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Tackling Wicked Problems through Post-Normal and Transition Science

Thursday 24 February 2011, 5pm GMT

A free webinar from Earthscan – presented by Jerome Ravetz, originator of post-normal science, and Valerie Brown, editor of Tackling Wicked Problems – will discuss the kinds of knowledge we need to tackle our ecological and social crises.

  • Hear about the limits of traditional science in solving ‘wicked’ socio-environmental issues;
  • Discover different ways of doing science: ‘Post-Normal ’ and ‘Transition’ Science;
  • Take part in a live online Q&A  with experts on the science of change.

Register now for this free webinar – Thursday 24 February 2011, 17:00 (UK time – GMT), 12:00 (New York – EST), 9:00 (San Francisco – PST)

Can’t make the date? If you register for the event, you will be sent the archived version the following day.

The webinar is aimed at scientists tackling wicked problems posed by global social and environmental change; government and non-government agencies who are hoping a new science can help them with their transitions to a sustainable state; and anyone concerned with the wicked problems we are facing, with an interest in the kinds of knowledge we are relying on to solve them.

More about the Earthcast

The presenters argue that the normal conduct of science – with its rules of trying to reduce complexity and eliminate uncertainty – has not only failed to resolve ‘wicked’ problems such as climate change and industrial pollution, it has had a hand in causing them. This Earthcast will consider changes in the way we do science that could help us resolve ‘wicked’ problems – so-called because they defy traditional problem-solving methods.  

  • Jerome Ravetz will explain how he developed Post-Normal Science, which allows for uncertainty and imagination. This is appropriate for policy issues where facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent.
  • Valerie Brown will present her work on Transition Science.  Through her work with over 300 communities, she has identified ingredients needed to bring about social change: key individuals, members of the affected community, specialised advisors, influential organizations and a holistic focus. Valerie will propose that collective knowledge, the sum of these multiple knowledges, is emerging as the basis for a Transition Science.

About the speakers

Jerome Ravetz is Associate Fellow, the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, Said Business School, Oxford University.  You can find his papers at; and He is the author of A No-Nonsense Guide to Science (New Internationalist: 2006)

Valerie A. Brown is Emeritus Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Western Sydney, and Director, Local Sustainability Project, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University.  Her books include Social Learning in Environmental Management (Earthscan:2006); and Tackling Wicked Problems: Through the Transdisciplinary Imagination (Earthscan: 2010)

For more information, and to view all previous Earthcasts, visit

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