CANCELLED: Pizza Talk: "Lessons from Bali’s water temples" by Steve Lansing

Event Date: 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Event Location: 

  • HSSB 2001A

UCSB Department of Anthropology Pizza Talk
Tuesday, December 12 @ noon, HSSB 2001a

Lessons from Bali’s water temples 

Steve Lansing

Along a typical river in Bali, small groups of farmers meet regularly in water temples to manage their irrigation systems. They have done so for a thousand years. Over the centuries, water temple networks have expanded to manage the ecology of rice terraces at the scale of whole watersheds. Although each group focuses on its own problems, somehow everything works out in a way that optimizes rice harvests for the farmers in dozens of villages. How is this possible?  Google Earth reveals transitory patterns in the rice paddies that closely resemble phase transitions in physics, like the onset of magnetism. This unlocked a story of hidden order that charms the physics community, perplexes economists and offers everyone a startlingly new way to think about how people interact with nature.
J. Stephen Lansing is a professor in the Asian School of Environment and co-director of the Complexity Institute at Nanyang Technological University.  He is an emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona, a senior research fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute and the Vienna Complexity Hub,  and president of the Anthropology and Environment Society of the American Anthropological Association.  In 2012 he developed a UNESCO World Heritage for the subaks and water temple networks of Bali.