Book // New Elsevier publication re-imagines the Water-Energy-Food Nexus
The book by Mathew Kurian and Yu Kojima is titled 'Boundary Science: Re-imagining Water-Energy-Food Interactions in the Context of the Environment-Development Nexus' and will be published in May 2021. 'Boundary Science' explores the applications of open access platforms to promote transdisciplinary engagement with pressing global challenges such as migration and climate change. It invites Nexus scholars and practitioners alike to reform the practice of environmental modelling by adopting open data principles to advance knowledge translation that supports robust decision making.
For a long time Nexus scholars have struggled to comprehend how governance influences Nexus discussions. In this book we discuss a two step approach to integrating political economy analysis via the use of typologies of trade-offs and composite indices. This book uncovers the dire need to improve global public goods research through greater recognition of boundary spanning skills of political negotiation, research framing and horizon scanning in the environmental and social sciences. 'Boundary Science' explores the applications of open access platforms to promote transdisciplinary engagement with pressing global challenges of migration and climate change and is an invitation to Nexus scholars and practitioners alike to reform the practice of environmental modelling by adopting open data principles to advance knowledge translation that supports robust decision making.
Content of the book
The Nexus approach through its emphasis on concepts of trade-offs has necessitated a re-articulation of the basic underpinnings of water-energy-food interactions by exposing the contradictions inherent between a monitoring approach that is limited to tracking the status of the environment and one that attempts to trace the institutional basis for reform and change. Boundary Science: Re-imagining water-energy-food interactions in the context of the environment-development Nexus (Mathew Kurian and Yu Kojima, Elsevier, 2021) furthermore highlights the tension between efficiency and equity in environment and development planning and explores the concept of thresholds to public action- under what conditions will a critical mass of factors combine to sustain effective policy and management? As an example, Management Information Systems (MIS) within large bureaucracies are often ill-equipped to handle feedback on resource use and management of public infrastructure. This book therefore poses three questions that attempt to understand the political economy conditions that will lead to effective public action in support of environmental policy and management:
- By drawing upon the literature on incrementalism in policy planning we inquire about the pathways for integrating scientific inputs into environmental policy and planning (the normative bases).
- By relying upon an emerging body of work on transition planning and back-casting we ask what approaches, frameworks, and methods can support the construction of integrative models of environmental change (the conceptual bases).
- By reflecting upon agent- based models we explore how the scope of data aggregation, collection, analysis/processing of data and models can be refined to provide more frequent, reliable, and dis-aggregated data that can advance the use of scientific inputs in environmental decision making (the operational bases).
In exploring the above questions, 'Boundary Science' discusses an emergent body of literature encompassing theory, methods, models, and data transformation techniques borne out of advancements in fields of public administration, political ecology, earth observations and data science. 'Boundary Science' is articulated via a discussion of three aspects that have been overlooked by the literature on environmental policy and governance:
(a) boundary conditions- 7 of them are outlined in this book,
(b) 5 typologies of trade-offs are gleaned from global public goods research and
(c) boundary spanning skills-horizon scanning, regional consultation, strategic communication, political negotiation and data valorization that have hitherto been overlooked in the design and execution of environmental research.
We believe that closer attention to the above issues will improve our understanding of the basis for synergies in environmental governance through analysis of agency behavior that will enable the identification of incentives needed to empower individuals to bargain for and coordinate their actions to mitigate extreme trade-offs in environmental management. As a result, we anticipate that this book will support stand-alone curriculum for online courses, guide thinking on applications of open-source platforms for development research and be a resource for students and those in the modelling community who are interested in re-imagining water-energy-food interactions in the context of a data-light approach to monitoring the broader environment-development Nexus.
Table of Contents
1. Modelling Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Interactions: What Ails Global Public Goods Research?
2. How can Transdisciplinary Research Enhance the Monitoring of Policy Impact of Global Public Goods Research
3. Co-curating Robust Models to Inform Decision Making in Environmental Management
4. Wither Boundary Science: Working Together to Build Multi-dimensional Environmental Models
More information on the book, its authors and the publishing date can be found on the website of Elsevier.
In addition, 'Boundary Science' serves as a basis for an online course on disaster resilience. The course features WEF-Nexus aspects and centres on Sub-Sahara Africa. You can find more information here: HOME | Climate Panel V1 (theclimatepanel.com)
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