Complexity & uncertainty in environmental indicators

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Here is a recording of an abbreviated version of the talk: http://bit.ly/enviroindicate

Metrics are not just for eggheads anymore. The difference between complicated and complex is explored here with respect to environmental indicators. Best principles for environmental indicators are also proposed. The implications of use of environmental indicators is not necessarily that we can verify the success of management but provide guidelines and tools for people to better interact with the environment.

Ultimately, we should be managing humans not resources.

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Complexity & uncertainty in environmental indicators

  1. 1. @cjlortie #enviroindicate Metrics are not just for eggheads anymore.
  2. 2. Complexities and uncertainties: integrating environmental indicators. human values tag cloud @cjlortie #enviroindicate
  3. 3. E. coli transcriptional regulatory network Most interesting networks of ideas, data, or challenges are complex.
  4. 4. Most interesting networks of ideas, data, or challenges are complex. power relationship between nations
  5. 5. Most interesting networks of ideas, data, or challenges are complex. products & manufacturing
  6. 6. Most interesting networks of ideas, data, or challenges are complex. how we communicate
  7. 7. Most interesting networks of ideas, data, or challenges are complex. truthfully, any aspect of you
  8. 8. Complexities kills, simplicity sells.
  9. 9. This is an outdated & incorrect view of complexity. how we communicate Complexities kills, simplicity sells.
  10. 10. Complexity is not complicated.
  11. 11. Complicated is made up of intricate parts or aspects that are difficult to understand or analyze. dictionary.com
  12. 12. Complicated is made up of intricate parts or aspects that are difficult to understand or analyze. difficult implies intractable.
  13. 13. Complexity is the description of a phenomena that emerge from a collection of interacting objects. Johnson 2009. Simply complexity:A clear guide to complexity theory.
  14. 14. Complexity is the description of a phenomena that emerge from a collection of interacting objects.
  15. 15. Complexity is the description of a phenomena that emerge from a collection of interacting objects.
  16. 16. complicated complex key: interactions
  17. 17. Solutions that embrace complexity
 often include the following elements: 
 1. incorporate uncertainty 2. visualize 3. use big data 4. measure interactions
  18. 18. Berlow PNAS 2009 uncertainty decreases with network size and complexity Solutions that embrace complexity 
 1. uncertainty 2. visualize 3. use big data 4. interactions greater complexity simplifies predicting interaction strengths food webs 600 networks 254,032 pair-wise interactions
  19. 19. video: http://www.ted.com/talks/ eric_berlow_how_complexity_leads_to_simplicity extensions to ‘greater complexity simplifies 
 predicting interactions’ are profound & extensive
  20. 20. Solutions to complexity & uncertainty
 in environmental measurement theory certain uncertain certain uncertain Boyd et al 1993The Academy of Management Review randomized envt
 w/ uncertainty misperceived envt Type I error misperceived envt Type II error randomized envt
 w/ uncertainty expected observed divergence is inevitable
  21. 21. sources of divergence in metrics Boyd et al 1993The Academy of Management Review data aggregation correspondence generalizability reliability & variability sources of variation solution: consider mediating filters, i.e. the level that metrics
 describing complexity are needed/used
  22. 22. subject & audience effects
  23. 23. Particularly important for environmental indicators or three reasons.
 1. Expert opinion. 2. Variety of processes we must manage. 3. Integration of ecological, economic, & social is challenging.
  24. 24. But, people love numbers & indicators.
  25. 25. These tools allow us to move the slider from 
 complicated (why I am so tired?) to complex (interactions btwn caffeine & exercise).
  26. 26. These tools can also be effective agents of change.
  27. 27. But, what are the tools for ecological & environmental
 assessment & management?
  28. 28. Jørgensen & Nielsen 2012 Ecological Indicators 1. Define the problem. 2. Determine the ecosystems involved.
 3. Find and quantify the sources to the problem.
 4. Use diagnostics to study problem-source relations.
 5. Determine the tools we need to solve problem.
 6. Identify measures and take proper action.
 7. Follow the recovery process by a wide monitoring program. Steps to integrated ecological–environmental management ei ei
  29. 29. Jørgensen & Nielsen 2012 Ecological Indicators to tackle steps 1-4, we can use
 ecological models ecological/environmental indicators ecosystem services
  30. 30. Jørgensen & Nielsen 2012 Ecological Indicators 1. Reductionistic 2. Semiholistic
 3. Holistic
 4. Super-holistic
 classification of indicators all levels of indicators push the slider to complexity
  31. 31. best solutions for integrative environmental indicators
 use both models & services
  32. 32. ocean health index ! http://www.oceanhealthindex.org
  33. 33. super-holistic, complex, but integrative
  34. 34. visual & comparable
  35. 35. actionable & agent of change
  36. 36. audience appropriate: global Brazil
  37. 37. audience appropriate: flexible
  38. 38. environmental performance index http://epi.yale.edu
  39. 39. holistic, complex, but integrative
  40. 40. visual & comparable
  41. 41. actionable & agent of change
  42. 42. transparent, issue-based, audience appropriate 9 issues & 20 indicators integrated
  43. 43. SNHI Sustainable Neighborhoods for Happiness Index Cloutier et al 2014 Ecological Indicators
  44. 44. semiholistic, complex, & integrative Cloutier et al 2014 Ecological Indicators
  45. 45. comparable & transparent Cloutier et al 2014 Ecological Indicators
  46. 46. EBI ecosystem service bundle index Van der Biest et al 2014 Ecological Indicators
  47. 47. reductionistic but integrative Van der Biest et al 2014 Ecological Indicators
  48. 48. audience appropriate, scaleable, & comparable Van der Biest et al 2014 Ecological Indicators
  49. 49. ei best principles
  50. 50. ei best principles visual integrated quantitative transparent audience appropriate scalable & comparable interactive & accessible
  51. 51. implications for environmental assessment to tackle environmental management we use ! ecological models ecological/environmental indicators ecosystem services ! Primary value is heuristic. ! However, their real power lies in setting the future boundaries, barriers, incentives, and terms for positive environmental decisions. Oreskes et al 2007 Science Leong 2014 on uncertainty
  52. 52. Ultimately, we should be managing humans not resources. inspired by
 Ludwig et al 1993 Science
  53. 53. resources http://louisdietvorst.wordpress.com/tag/complexity/ http://www.nature.com/scitable/content/the-extreme-complexity-of-the-e-coli-14457504 http://blog.digital.telefonica.com/2013/02/18/tony-poulos-complexity-kills-simplicity-sells/ http://visualign.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/productspace.png http://www.smartinsights.com/digital-marketing-strategy/customer-acquisition-strategy/strategies-to-reach-and-engage-online- audiences/ http://harvardmagazine.com/2011/05/fathoming-metabolism#article-images http://www.smartinsights.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Microsoft-PowerPoint-13.png primary 
 TED talk on simplicity ocean health index Ecological Indicators journal visuals
  54. 54. exercise: convert complicated into complex. 1. measure 2. visualize & map 3. integrate 4. implicate* The 4 steps. *correlation, causation, & statistical models uncertainty
  55. 55. exercise: convert complicated into complex. Option A.Visualize a single day and assess impact.
  56. 56. activities food spending environmental
 impact log relate exercise: convert complicated into complex.
  57. 57. exercise: convert complicated into complex. Option B. Calculate your footprint with & without one major driver.
  58. 58. exercise: convert complicated into complex. my life with & without flights for research www.myfootprint.org
  59. 59. exercise: convert complicated into complex. Option C. Develop your own index for a personal issue.
  60. 60. exercise: convert complicated into complex. Sleep Caffeine Transportation Food Impact

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