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Learning for sustainability (LfS) site update (February 2009)

Focus on managing complex systems - governance, adaptive management and resilience

The Learning for Sustainability site - http://learningforsustainability.net - brings together resources that help address the social and capacity building aspects of managing collective interests within complex and adapting systems. The site highlights the wide range of social skills and processes that are needed to support constructive collaboration, and indicates how these skills and processes can be interwoven to achieve more integrated and effective outcomes. This site brings links to several hundred annotated on-line resources from different sectors and geographic areas together in one easy to access site.

This portal site has been substantially revised and updated over the past few months. This newsletter provides a brief introduction to new resources that have been added.

New portal sections, pages, and links added

A new section on governance has now been developed. This is accessible directly off the front page menu system, and provides managers, policy makers and others with links to governance resources that support adaptation and adaptive management. Other new resource sections link to resources to support thinking and practice around managing complex systems, community resilience, and participation.

Most pages have been expanded with new resource links added. A central guides, tools and checklists section provides practical guidance to help readers address issues involved in managing multi-stakeholder participation and engagement initiatives. Lessons are drawn from different sectors including catchments and watersheds, natural resources, HIV/AIDS, climate change, and disasters. A new page in this section now covers tools, tips and techniques for facilitators and other social engagement specialists. Other site sections provide links to best and emerging practice in specific areas including social learning, adaptive management, network building and mapping, dialogue, knowledge management, and evaluation and reflection. Research links cover action research, systems thinking, participation, integration and interdisciplinarity. One page lists on-line resources for both post-graduate research students and their supervisors.

At the same time the site has been given a new CSS-based menu system. For most of you this won't make any difference. However, this should improve the use of the site greatly for those of you using Safari and Chrome browsers.

Interesting research papers and reports

The featured links for this issue are drawn from some of the new sections added recently. As the pages in this portal shows there is a lot of really good material available … so this newsletter section is is by no means intended as an award list, it just lists some recent additions that are good sites to share.

And the following reports are now hosted on the LfS site:

Thoughts for the day

Remembering Arne Naess (1912-2009: Arne Næss, who has died aged 96, was Norway's best-known philosopher, whose concept of deep ecology enriched and divided the environmental movement. Guardian obituary (15 January 2009)


Sharing, feedback, subscribing and unsubscribing

Please forward this site to interested colleagues. Feedback is welcomed, and visitors are encouraged to suggest sites to add. Thanks to those of you who have pointed to papers and other material for inclusion, and sharing among the wider global community of practice in this area. Last month the site averaged over 450 visitors each day. The highest number of visits in any one day was 1560.

Newsletter postings advise of major changes and additions to this site, and will be sent out as an LfS site update e-mail to those of you who wish every couple of months. These postings will indicate the major changes on the site during that time. Each posting will also include links to 5-6 feature articles, so it is a good way to gain an overview of material in this area which cuts across the health, environment and development sectors. Just click here to add your name to this list through the newsletter update subscription page. If you have received this newsletter electronically and you wish to unsubscribe you can also do this from the LfS site update page. Alternatively you can subscribe by sending an e-mail to [email protected] or unsubscribe by sending an e-mail to [email protected]. If all else fails just contact me directly through the link in the footer of this page.

Other ideas for browsing and reading

If you have time to browse the web then the talks provided through the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) site - www.ted.com - are always good value and thought provoking. The TED talks involve the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). If you want to use the Internet in a more active and involved way then you may be interested in the following links to sites that let you help just by using click throughs or donating to support different causes. You choose the cause, and it only takes a few minutes of your time.

And if you want some real book reading, or to buy a gift for yourself or someone else, then visit Amazon. Below I have listed a couple of books that were highlighted through the site or mentioned on the IntSci - Integrated science for sustainability discussion forum in recent months.

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Will Allen
This site is researched, written & maintained by Dr Will Allen.

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