Many of the issues humans are currently struggling with have been sustainably negotiated by natural systems for millions of years. By studying nature’s patterns, processes, and relationships, we have the opportunity to gain insight into the effectiveness and sustainability of our own behaviors.
Many contemporary human group decisions appear to generate controversy. We will discuss aspects of group decision-making in nature, such as group cohesion and determination of appropriate deciders, and consider how these concepts can be applied to human situations. We will conclude by looking at examples of decision-making in small and large human group settings.
We spoke with Steve Thomas, ecologist and author of The Nature of Sustainability,
Steve Thomas lives in Michigan and works as an ecologist with a focus on wetlands, hydrology, botany, and natural community succession. His desire to understand how and why natural communities change over short and long timeframes connects to his interest in complex system sustainability. His book, The Nature of Sustainability, models how sustainability arises and what many of its apparent attributes are. He is originally from the Chicago Region, and has spent time outdoors throughout the Great Lakes area and in Colorado, Idaho, Washington, Arizona, and Florida.
Our guest moderator for this month was be David Borneman:
David Borneman has worked as the Natural Area Preservation Manager for the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan since 1993. Among other responsibilities, this includes overseeing the ecological restoration of about 1200 acres of city parkland. David also owns a private ecological consulting business specializing in prescribed burning. He holds a B.S. degree in Outdoor Education/Field Biology from Northland College and an M.S. degree in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from UW-Madison. David's areas of expertise are in using fire to manage natural areas in the Midwest and in urban natural area issues. He serves on the board of The Stewardship Network (President) and formerly served on the boards of the Natural Areas Association and the Michigan Prescribed Fire Council. David was born and raised on a farm in Illinois, and has lived his entire life in the Midwest, except for one year spent teaching school in the Monteverde Cloud Forest of Costa Rica.