Dr. Alder Stone Fuller will present an illustrated talk on “Earth, Life, and Abrupt Climate Change: A Fresh Perspective from the System Sciences” Tuesday, May 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Camden Public Library.

Fuller is a freelance educator who has studied and taught evolutionary biology, biology, mathematics, and geophysiology. His presentation will stress a “systems” approach to understanding Earth’s changes and challenges.

“We are learning that the whole Earth is a self-regulating system, capable of regulating the temperature and chemistry of the air and oceans much like an organism,” he said in a news release. “But it is not an organism, and is not conscious. We are also becoming aware that Earth is, metaphorically, a capricious beast, and we are poking it with sharp sticks. Using the system sciences, including Earth system science, we are learning to see nature, Earth, and even life itself in elegant, awe-inspiring new ways.”

Even though his main focus is on Earth and life, Fuller’s presentation will also address the greatest challenge for our species in its 1-million-year history: an abrupt climate change event that has already begun and is accelerating quickly. The talk will introduce the basic principles of system sciences needed to understand abrupt climate change, including the properties of nonlinear systems; negative and positive feedbacks; transitions at critical thresholds (tipping points); and the existence of limited, ‘meta-stable’ states within the Earth’s climate system. The talk offers an overview of geophysiology, the science of how Earth’s climate and other systems self-regulate. It explains why abrupt climate change is probably unstoppable even with extreme emissions reductions, but why we must reduce emissions as quickly and as much as possible to avoid more serious consequences. And it posits that we must also — simultaneously and immediately – begin to increase community resilience by shock-proofing our systems for basic needs — shelter, water, food, energy, health care, transportation and security — and promote the emergence of new cultural maps to guide us in the 21st century and beyond. And equally important, we must work to replace our obsolete mechanistic science views of Nature with more organic views based in the system sciences and geophysiology.