Thomas Homer-Dixon

17 results found for: Resilience


August 28th, 2015 —

Complexity Science

Homer-Dixon, Thomas, “Complexity Science,” Oxford Leadership Journal, January 2011, 2(1). An article based on the Canada School of Public Service’s 2010 John L. Manion Lecture, entitled “Complexity, Crisis and Change: Implications for the Federal Public Service.” “Complexity science isn’t a fad. I will offer a brief survey of some core concepts and ideas, and I [...]

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August 28th, 2015 —

Synchronous Failure: The Emerging Causal Architecture of Global Crisis

Synchronous Failure: The Emerging Causal Architecture of Global Crisis with Brian Walker, Reinette Biggs, Anne-Sophie Crépin, Carl Folke, Eric F. Lambin, Garry D. Peterson, Johan Rockström, Marten Scheffer, Will Steffen,  and Max Troell Ecology and Society 2015, 20(3): 6. Recent global crises reveal an emerging pattern of causation that could increasingly characterize the birth and [...]

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November 15th, 2014 —

Today’s Butterfly Effect Is Tomorrow’s Trouble

Around the world, national institutions and political systems are designed to deal with single-cause problems and incremental and reversible change. But the world ain’t like that any more. Take a problem like climate change. Its causes are many and tangled; the climate system has flipped from one state to another in the past, and could do so again under human pressure; and once it flips, we won’t be able to get the old climate back.

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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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January 22nd, 2012 —

Detecting and Coping with Disruptive Shocks in Arctic Marine Systems: A Resilience Approach to Place and People

An article in the journal Ambio
Ongoing and rapid rapid changes in the physical environment of the marine Arctic will push components of the region’s existing social-ecological systems beyond tipping points and into new regimes. We emphasize the need to understand the Arctic’s role in an increasingly nonlinear world; then we describe emerging evidence on the connectivity of system components from the subarctic seas surrounding northern North America; and finally we propose an approach to allow northern residents to observe, adapt and—if necessary—transform the social-ecological system with which they live.

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December 24th, 2011 —

We’re Losing Our Past to Technology

An op-ed in the Toronto Globe and Mail
Today’s information technology is creating what we might call an Age of Ephemera. Our unprecedented ability to store and transfer gargantuan amounts of information obscures this information’s modern fragility.

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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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May 5th, 2010 —

Complexity Science and Public Policy

On May 5, 2010, I had the honour of giving the Manion Lecture for the Canada School of Public Service, in Ottawa, Canada. The article is a revised text of the lecture, titled “Complexity Science and Public Policy.”

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April 22nd, 2010 —

Video: Global Change, Creativity, and Resilience: Outsourcing in a Turbulent World

“Global Change, Creativity, and Resilience: Outsourcing in a Turbulent World,” 2010 Annual Conference of the Centre for Outsourcing Research & Education, keynote address, Toronto, Ontario. View the presentation.

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June 8th, 2009 —

The Great Transformation: Climate Change as Cultural Change

A speech to a conference in Essen, Germany. I’m delighted to be here with you this evening, in part because this is my first visit to the Ruhr. This region has an extraordinary history as a crucible of an industrial revolution that was, of course, powered by coal. And coal is a substance that will [...]

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