Thomas Homer-Dixon

37 results found for: Solutions


May 1st, 2012 —

Exploring the Climate “Mindscape”

Exploring the Climate “Mindscape”: an interview in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
The climate change problem might ultimately reside as much in our heads as in the external world. Researchers need to map the “mindscape,” a virtual space within which most of the world’s people are clustered in a few ideologically polarized groups. Vast, unexplored regions of the mindscape, he says, may offer new ways of thinking about problems such as climate change and new ways of living together successfully in the future.”

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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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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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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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March 18th, 2011 —

Our Fukushima Moment

A quarter of a century after we first heard it, the word “Chernobyl” stands in our minds for technological calamity borne of incompetence. Environmentalists used the label to deliver a near-fatal blow to the nuclear power industry. What will Fukushima mean to us in 2036, and how will we have used the label to change our world?

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March 1st, 2011 —

Podcast: Wicked Problems & Solutions

Radio Ecoshock Podcast: “Wicked Problems & Solutions.” Normal approaches to science and policy cannot solve wicked problems, like climate change, energy scarcity, or economic crisis.

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August 23rd, 2010 —

Disaster at the Top of the World

On August 23, 2010, in “Disaster at the Top of the World,” an op-ed appearing in The New York Times filed from the icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent in the Arctic, I argue that only a climate crisis will generate real movement on climate policy and that we need to develop plans now to exploit the opportunity provided by this crisis when it occurs.

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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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August 9th, 2009 —

The Enticements of Green Carrots

On August 9, 2009, in an article titled “The Enticements of Green Carrots,” published in the Toronto Globe and Mail, I describe a scheme for rewarding consumers for green behavior, modeled on an airline’s frequent flyer points.

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