In The Media

March 2011

Environmental damage has never respected boundaries, political or otherwise, but we’re existing right now with a whole new level of being able to harm at a very long distance. If you’re living in the United States, Australia, Europe, or wherever, the impacts of your life are felt far out of sight and out of mind. This is globalization: as technology has enabled the world market, it’s also enabled that Ikea table you bought in Manhattan to lead to deforestation in Russia. Looking at these and other kinds of connections among human and natural systems over long distances hasn’t had a name until very recently, when Jack Liu, director of the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability at Michigan State University, began a whole new scientific conversation with the “Telecoupling of Human and Natural Systems” symposium held at last month’s AAAS conference in D.C.

Motherboard talked to Liu about how we can even start to get a handle on complex relationships over vast distances that change over time. And Pandas.