Complex systems is a new field of science studying how parts of a system give rise to the collective behaviors of the system, and how the system interacts with its environment. This book examines the complex systems involved in environmental sustainability, and examines the technologies involved to help mitigate human impacts, such as renewable energy, desalination, carbon capture, recycling, etc. It considers the relationships and balance between environmental engineering and science, economics, and human activity, with regard to sustainability.
Table of Contents
Human Ecological Sustainability
Is It Possible to Model Human Ecological Sustainability?
Why Human Sustainability Is a Complex Issue
Review of Complexity and Complex Systems
Introduction to Complexity
Human Responses to Complexity
Signal Flow Graphs and Mason’s Rule
Multidimensional Challenges to Human Sustainability
The Challenge of Population Growth
Water and Sustainability
Bees, Pollination, and Food Crops
Species Size Reduction Due to Habitat Warming: Another Challenge to Our Food Supply
FF Energy and Sustainability
Mitigations of Human Impacts through Technology
Carbon-Free Energy Sources
Carbon-Neutral Energy Sources
Energy Storage Means
Carbon Capture and Storage
Engineering Energy Efficiency
Animal Husbandry: Concentrated Animal Feeding
Loss of Genetic Diversity
Genetically Modified Organisms
Can Sustainable Agriculture Feed the World?
Competition for Cropland
Unconventional Foods: Insects, Plankton, Fungi, and In Vitro Meat
Nutritional Value of Insects
Can Insects Be Farmed?
Plankton as a Source of Human Food
Fungi: Food and More
Food from Tissue Culture Using Animal Stem Cells
Complex Economic Systems and Sustainability
Introduction to Economic Systems
Basic Economics; Steady-State S&D
Introduction to ABMs and Simulations of Economic and Other Complex Systems
Economic Challenges to Human Sustainability
Application of Complex Systems Thinking to Solve Ecological Sustainability Problems
Dörner’s Approaches to Tackling Complex Problems
Frederic Vester’s "Paper Computer"
Sensitivity Model of Vester
Can We Learn From Our Mistakes?
What Will Happen to Us? FAQs on Sustainability
Will Technology Sustain Us?
FAQs Concerning Sustainability
Bibliography and Recommended Reading
Robert B. Northrop, majored in electrical engineering (EE) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), graduating with a bachelor’s degree. At the University of Connecticut (UCONN), he received a master’s degree in systems engineering. He entered a PhD program at UCONN in physiology, and received his PhD in 1964. Dr. Northrop’s research interests have been broad, interdisciplinary, and centered on biomedical engineering and physiology. His current interest lies in complex systems. Dr. Northrop was on the electrical and computer engineering faculty at UCONN until his retirement in June 1997. As emeritus professor, he still teaches graduate courses in biomedical engineering.
Anne N. Connor, MA, is currently working as the director of community grants for Methodist Healthcare Ministries, a medical nonprofit organization in San Antonio, TX. Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, where she received honor citations in chemistry and sociology. Her master’s degree in communications is from the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. She is the coauthor of Introduction to Molecular Biology, Genomics and Proteomics for Biomedical Engineers (Taylor & Francis/CRC Press, ISBN # 1420061194). She has received numerous awards for her work, most recently a humanitarian award from the San Antonio health care community.
Featured Author Profiles
"In this time of narrow specialization, the authors have provided a remarkably broad synthesis of the biophysical factors that support human sustainability."
––Joseph A. Tainter, Department of Environment and Society, Utah State University