The Integrated History and Future of People on Earth (IHOPE) is an international community of researchers and research projects that integrate the past of the Earth system and the history of human presence with the goal of a just and sustainable future.
Our website offers news of interest to the IHOPE community, and along with other activities (e.g., workshops, conferences, and seminars) presents idea-filled examples of partnerships that demonstrate how the past can build future durability into communities and regions.
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- We facilitate collaboration among the environmental sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities, in addition to indigenous and local communities, citizen scientists, modelers, scenario builders, resource managers, decision makers, complexity thinkers and practitioners in fields such as architecture, engineering, and law.
- We build networks but do not fund research.
- We provide expertise to manage the future of landscapes and regions.
- We apply long-term, human-scale, and place-based perspectives that can be folded into the global system.
- We encourage theoretical pluralism, as long as widely accepted scholarly and ethical standards are met.
- We employ the toolbox of historical ecology, environmental humanities, future studies, and the study of complex systems to use the past as a laboratory.
A Three-Fold Approach to Research
Historical ecology integrates the history of the Earth´s biophysical system with the history of human life in all its aspects. This holistic perspective draws from the biophysical sciences, social sciences, and the humanities, and necessitates the use of diverse data such as documents, archaeology, environmental information, and local knowledge. Landscapes and regions, studied at different scales across time and space, offer a human-scale focus for the study of change.
Environmental humanities draw humanities disciplines into conversation with each other and with the natural and social sciences. Environmental humanists address the impact of humans and human cognition on physical reality and their consequences, paying particular attention to how our perspectives on nature — attitudes, beliefs and values — are shaped by our myths, legends, ideology, aesthetics, politics, religion, and science.
Future Studies incorporate complex adaptive systems (CAS), an aggregate of several strands of investigation now widely applied in the biological, physical, and social sciences. CAS concepts (such as nonlinearity, initial conditions, emergence, basins of attraction, and path dependence), applied to the dynamics of human societies, can offer new insights for scenario and modeling projects. Looking beyond periods of relative stability to periods of transition can offer valuable lessons for the future.
At the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme’s (IGBP) 2003 conference in Banff, Robert Costanza and colleagues addressed the meeting’s challenge: how can the Earth System and human societies be viewed as a single system?
IHOPE thus began as an initiative of IGBP’s core project Analysis, Integration and Modeling of the Earth System (AIMES). IHOPE was also a project of the International Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP), thus linking environmental and social global efforts. In 2015, IGBP
and IHDP were dissolved and IHOPE, along with other global programs, was consolidated within the Future Earth framework. Under the guidance of Kathy Hibbard (2003-2009), the US National Center for Climate Research (NCAR) was IHOPE’s first home.
IHOPE was then hosted at the Stockholm Resilience Center (2009-2011) and then at Uppsala University’s Department of Archaeology and Ancient History (2011-2018) under the guidance of Carole Crumley.
Charting the Future
IHOPE demonstrates the relevance of the past to the future of people, landscapes and regions and investigates the complex chain of interactions which result in the sustainability or vulnerability of societies. We also recognize that a viable future requires equity, trust, and respect among communities of research and practice.
Viable modes of living on Earth cannot be found without incorporating human history, cognition, and cultural and geographic diversity into models and scenarios for the human future. The Integrated History and Future of People on Earth (IHOPE) represents a coalition of science and humanities scholars with communities to facilitate pragmatic, sustainable, and ethical place-based management and to diversify expertise to manage the future.