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New CSH Newsletter: Calling for climate action


It is the time of the year when people tend to set New Year’s resolutions. I usually avoid that. But this year is different: The alarming increase in weather extremes in 2018 not only proves how devastating the effects of heating up the planet can get—and we haven’t even reached the 1,5°C warming yet. It also shows that action cannot be delayed any longer.

As the editorial of our new Newsletter “Visions for Complexity” says
[click here for the whole Newsletter]:

For me as a layperson (with a little bit of an insight), it is perhaps the message from complexity science: Complex systems keep an equilibrium, withstanding all squeezing and punching, for a surprisingly long time. Their resilience make us believe that we can handle it. But there is this point—a point we’d better not cross. If squeezing and punching proceeds beyond it, the system will eventually—”out of the blue”—abandon its steady state and change. Not in a gentle, linear way: A complex system is by no means like a machine; replacing single parts won’t fix the thing. Once it gets started, there is no way to stop the process, nor to interfere with it. Shocks will cascade through the system’s networks, destroying parts, rearranging and transforming the whole, and will not stop doing so until the system reaches a new, hitherto unknown equilibrium. This is what complexity people, in my opinion, should unceasingly be telling the world: Crossing the tipping point means ‘out of control!”

To avoid the tipping point, please join me in my New Year’s pledge:

Stop talking, start acting—and degrow the human footprint.


Verena Ahne
(Head of Knowledge Transfer)



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