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Presentation Video and Transcript November 2022

Dan Fiscus gave a presentation on Nov. 17, 2022, in Vienna Austria entitled “High-leverage Actions for Sustainability and Resilience”. Fiscus was invited to speak at the scientific conference and 50th anniversary celebration of the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). The conference theme was “Systems Analysis for Reducing Footprints and Enhancing Resilience”.

Fiscus’ presentation focused on strategic actions for solving the global ecological multi-crisis. He made the case that piecemeal solutions to individual parts of the crisis – climate disruption, species extinctions, water and energy crises, pollution, and more – cannot work. Instead, he proposed actions with potential to change the problem system as a whole and reverse all the current negative trends simultaneously. Fiscus explained his proposed high-leverage change strategy is a hypothesis worth testing given the high stakes of the worsening ecological crisis. This work is based on his 2018 book, Foundations for Sustainability, co-authored with Brian Fath.

The text and slides of the presentation are available in PDF here:

Dan Fiscus IIASA presentation 2022 11 17

A video of the panel session with Fiscus’ presentation is online. Fiscus was the 4th speaker, and his presentation starts about 36:00 minutes into the panel:
Austria – IIASA conference: Achieving Resilience in a Complex World (3/8) – YouTube


Article January 2022

The Roles of Science in the Global Ecological Crisis – As Solution Yes, But Not the Way You May Expect

By Dan Fiscus

Most have likely heard calls for science as needed to solve the multi-faceted suite of environmental problems we now face, what I call the global ecological crisis. While this role of science – to solve the crisis – is well-known, well-studied, heavily funded, and supported by many and diverse social groups, this essay is about a second role for science that I see as nearly completely ignored. The second one is the role of science – a specific type of science, and the dominant type now and for the past 400 years described below – as the root cause of the global ecological crisis.

Read the full text here

Download the PDF:

Roles of Science in Global Ecological Crisis Fiscus 2022 RARE web


Fiscus and Fath webinar Sept. 2020

Dan Fiscus and Brian Fath presented an online seminar at SESYNC on Sept. 22, 2020 that covered their book from 2018 – Foundations for Sustainability. See the webinar recording online.

Foundations for Sustainability: A Coherent Framework of Life-Environment Relations

Abstract: This presentation reviews key concepts in sustainability and asks deep questions about why there are so many symptoms of environmental crises present in the world today (climate disruption, mass species extinctions, nitrogen cycle disruption, ocean acidification, crises with food, energy, and water, and many more). These symptoms relate to the prevailing approach, in which we use reductionist mental models and treat living and environmental systems as if they are mechanisms. However, contrary to machines, ecological systems show much resilience and capacity to self-organize, regenerate, increase their organization and complexity, and improve their environment over time. We propose that achieving a sustainable world will require a shift in the way we approach life and life sciences. The good news is that such a shift is possible now, without the need of waiting for new technologies, and is limited only by our willingness.

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