Summer School 2019

08 July 2019
ICTA, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Complex Sustainability Challenges: The Nexus between Water, Energy and Food

From 08 to12 July 2019, researchers and students gathered at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Bellaterra to learn more about complex sustainability challenges. The summer school, co-organized by MAGIC and LIPHE4, provided an overview of the challenges posed to governance by complex sustainability problems and illustrated a novel approach (MuSIASEM) capable of handling these challenges. Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism (MuSIASEM) is an alternative to economic analyses in that it not only considers changes in the material standard of living, but also in environmental and social factors. MuSIASEM uses relational analysis to build a quantitative representation of the metabolic pattern of social-ecological systems. It addresses the following questions:

  • How are metabolized flows (water, energy, food, material) used inside the technosphere? (Incl. construction of multi-level end-use matrices);
  • What pressure do the metabolized flows create on the environment in terms of requirement of primary sources and primary sinks? (Incl. construction of  multi-level environmental pressure matrices);
  • How can described environmental pressures be used to estimate environmental impacts?
  • How open are modern social-ecological systems? To what extent do they rely on international trade to externalize (outsource) end-uses and environmental pressures and impacts to other social-ecological systems?

The overall aim of the summer school was to provide the participants with the tools to provide scientific advise in a post-truth world through quantitative story-telling and to explore the possibility of integrating social practice theory in the analysis of the metabolic pattern of social-ecological systems.

The material presented at the summer school drew on the results from MAGIC. The full program can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.



ICTA, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

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