RIHN 8th International Symposium
“Risk Societies, Edge Environments: Ecosystems and Livelihoods in the Balance”
How do societies conceptualize the significance of environmental change? How do they respond? In recent years we have learned that humanity is in danger of transgressing the planetary ‘boundaries’ that describe the environmental conditions of the Holocene, the geological period in which all civilization has arisen. Similarly, some claim that humanity is now a determinant ecological force, and that the Earth has therefore entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Such concepts indicate that humanity now confronts increasing uncertainty in regard to the environmental cycles on which human societies depend, and that societies themselves are a major source of this uncertainty.
Scientists and citizens seek ways of describing such uncertainty and balancing it against the basic social need to plan for the future. The concept of risk allows conceptualization and estimation of the potential social, economic and environmental ‘losses’ that can be associated with contemporary environmental change. It can be applied to extreme events such as flood, fire, and drought, or it can refer to the dangers of ecosystem degradation or environmental pollution. In any case, the concept of risk also refers to the costs of social action—or inaction—in relation to environmental change.
Based on the research of three RIHN projects, this symposium examines social and ecological risk in several ‘edge’ environments, boundary zones that typically exhibit high rates of biodiversity and many livelihood niches, but that are also particularly susceptible to change. Drawing on extensive project research in the arid lands of Eastern and Northern Africa, the Siberian arctic, and the watershed environments of Lake Laguna, Philippines, this symposium asks us to examine how contemporary environmental change and climatic uncertainty is interwoven with social change and human wellbeing.
Session 1: Human Subsistence in Relation to Invasive and Endangered Species
Session 2: Global Warming Risk in the Far North
Session 3: Transdisciplinary Approach to Food/Health Risk in Southeast Asian Watersheds
Session 4: Synthesis and Summary Discussion
→Go to Program (You can download abstract)
International Affairs Subsection