Jeremy Brooks, assistant professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources is a lead investigator on a newly funded Ventures project from the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC). The grant seeks to bridge existing sustainability research and cultural evolutionary theory to elicit common factors underlying how culture and cooperation have evolved in socio-ecological systems.
The project will bring together academic and conservation scientists from Europe, Australia, Kenya, and the United States to create an integrative evolutionary framework of social-ecological systems change. According to Brooks, this synthesis will help to address questions about how sustainable socio-ecological systems emerge, and when and why they persist or disappear. The work ahead also has real-world applicability. He notes, “This integration and synthesis will have value to policy and decision-makers as it could help shed light on which levels of human organization may be most appropriate for interventions that promote cooperation and sustainable resource use.”
Over an 18-month period the scientists will convene for three workshops at SESYNC in Maryland. During the workshops, the group will reinterpret well-known case studies in light of cultural evolutionary theory and will generate and test hypothesis with the participants’ own datasets.
Brooks looks forward to the meetings and is especially excited for the opportunity to exchange ideas and lay the groundwork for future collaborations in the area.
Mark Moritz, associate professor in the Department of Anthropology at The Ohio State University, will also be participating in the workshops, which is co-lead by Tim Waring, assistant professor in the School of Economics and the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions from the University of Maine.
January 13, 2015