Plenary 3: What global issues need Transdisciplinarity ? Prof. William S. Fyfe (University of Western Ontario, Canada)
Prof. Fyfe focused in his talk on what he believes to be the global issues most urgently in need of a transdisciplinary approach.
In addressing this topic, he did not make reference to any specific theoretical system of thought, but rather preferred to present a series of concrete examples of failure and success in transdisciplinarity drawn upon his professional experience.
A world with a human population moving to 10 billion, he explained, ‘with Europe and North America making up only 13% of population and with the rich-poor gap growing, calls for sustainable life support systems i.e., systems that will not lead to the destruction of the planet.
Prof. Fyfe highlighted how our standards of living and quality of life are related to such systems, whose most basic ingredients include energy, food, water, air, materials and biodiversity.
He also brought up the problem offood security, as a topic implying a transdisciplinary approach, for it is related to factors like fluctuating climate, soil quality, water quantity and quality, acid rains, ozone, etc.
Prof. Fyfe continued by pointing out how the growing complexity significant issues of our time requires an increasing active contribution experts having different and complementary cultural backgrounds.
To use his own insightful words:
ctSpecialists cannot deal with theseproblemsx
He made reference to projects in which he is personally involved, clarifying how:
(<slowly we are beginning to accept the needfor new teams to solve problems)).
(<At a minimum we need biologists,
soil scientists, water
specialists, geochemists, climatologists,
and sociologists. in education (. .) S.
In closing, Prof. Fyfe came back to this last idea, by stating that:
((Above all we need new education (...), since education is determinant for any real freedom that peoples may achieve)).