Governance in the Face of Extreme Events: Lessons from Evolutionary Processes for Structuring Interventions, and the Need to Go Beyond

33 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2021

See all articles by Simon Levin

Simon Levin

Princeton University - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

John M. Anderies

Arizona State University (ASU)

W. Neil Adger

University of Exeter

Scott Barrett

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA)

Elena M. Bennett

McGill University

Juan-Camilo Cárdenas

Universidad de Los Andes

Stephen R. Carpenter

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Anne-Sophie Crepin

Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics

Paul Ehrlich

Stanford University - Department of Biology

Joern Fischer

Leuphana University of Lueneburg

Carl Folke

Stockholm University

Nils Kautsky

Stockholm University - Department of Systems Ecology

Catherine Kling

Cornell University - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Karine Nyborg

University of Oslo - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Stephen Polasky

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities - Department of Applied Economics

Marten Scheffer

Wageningen UR

Kathleen Segerson

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics

Jason F. Shogren

University of Wyoming

Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Spatial Economics

Brian Walker

CSIRO, Mathematical and Information Science

Elke U. Weber

Princeton University - Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

James Wilen

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Date Written: April 12, 2021

Abstract

The increasing frequency of extreme events, exogenous and endogenous, poses challenges for our societies. The current pandemic is a case in point; but "once-in-a-century" weather events are also becoming more common, leading to erosion, wildfire and even volcanic events that change ecosystems and disturbance regimes, threaten the sustainability of our life-support systems, and challenge the robustness and resilience of societies. Dealing with extremes will require new approaches and large-scale collective action. Preemptive measures can increase general resilience, a first line of protection, while more specific reactive responses are developed. Preemptive measures also can minimize the impacts of events that cannot be avoided. In this paper, we first explore approaches to prevention, mitigation and adaptation, drawing inspiration from how evolutionary challenges have made biological systems robust and resilient, and from the general theory of complex adaptive systems. We argue further that proactive steps that go beyond will be necessary to reduce unacceptable consequences.

Suggested Citation

Levin, Simon and Anderies, John M. and Adger, W. Neil and Barrett, Scott and Bennett, Elena M. and Cárdenas, Juan-Camilo and Carpenter, Stephen R. and Crepin, Anne-Sophie and Ehrlich, Paul and Fischer, Joern and Folke, Carl and Kautsky, Nils and Kling, Catherine and Nyborg, Karine and Polasky, Stephen and Scheffer, Marten and Segerson, Kathleen and Shogren, Jason F. and van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M. and Walker, Brian and Weber, Elke U. and Wilen, James, Governance in the Face of Extreme Events: Lessons from Evolutionary Processes for Structuring Interventions, and the Need to Go Beyond (April 12, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3824954 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3824954

Simon Levin (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544
United States
Not Available (Phone)
Not Available (Fax)

John M. Anderies

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

Farmer Building 440G PO Box 872011
Tempe, AZ 85287
United States

W. Neil Adger

University of Exeter ( email )

Northcote House
The Queen's Drive
Exeter, Devon EX4 4QJ
United Kingdom

Scott Barrett

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) ( email )

420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Elena M. Bennett

McGill University

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5
Canada

Juan-Camilo Cárdenas

Universidad de Los Andes ( email )

Carrera 1a No. 18A-10
Santafe de Bogota, AA4976
Colombia
339-4949 ext. 2473 (Phone)

Stephen R. Carpenter

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

Anne-Sophie Crepin

Beijer International Institute of Ecological Economics ( email )

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
P.O. Box 50005
S-104 05 Stockholm, SE-104 05
Sweden
+ 46 8 673 95 00 (Phone)
+ 46 8 15 24 64 (Fax)

Paul Ehrlich

Stanford University - Department of Biology ( email )

Gilbert Building, Rm 109
371 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305
United States
Not Available (Phone)
Not Available (Fax)

Joern Fischer

Leuphana University of Lueneburg

Scharnhorststraße 1
Wilschenbrucher Weg 69
Lüneburg, 21335
Germany

Carl Folke

Stockholm University ( email )

Dept. of Systems Ecology
S-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden

Nils Kautsky

Stockholm University - Department of Systems Ecology ( email )

SE-106 91 Stockholm
Sweden
+46 (0)8 164251 (Phone)

Catherine Kling

Cornell University - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Ithaca, NY
United States

Karine Nyborg

University of Oslo - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O.Box 1095 Blindern
Oslo, N-0317
Norway

HOME PAGE: http://folk.uio.no/karineny/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Stephen Polasky

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities - Department of Applied Economics ( email )

1994 Buford Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States
612-625-9213 (Phone)
612-625-2729 (Fax)

Marten Scheffer

Wageningen UR

Hollandseweg 1
Wageningen, 6706KN
Netherlands

Kathleen Segerson

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics ( email )

365 Fairfield Way, U-1063
Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States
860-486-4567 (Phone)
860-486-4463 (Fax)

Jason F. Shogren

University of Wyoming ( email )

Department of Economics
BU292
Laramie, WY 82071-3985
United States
307-766-5430 (Phone)
307-766-5090 (Fax)

Jeroen C.J.M. Van den Bergh

VU University Amsterdam - Department of Spatial Economics ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Faculty of Economics and Econometrics
1081HV Amsterdam
Netherlands

Brian Walker

CSIRO, Mathematical and Information Science ( email )

Lyneham, Australian Capital Territory 2602
Australia
Not Available (Phone)
Not Available (Fax)

Elke U. Weber

Princeton University - Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

86 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08544
United States

James Wilen

University of California, Davis - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States
530-752-6093 (Phone)
530-752-5614 (Fax)

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