11:30-13:30 | Festsaal

Convener: Brian Fath, Professor, Towson University, USA


Human activities have exceeded the renewable, sustainable level of ecosystem services provided by the global biosphere.  As a result, we believe that radical transformation is coming to either find a new sustainable relationship with nature (and ourselves) or to end the unsustainable practices in a more dramatic, uncontrolled fashion.  The issue must be addressed both top-down at the system level and bottom-up at the individual level.  We are confronted every day with questions about how can we better apply and share systems thinking knowledge and approaches.  

Systems science, systems thinking, and systems modeling are powerful in part because they are a useful means to represent abstract patterns in the real world. We now face multiple existential challenges in the real world, and the call for leadership from systems sciences is for guidance on how the abstract, theoretical, and general patterns understood from systems work over the past 50 to 100 years can help with real world solutions. 

In this two-hour session, the aim is to hear from a diverse set of systems scientists, focused on the question: How systems thinking can motivate transformations that address the global socio-ecological crisis? Particularly looking at actions of institutions and we as individuals make that implement a holistic approach and how these can be brought to scale among all actors (general public, governments, and organizations (including our own scientific organizations). Specifically, our panelists will share experience and discuss the following questions:

  • how can systems sciences help to address the global ecological crisis? 
  • how can systems sciences help transform science to be more holistic, radical, and including value of Life? 
  • how does having a transformed paradigm toward systems thinking modify one's actions and behaviors?   
  • what lessons are there in understanding systems that need to be conveyed to the general public? 


Sibel Eker, Assistant Professor, System Dynamics, Radboud University, Netherlands

Dan Fiscus, R&D Scientist, Berkeley Springs Instruments, USA

Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Social Ecology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Austria 

Harald Katzmair, Director and Founder, FASresearch, Austria

Hans Liljenstrom, Director, Department of Energy and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden

Adil Najam, Professor, Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University, USA

Ursula Scharler, Professor, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

May-Britt Ohman, Associate Professor, Environmental History, Uppsala University, Sweden