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13 October KEYNOTE Water Politics in the Anthropocene: A Systems Perspective

Wednesday, October 13, 5.30pm – 6.30pm


Water Politics in the Anthropocene: A Systems Perspective

Mark T. Brown (Department of Environmental Engineering Sciences, University of Florida)

We humans have unknowingly embarked on a grand experiment with our planet. The outcome of this experiment is unknown, but it has profound implications for all of life. During the early decades of the Anthropocene, we humans have emerged as a new force of nature. We are modifying physical, chemical, and biological systems in new ways, at faster rates, and over larger spatial scales than any species recorded on Earth. The only other recent event with comparable magnitude of change was the Chicxulub Impact Event that lead to the demise of the dinosaurs and the eventual dominance of humans on planet Earth.
In this presentation we will embark on a deep discussion of fundamental questions and issues in relation to humans, water and politics in the 21st century. By the very nature of the subject matter and our method of inquiry we cannot just look at water, but instead the whole system of which water and politics are a part.  Along the way we must encounter such topics as: the politicization of science, the role of the scientist in the political arena, managing the commons, globalization, human carrying capacity, among others… all within a systems framework.
We will endeavor to answer such questions as: what is water anyway? Is it really politics, or is it economics? Can science (and scientists) be apolitical? What are common pool resources? Can we really manage the geobiosphere? …among others.

Anna Zemella, Laguna, 2017. © Anna Zemella