Today, I presented our work on the evolution of social-ecological systems to the Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET) research group at the University of Maine. Below are the abstract and slides.
To solve the modern environmental predicament we must understand how humans created it. Beyond emitting carbon, over-populating, polluting, or over-consuming, humans have come to dominate the planet, surviving in all terrestrial environments from the tropics to the arctic. We have achieved this through a mix of cooperation and cumulative adaptation to the environment. Dr. Waring argues that the factors that make the human species special, ultrasociality and cumulative cultural adaptation, also present the best and only hope for surviving and managing modern ecological crises. This talk will explain how human culture and cooperation both evolve, and how the dynamics of cultural adaptation play out at multiple levels of social organization in different social ecological systems, with detailed examples from around the world. Finally, Dr. Waring explains how to harness the power of human cooperation and cultural adaptation to achieve environmental sustainability.