ERA Update May 2019: LOOPS4 workshop

This website has been a bit quiet so far, but the ERA project has been fair from quiet! We now have most of our team in place, and our research is well underway. As a first update on the project, team-member Tim DuBois has written the following post about our first major workshop, in which we started to define the concept of “Earth Resilience”.

ERA-LOOPS4 Workshop

Date: 10-13 March 2019

Venue: Hotel Springbachmühle (an old mill and farm), about 50 km south of Berlin / Potsdam.

The Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC, where most of the ERA team operates) has a strong connection to the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) historically, but now strengthened even further with the advent of our previous director (Johan Rockström) making the move to co-director of PIK.

In this spirit the fourth LOOPS event continues the legacy of the PIK-SRC collaboration along with other leading organisations such as MPI, Uni Southhampton & Humboldt Uni. This workshop aimed to develop a shared overview of the social and biophysical tipping points and “feedbacks that matter” for maintaining a stabilized Earth in the Anthropocene, providing more substantive analysis to the conceptual arguments set out in the Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene paper – most authors of this work were in attendance or were available through teleconference.

The SRC team took the train from Stockholm Saturday morning, stopping by Copenhagen for lunch, across the Fehmarn Belt via ferry to an overnight stay in Hamburg, then a quick lunch in Berlin the next day and finally arrived at our destination in Bad Belzig early afternoon on Sunday. After a casual walk through the forest and meet and greet with the important people such as the resident cat, donkey, goats & swans, we started the workshop with a traditional German dinner followed – at least for me – an early night.

The next morning brought us to the more serious portion of the week, starting off with a seminar: focused on the aims of the workshop as well as a round-table introduction of all attendees. A quick survey of where we sit in a potential landscape between natural scientists, humanities/social science and real-world policy/business interface yielded a slight bias towards the natural/policy edge, although it seems that many also dip their toes into the social side of our task:


The workshop itself consisted of 10 sessions, only one with presentations, the rest were either breakout groups focused on specific subjects or plenary sessions aimed at collecting and summarising our work. This format allowed us to amass a large amount of ideas, which over the three days was focused down to writing no less than four major papers the we hope to share with you all soon.

In the two months since the workshop, satellite projects have spun up, with perhaps 4-5 more papers requiring the continuing collaboration of the ERA team and our partners.

That’s all for now, we’ll get back to work and hopefully give you some details about these projects soon!

The ERA project and the ERA-LOOPS4 workshop were funded by an ERC Advanced Grant

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