Thomas Homer-Dixon

14 results found for: Innovation

February 12th, 2014 —

Video: Talk at the Annual Conference of the Institute for New Economic Thinking

“Growth, Environmental Damage, and Innovation,” talk at the Annual Conference of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, Toronto. View the talk.

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April 1st, 2013 —

The Tar Sands Disaster

President Obama rejected the pipeline last year but now must decide whether to approve a new proposal from TransCanada, the pipeline company. Saying no won’t stop tar sands development by itself, because producers are busy looking for other export routes — west across the Rockies to the Pacific Coast, east to Quebec, or south by rail to the United States. Each alternative faces political, technical or economic challenges as opponents fight to make the industry unviable.

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March 19th, 2013 —

Video: “The Coming Energy Transition: Shock, Innovation, and Resilience”

Talk at the Andrews Initiative, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, N.B.  View the presentation.

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April 7th, 2012 —

All’s Not Lost, Ontario. The Future Is Green, Not Black

Green Energy in Ontario: an op-ed in the Toronto Globe and Mail
Commentators on the political right often slam the economics of green energy. They say that renewables are inefficient, that they create jobs in China, not in Canada, that Europe is cutting green-energy subsidies and that, in any case, the world and especially Canada are hopelessly hooked on carbon. Many of these criticisms are factually wrong, and they’re all shortsighted.

Ontario should focus on the long game. While Alberta and the federal Conservatives double down on carbon, Ontario can be in the vanguard of one of the biggest technological revolutions humanity will ever experience. The future is green, not black.

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October 6th, 2011 —

Tipping Toward Sustainability: Emerging Pathways of Transformation

This article explores the links between agency, institutions, and innovation in navigating shifts and largescale transformations toward global sustainability. Our central question is whether social and technical innovations can reverse the trends that are challenging critical thresholds and creating tipping points in the earth system, and if not, what conditions are necessary to escape the current lock-in. Large-scale transformations in information technology, nano- and biotechnology, and new energy systems have the potential to significantly improve our lives; but if, in framing them, our globalized society fails to consider the capacity of the biosphere, there is a risk that unsustainable development pathways may be reinforced. Current institutional arrangements, including the lack of incentives for the private sector to innovate for sustainability, and the lags inherent in the path dependent nature of innovation, contribute to lock-in, as does our incapacity to easily grasp the interactions implicit in complex problems, referred to here as the ingenuity gap. Nonetheless, promising social and technical innovations with potential to change unsustainable trajectories need to be nurtured and connected to broad institutional resources and responses. In parallel, institutional entrepreneurs can work to reduce the resilience of dominant institutional systems and position viable shadow alternatives and niche regimes.

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October 2nd, 2003 —

Ingenuity Theory: Can Humankind Create a Sustainable Civilization?

My research is inspired by several key questions: Are we creating a world that’s too complex to manage? Do the “experts” really know what’s going on? Are we really as smart as we think we are? And, most importantly, Can we solve the problems of the future?

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August 25th, 2003 —

Conversation with the Rt. Honourable Paul Martin

Transcript: Paul Martin & Thomas Homer-Dixon ‘We probably should create a new ethic in terms of how MPs are going to communicate with Canadians’ – Paul Martin in conversation with Thomas Homer-Dixon

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June 16th, 2003 —

Bringing Ingenuity to Energy

Energy is our life-blood. Without an adequate supply at the right times and places, our economy and society would grind to a halt. Canadians are profligate users of energy: in fact, we have one of the highest per capita rates of consumption in the world. But if we were smarter about things, we would consume much less energy to support our current standard of living, and we would produce this energy with much less damage to our natural environment.

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November 30th, 2001 —

Interview Conducted by Ted Rutland of the Webzine “Uncommon Good”

I think the principal factors boosting the requirement for ingenuity are rapid population growth, increasing consumption of resources per capita, and the increasing power of technologies – better technologies – to move materials, energy, and especially information. What we’ve managed to do with those three trends is to create networks that have more nodes in them, create a denser set of connections among those nodes than ever before, and push more materials, energy, and especially information at faster rates along those connections than every before.

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July 26th, 2001 —

We Ignore Scientific Literacy at Our Peril

We’re still in the dark ages when it comes to understanding how the human brain works. We know it’s an assemblage of hundreds of billions of intricately entangled neurons, and we have some general understanding of its structure and anatomy. But we’re just beginning to understand how to classify these neurons, how they are linked across different sections of the brain, and how they communicate with each other through a wide array of neurochemicals. We know even less about how this assemblage of neurons actually processes the information and makes the decisions that are commonplace in our everyday lives. And when it comes to how the brain has feelings, an artistic sensibility, a concept of spirituality, and, above all, a capacity for consciousness – these matters are still best left to philosophers, because brain science has almost nothing to say about them.

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