The resource-centered thinking of the Institute has been designed on the following assumptions and ideas.
1. Society and individuals are obsessively resource-minded, but wrongly resource-framed. A survey on resource perception by students while considering the main global challenges and their multiple interdependencies showed that natural resources score high as compared with climate change, biodiversity, demography, poverty etc. We therefore concluded that natural resources as a whole have become a hidden, even cryptic, global challenge on political and diplomatic agendas.
2. Reframing the business as usual system starts where our real-time information and knowledge on resource stocks, fluxes, and allocation begin. It requires some updates on the resource field, while acknowledging and integrating work promoted by the Club of Rome (for example, Meadows et al, 1972, 2004 ; Randers, 2012 ; Turner, 2008 ; Bardi, 2011, or Sverdrup and Ragnasdottir, 2015).
3. The “student resource” combined with the pedagogic virtues of the resource concept is particularly suitable to address and face current and anticipate future challenges by developing projects that transgress the frontier between education and research. Such projects can be accessed on a dedicated Institute web page : the “Students” space. The 2015 initiatives are depicted below.
3.1 The 2015 Resource landscape. An inventory of resource expertise (institutions) and control and profit making (corporate) has been conducted in order to evaluate the geopolitical forces engaged with natural resource issues today.
Earlier attempts to identify in one click the main players in the resource field were poorly informative. Together with Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz (Wisconsin University) and my colleague Hubert Pinon we constructed The Resource Landscape Project.
Our internet screen has generated information on a few dozen international institutions devoted to the resource problematic and agro-business multinationals that exploit and process primary natural resources.
The analysis criteria for institutions were : main missions, geographic distribution, statistics (the institution in numbers), funding, publications, strategy of action and main actions. And for corporate : production and service, geographic distribution, statistics, strategy of action toward resource management.
The results as of 2014-2015 are now available on the dedicated platform (Resource Landscape) thanks to the work of our students and the synthesis of Pauline Fournier and Aurélien Oosterlink. Each of the analyzed organizations has been informed on the initiative and access given to the published documents before opening the platform to general access. Some of the organizations acknowledged receipt and suggested additional information. Now, the platform is open access and requests contributions from readers in order to correct, update, and develop the available information and enrich the platform. In addition, links to similar or complementary inventories on renewable and non-renewable resources are appreciated (contact ioan.negrutiu-at-ens-lyon.fr).
3.2 Territorial resources in transition. While building the resource big picture, local scale initiatives are needed. The students have worked on the societal and ecological transition at regional level. A dedicated participatory platform has been developed through the student initiative ControverSciences. The idea is to make a (near) real-time follow up of the transition process in Rhône-Alpes, the region where the students leave and learn. They have investigated over the last 3 years how the main regional actors of the transition imagine and implement the transition process. A series of 18 reports are now available on line and prime the platform interactive space. For obvious reasons the platform is in French. Your contribution is welcomed.
Ioan Negrutiu November 30 2015
Bardi, U. (2011). The Limits to Growth Revisited. Springer-Verlag New York.
Meadows, D. H., Meadows, D. L., Randers, J., & Behrens, W. W., III. (1972). The Limits to Growth. A Report for The Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind (pp. 1–211). New York, NY : Universe Books.
Meadows, D. H., Randers, J., & Meadows, D. (2004). The Limits to Growth : The 30-Year Update. Chelsea Green Publishing.
Randers, J. (2012). 2052 : A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years. Chelsea Green Publishing
Sverdrup, H., & Ragnarsdóttir, K. V. (2014). Natural Resources in a Planetary Perspective. Geochemical Perspectives, 3(2), 129–341. http://doi.org/10.7185/geochempersp.3.2
Turner, G. M. (2008). A comparison of The Limits to Growth with 30 years of reality. Global Environmental Change, 18(3), 397–411. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2008.05.001
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