The 179th RIHN seminar

Date: November 21st, 2019 (Thursday) 13:30 - 15:00
Place: Seminar Room 3 & 4, RIHN ( → Access)
Title: Large Lakes & Livelihoods: Proposing a Global Experiment on Participatory Research as a Foundation for Shared Governance

Thomas Harmon (RIHN Invited Scholar / Professor, Department of Civil & Engineering, UCMerced)

Thom Harmon is an environmental engineer who works broadly on the environmental transport and fate of water and pollutants, including hydrology and climate and carbon dioxide and methane emissions from tropical soils, and on transdisciplinary research aimed at understanding and mitigating risks to aquatic ecosystem services.
Abstract: In this seminar, I propose a global socio-environmental research network focused on large lakes and their stakeholders. Large lakes are iconic cultural and economic centers in many nations. Climate change and increasing human pressures threaten their function and reduce their capacity to provide services, creating major socio-environmental problems. Restoring and sustaining these ecosystems requires approaches that are both scientifically sound and socio-culturally acceptable to stakeholders, including residents, private enterprises, and governance agencies at multiple scales. Engagement of stakeholders in research enabling them to elucidate and identify acceptable solutions is necessary to develop shared governance in these systems. Identifying effective participatory activities is also challenging, yet must be undertaken seriously, as activities which are mismatched to the stakeholders or for which objectives are unclear can exacerbate the socio-environmental problem. The main objective of the proposed research is to identify a transferable approach to identifying and executing participatory research activities, an approach that will work in any socio-cultural setting. The seminar presents the problem as an experimental design problem, providing a rationale for choosing large lake systems located around the Pacific Rim and outlining a 5-year plan for studying stakeholder participatory research around these lakes.
Contact: International Affairs Subsection E-mail