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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Tipping Points and Regime Shifts: Fact, Fiction, or Fantasy?

Jan 14, 2016, 8:00pm - 9:00pm
001 Jennings Hall

EEOB welcomes Aaron Ellison, Senior Research Fellow, Harvard University, Harvard Forest. He will present Tipping Points and Regime Shifts: Fct, Fiction, or Fantasy? This presentation will be held in 001 Jennings Hall.

A rapid change (“tipping point”) in social, political, or environmental conditions can propel the current state of a system into a new state (a.k.a. a “regime shift”). Forecasting tipping points and forestalling or accelerating regime shifts have received substantial attention from scientists not only because they present interesting mathematical and statistical challenges but also – and more importantly – because they are of pressing interest to world leaders, social planners, policy- and decision-makers, along with environmental managers, conservation biologists, and many others. But definitions and identification of tipping points and regime shifts presuppose a number of implicit assumptions about “how the world works”. More nuanced descriptions and understanding of the ever-present changes in our socio-culturalpolitical-technological environment require us to make explicit our unspoken or hidden assumptions about how we think the world works.