Thomas Homer-Dixon

5 results found for: Sustainability


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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August 6th, 2008 —

We Must Green the Market

Modern capitalist markets are among the most amazing institutions humankind has ever created. They are mighty engines of innovation and wealth. They allow societies to quickly adapt to a world full of disruptions and surprises. And by linking billions of producers and consumers every day, they generate price signals that help people around the world decide what to make and what to buy.

But when it comes to conserving Earth’s natural environment, our markets are badly broken. For our planet’s future – and for our future prosperity – we must fix them.

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June 20th, 2008 —

Energy and Climate Change: A Sustainable Future?

Closing keynote address to the Canadian International Council 2008 National Foreign Policy Conference, Toronto When I started to think about this presentation, I looked through the material I had for the conference program, and this was the title of the session originally: ‘Energy and Climate Change: Are radical measures necessary?’  But when I went onto [...]

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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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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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