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Confronting the Polycrisis Head On

Led by: Daniel Aldrich

Scholars warn of the consequences arising from the set of interconnected global challenges known as the Polycrisis. However, what constitutes the Polycrisis remains murky, as do the set of effective policy responses and avenues to enhance social capacity to navigate these shocks. Our team brings a unique set of perspectives: 1) a biophysical science based understanding of climate change and ecological security; 2) a quantitative understanding of historical polities and societal dynamics; and 3) a social-capital based, bottom-up perspective on shocks. We combine our perspectives to define the Polycrisis vis-a-vis other types of shocks and provide concrete recommendations rooted in a deep, cross-disciplinary analysis looking at the ways that institutions at multiple levels have handled previous compounded crises. In particular, we will explore the interaction and interdependence of climate and ecological factors, long-running societal developments, and socio-cultural norms while combining various levels of analysis from the local community, to whole societies, to global interconnections.

With funding from the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation, we aim to construct a holistic understanding of what the Polycrisis entails and what key points of intervention can be applied to help bolster the resilience of as much of society as possible against the worst potential consequences, and help position communities to rebound quickly and justly after disaster strikes.

Outside collaborators:

  • Dan Hoyer, Seshat: Global History Databank
  • Rod Schoonover, Office of Science and Technology Policy

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