Friday, February 16, 2007

leading creativity for facilitating evolution

Currently and through next Tuesday in downtown San Francisco (amid coincidently beautiful Bay Area weather—so far), the world's largest association of scientists is having its annual conference. This year's theme for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)—its cohering interdisciplinary focus—is "Science & Technology for Sustainable Well-being."

If you believe that the theme is a piece of tired rhetoric, then you don't know the AAAS: the folks who were pushing the issue of global warming long before it became green chic in the mid-'90s.

Anticipating the conference, AAAS President John P. Holdren wrote an editorial in last week's Science, "Energy and Sustainability," which provides a good sense of context for this issue. But, it's only a preface to a developed sense of the issue of sustainability and well-being that the conference advances (there are also many 180-minute symposia).

But Harvard Professor Haldrene may be exemplary of what a progressive realism about planet management is about. Haldrene specializes in environmental policy and directs the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy in Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. This alone is exemplary to me as planetary complement to the more usual sense of well-being in public policy—now recalling Theodore Roszak's longstanding concern for "Person/Planet" (1978) that became "ecopsychology" (Voice of the Earth, 1992) or Edward Wilson's "biophilia" (1986). But such dyadity—personal well-being as "atom" in evaluation of public policy vis-à-vis planetary well-being—requires that Haldane's planetary concerns be seen to have their own complement in the human-centered sense of well-being. That complement is properly a distributed manifold of practices such as I indicated through my previous posting (sans my poetic license). A proximal dyadity becomes a manifold of interfaces possibly cohering through a comprehensive sense of well-being.