The New Role of NGOs for Participative Conservation and Sustainability Science in Mexico

Jorge Torre Cosio

Comunidad y Biodiversidad A. C.

Multi-scale governance for effective marine resource management suggests collective decision making, the devolution of some rights and responsibilities to various entities, co-production of knowledge, and coupling governance and ecological scales. This talk will describe the elements of multi-scale governance of Mexican small-scale fisheries and the contribution of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to this approach. Given NGOs’ agenda shift in the Gulf of California region from advocacy for environmental conservation to participation in sustainable management, this research highlights how NGOs can contribute to multi-scale governance through a framework for the evaluation of management processes and the contribution of different stakeholders applied to any management process.

jorge-torreJorge Torre is the Executive Director and co-founder of Comunidad y Biodiversidad, (, a nongovernmental organization focusing on the conservation of marine biodiversity through effective participatory approaches. He obtained his Ph.D. from the School of Natural Resources, The University of Arizona, in 2002.

Better Environmental Decisions: We want them, but how do we get them?

Joe Arvai

We have witnessed, over the last several years, an explosion of interest in the science of judgment and decision-making. For example, bestsellers like Predictably Irrational and Thinking, Fast and Slow have provided engaging summaries of research focused on how people make choices. But, applications based on this research about how to improve the quality of important personal and policy choices has struggled to keep pace. This is especially the case when we think about problems (and opportunities) that demand what could be termed “active decision support”.

Dr. Arvai will talk about research conducted in his lab at the University of Calgary, which has focused on developing and testing decision-aiding tools for use by people when making choices involving complex problems and consequential outcomes. Dr. Arvai’s research focuses on analytic and affective modes of judgment, and on developing and testing decision support systems that can be used to improve decision quality across a wide range of environmental, social, and economic contexts. These decision support systems can be classified as active (in that they decompose complex problems into more cognitively manageable parts) or passive (in that they modify human behavior in self-interested directions without modifying people’s decision-making tendencies).

Joe Arvai

Professor and Svare Chair in Applied Decision Research, University of Calgary

Senior Researcher, Decision ResearchEugene, Oregon

Adjunct Professor, Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Member, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board and U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Board on Environmental Change and Society


Monday, October 27, 2014

12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

Decision Center for a Desert City

21 E. 6th St, Ste 126B

Tempe, Arizona 85281

(lunch will be provided)

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Biodiversity and the Decision Center for a Desert City.

Click HERE for a video of this talk

Elephant Whispering: Effective Communication about Climate Change to the Public

Scott Denning

Monfort Professor of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University.

A wealth of social science research has shown that public perception of climate change is very strongly colored by ideological filters in which facts are evaluated based on their fit to previously held beliefs. Scientific discourse about climate change is well received by environmentalism, which confirms the fears and competitive impulses of libertarianism. Scientists, educators, and science communicators must acknowledge the cultural context of climate change in order to lift climate discourse out of its ideological gutter. Emphasizing recent trends, current weather events and impacts, and especially argument from authority of expertise and consensus are effective with average audiences but trigger reflexive opposition from suspicious listeners. Beyond ideology, climate change is Simple, Serious, and Solvable. Effective communication of these three key ideas can succeed when the science argument is carefully framed to avoid attack of the audience’s ethical identity. Simple arguments from common sense and everyday experience are more successful than data. Serious consequences to values that resonate with the audience can be avoided by solutions that don’t threaten those values.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

3-4 PM

LSA 119

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Hosted by Kevin Gurney

Presented as part of The School of Life Sciences Hugh Hanson Ecology Seminar Series