It has become more and more apparent since the Industrial Revolution, and concomitant changes in human demographics, agricultural and technology systems, cultures, and economic systems, that most natural systems are increasingly shaped by human activities. The global climate system; water for agriculture, industry and drinking; natural biogeochemical systems such as the carbon and nitrogen cycle; important regional regimes such as the Everglades or the Baltic Sea; rapidly expanding cities such as Phoenix or Shanghai all are part of a planet now being defined by the economic and social activity of six billion people. The emergent behaviors of the complex integrated human/built/natural systems that characterize this anthropogenic planet are increasingly important, and increasingly intertwined with existing and emerging technology systems. The fundamental challenge to the Center for Earth Systems Engineering and Management (CESEM) is therefore to respond do the question: How can our species, already shaping an entire world without knowing it, learn to do so responsibly, rationally, and ethically?
The emerging field of earth systems engineering and management is timely and important for several reasons. For ASU in particular, this is an area where the University has established substantial initial credibility, and has an opportunity to leapfrog other potential competitors. Founding this Center is an important step in institutionalizing ASU's intellectual leadership, one made doubly valuable because of the synergistic benefits of the Center as support for the technological and engineering dimensions of sustainability, which is in turn an important potential differentiator for ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability.
For more information, please refer to Dr. Allenby's Earth Systems Engineering and Management: A Manifesto.
Beginning Fall 2009
Interdisciplinary Training for Professionals and Decision-Makers in law, medicine, business, engineering, industry, public administration, environmental ethics, social work, and pastoral care.