James A. Rising

Entries categorized as ‘Presentations’

Complexity Science Methods for Sustainable Development

June 11, 2018 · Leave a Comment

I recently had the pleasure of speaking last week to the Science and Policy Summer School, in Paris. This is an interdisciplinary event that I helped to start back in 2011, under the tutelage of Laurence Tubiana, bringing together students from Columbia’s Sustainable Development program, Sciences Po’s IDDRI, and various Masters’ programs, to have some big discussions on bridging the gap between science and policy.

The topic for this year was “Methods in Sustainable Development”. For my part, I gave a 10,000 ft. view of Complexity Science, and some of the methods available from it.

Here is my complexity science methods presentation, in Prezi form.

Categories: Presentations

Redrawing boundaries for the GCP

December 20, 2015 · Leave a Comment

The Global Climate Prospectus will describe impacts across the globe, at high resolution. That means choosing administrative regions that people care about, and representing impacts within countries. However, choosing relevant regions is tough work. We want to represent more regions where there are more people, but we also want to have more regions where spatial climate variability will produce different impacts.

We now have an intelligent way to do just that, presented this week at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union. It is generalizable, allowing the relative role of population, area, climate, and other factors to be adjusted while making hard decisions about what administrative units to combine.  See the poster here.

Below is the successive agglomeration of regions in the United States, balancing the effects of population, area, temperature and precipitation ranges, and compactness. The map progresses from 200 regions to ten.


Across the globe, some countries are maintained at the resolution of their highest available administrative unit, while others are subjected to high levels of agglomeration.


The tool is generalizable, and able to take any mechanism for proposing regions and scoring them. That means that it can also be used outside of the GCP, and we welcome anyone who wants to construct regions appropriate for their analysis to contact us.


Categories: Presentations · Research

Integrated Food System Speed Talk

December 2, 2014 · Leave a Comment

Below is my Prezi presentation, from a 4 minute “speed talk” on my research a week ago:

The main points of the narrative are below:

  1. Frame 1: My pre-thesis research:
    • I’m going to give a brief sense of where my research has gone, and my hopes for where it’s going.
    • My research has evolved– or wandered– but I’ve realized that it centers around food.
    • Food represents some of the most important ways humanity both relies upon and impacts the planet.
    • We need better models to understand this relationship– models that are sensitive to changing environmental conditions (including climate), and changing management (including adaptation).
  2. Frame 2: My thesis:
    • Perhaps more importantly, we need models powerful enough to capture feedbacks.
    • Harvests feedback and affect the harvesters: Fluctuations in a harvest affect producers in immediate and long-term ways.
    • Producers aren’t mechanical or linear: they respond dynamically to conditions.
    • Producers are part of the system, and I’m interested in understanding these systems as wholes.
  3. Frame 3: The greater whole:
    • These feedback loops are part of a larger integrated system of how food works.
    • Example: When farmers use excessive inputs in the course of their management, it impacts the environment, including that of fishers.
    • Example: 1/3 of fish caught is sold as fishmeal, which goes to feed livestock. These are all connected.
  4. Frame 4: What we eat becomes a driving force throughout this integrated system.
  5. Frame 5: A call for help:
    • Consumption patterns feed back on the production system, which feeds back on large environmental processes like climate change.
    • We need integrated models with all these parts to understand the whole and find leverage points where policies can make a difference.
    • I’d like to invite people from many fields to help out: biologists, computer scientists, economists, and foodies too.
    • Help me better represent the vast opportunities the food system holds for a sustainable future.

Categories: Presentations