In a complex system, small, local changes can create a cascade of unexpected consequences in other parts of the system. Choices that seem immediately prudent might prove less ideal in the long term. Applied Complexity Fellow Saverio Perri is interested in the unexpected ways that sustainability transitions might impact both social and ecological systems.
Perri holds an M.A. in environmental engineering from the University of Palermo and a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary engineering from Khalifa University. His dissertation focused on natural systems, exploring how degraded, salty soils impact plant communities across spatial and temporal scales. During a recent postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University, he expanded his research into managed ecosystems by studying the dynamics of the global food system.
During his fellowship at SFI, Perri plans to explore biophysical constraints like water availability and soil fertility within our food systems and the negative consequences of exceeding those limits. “If we can better understand the constraints, we can maximize productivity without having to further increase land use or inputs such as water and fertilizer,” he says.
He also wants to better understand individual and collective perceptions of climate change adaptations. “Most people know that climate change is happening, and governments have agreed that we need to do something,” he says. “I want to know why we are not doing what's needed and identify governance and behavioral scenarios to sustain the transition to sustainability targets.”
Perri began his fellowship in August.