Human Social Metabolism

Jul 18th, 1993 - Jul 31st, 1993

The focus of this workshop was the immense impact of human activities on the global environment. This impact is driven by the emergence over the past two centuries of urban industrial society, powered by fossil fuel derived energy sources. The unprecedented scale of this planetary change was the core issue of the workshop, which used the metaphor of metabolism at the scale of an organism to describe changes at the scale of civilization. For example, cities acquire materials, energy, people, and ideas as an input to produce heat, waste material flows, products, and new ideas all while interacting with other urban centers. Also considered was how this “urban metabolism” can be viewed as a fundamental topic of global change research and the implications of this metaphor for sustainability planning.

keywords: urban ecology, industrial ecology, energy, global change, population

A Global Problem: A World of Research

Presented By Richard Rockwell
Date July 29, 1993


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Day 1July 19, 1993


William L. Chameides

Duke University
starEvent Co-Chair

Gayl D. Ness

University of Michigan
starEvent Co-Chair

Douglas Way

Ohio State University
starEvent Co-Chair


Aoyama Gakuin University
National Institute of Public Health
Argonne National Laboratory
University of Michigan
University of Colorado, Boulder
University of New Hampshire
Nihon University
Senior Research Professor
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Research Scientist
Sacramento Bee
Staff Writer
Stanford University
William Wrigley Professor of Earth System Science & Sr. Fellow and Founding Director, Center on Food Security and Environment
State of North Carolina
Instructional Specialist
Environmental Research Institute of Michigan (ERIM)
Research Scientist
University of Michigan
University of Michigan
Professor of Sociology, Associate Head
University of Michigan
Graduate Research
Environmental Research Institute of Michigan (ERIM)
University of Arizona
Research Specialist
Population Reference Bureau

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