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Nature_and_Environment.105

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Our Panarchic Future

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{Nature_and_Environment.105.1}: ... {wren1111} Mon, 16 Feb 2009 22:06:52 EST (HTML)

Our Panarchic Future "http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6008"

A theory that explains the evolution of ecosystems may apply to civilizations as well-and it says we're approaching a critical phase.

Holling and his colleagues call their ideas "panarchy theory"-after Pan, the ancient Greek god of nature. Together with anthropologist and historian Joseph Tainter's ideas on complexity and social collapse, this theory helps us see our world's tectonic stresses as part of a long-term global process of change and adaptation. It also illustrates the way catastrophe caused by such stresses could produce a surge of creativity leading to the renewal of our global civilization.

[Editor's note: The following article is adapted from The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization, by Thomas Homer-Dixon (copyright © Resource & Conflict Analysis, Inc.) and printed by permission of Island Press, Washington, D.C. (www.islandpress.org).]

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