storage with wordpress?  A link through my own webpage?  Can slide share take a word file and post it?

Here is some news from our Prez, Brian Mitchell, about next steps.  I love the paths, the access to river, and the car and bike borrowing.  At Thursday night’s closing event, I was pleased to make the following announcements:

1.      On behalf of the University, I am signing the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. This commitment, which has been made by more than 475 college presidents across the country, represents the University’s pledge to minimize greenhouse gas emissions, enhance environmental stewardship efforts, and foster the concepts of sustainability and environmental ethics in our curriculum.

2.      To this end, the University is creating a Campus Greening Council that will bring together students, faculty, and staff from across the campus. The Council will evaluate the impact of University policies and practices on the natural environment and the ecology of the campus, including such matters as energy use, air and water emissions, and water resource and waste management. The Council will also conduct periodic environmental audits of the campus. The Bucknell University Environmental Center and its new sustainability coordinator have already completed the first phase of an emissions audit.

3.      Bucknell will take the following steps to protect the natural environment and reduce the University’s ecologic footprint:

·        Consider U.S. Green Building LEED certification for new campus construction costing more than $500,000, subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees and consistent with the University’s campus master plan.

·        Purchase Energy Star products that meet the strict efficiency guidelines of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

·        Purchase additional alternative fuel vehicles for the campus fleet.

·        Ask the Campus Greening Council to develop programs in which students, staff, and faculty can “borrow” cars and bicycles from the University to reduce the need for personal vehicles on campus.

·        The Campus Master Plan will include strategies for “greening” the campus, establishing hiking and biking trails that link the University with the larger community, and recapturing access to the Susquehanna River.

These initiatives reflect Bucknell’s historic commitment to protecting the natural environment, educating students about related issues, and using our campus as a place where we can not only learn about, but also implement sustainable environmental practices. The University has been proud for more than 35 years to be a leader in this area. These latest steps carry forward the outstanding example set by those who have come before us.

To learn more about these and other planned initiatives, please read the news release posted at http://www.bucknell.edu/x40046.xml.

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Filed under activism, climate change, higher education, Information and Communication Technology, innovation

Focus the Nation: Bucknell and Climate Change

Here is the list of events for this Bucknell Event in January.

Focus the Nation, Bucknell University

Schedule of Events

Wednesday, January 30th. 2008

– 5pm, Campus Theater: “The 11th Hour”, new climate documentary by Leonardo DiCaprio

Thursday, January 31st, 2008: Focus the Nation Teach-In

– Interdisciplinary Discussion Panels (Harvey Powers Theater, Coleman): four professors on each panel, all talking about/discussion a specific issue related to global climate change. Panels and participants are:

Session 1: “Obstacles to Change(8:00 am – 9:22 am)

Raymond (Chemical Engineering): “The Current state of our climate”

Siewers (English): “Philosophy of our relationship with nature”

Buonopane (Civil Engineering): “Building design and energy use”

Kochel/Trop (Geology): “(Un) Control of nature”

Session 2: “Tipping Points” (9:30 am -10:52 pm)

Stamos (Economics) – “When cost becomes prohibitive”

Wilshusen (Environmental Studies) – “When public opinion changes”

Searles (Anthropology/Sociology): “When our behavior threatens an entire people: case study on the Inuit”

Tranquillo (Biomedical Engineering): “When small changes have a global impact: non-linear relationships”

Session 3: “Can we afford not to stop global warming?” (1:00 pm– 2:22 pm)

Shrivastava (Management) – “Overview”

DiStefano* (History) – “Historical Response to Environmental Crisis”

Wooden (Environmental Studies) – “Winners and Losers”

Pizzorno (Biology) – “Role of Climate Change in Spreading Disease”

Session 4: “Motivating Action” (2:30 pm – 3:52 pm)

Grant (Theater): “The role of art and theater in social movements”

Antonacio (Religion): “Our Moral Obligation”

Unal (Economics): “Changing our current political economy”

Hendry (Management): “Responsible Investment/Conscious Consumerism”

– 11am-1pm: Campus Sustainability Celebration (Fieldhouse): Student bands, environmental research posters, nature-related art and humanities expo, sustainable business/industry expo, and more!

– 4-5pm (Harvey Powers Theater): Nonpartisan, intergenerational discussion between leading environmental students and invited elected officials on campus about what the state and country are doing to address Global Climate Change

– 730-830pm (Trout Auditorium, Vaughn Lit building): Keynote address by Andrew Revkin, lead reported on global climate change and environmental issues for the New York Times

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Filed under activism, Bucknell, climate change, pedagogy