Meeting Summary: Consumer society appears to be headed for a reckoning, and with it social science. This talk describes several recent discoveries from the region where both breakups are under way. The first is about nomadic cave-dwelling hunter-gatherers in the vanishing forests of Borneo, and their omens, languages, and ancestors. On neighboring islands, co-phylogenies of languages and genes restore meaning to the past of tribal peoples. And on Bali, where consumer society has achieved its deepest penetration, the struggle to sustain an ancient harmony between society and nature expands to encompass ocean-atmosphere coupling and greenhouse gas emissions.
Steve Lansing is an external professor at SFI, and co-director of the Complexity Institute at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, where he is also a professor in the Asian School of the Environment.