Dr. Cory Whitney talked about the use of collaborative research and holistic analysis approaches to describe systems and model decision impact pathways. He addressed ‘some of the global challenges that provide inspiration for our work’ related to sustainability as outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Dr. Whitney works with diverse groups including researchers, food activists, small-scale farmers and indigenous communities to address issues of direct relevance and offer new lenses through which to view the development process. Throughout his presentation, he encouraged his audience to think about ethnobotany and research that we do to address global and local sustainability. In order to foster system thinking and help identifying possible future research directions that contribute to addressing contemporary sustainability issues, Dr. Whitney introduced students to an online system modeling software, Loopy. Students created their own models and we resumed with creating a group model.
“The activity really brought to life, for me, the saying ‘pursue the surprising.’ On a personal level, that hit home but also I can see the benefit with the professional perspective when approaching problems needing solutions. It gives a simple layout of pockets of information but how they relate and interact with one another.” (EBOT student)