Science, Technology, and Society Seminar: STS Circle at Harvard (In Person)


Monday, September 26, 2022, 12:15pm to 2:00pm


CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Thomas Chan-Soo Kang Room (S050)

"Transformational Adaptation as an Applied STS Problem"


Ed Carr, Director and Professor of the International Development, Community, and Environment Department, Clarke University.


Sam Evans

Cosponsored by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.


With the release of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, the climate change community has embraced the idea of transformation as necessary to achieve a just, sustainable future. This presents a significant challenge for those working on adaptation. Long implicitly framed as a largely technical, defensive exercise seeking to protect people from harm and, implicitly, significant impacts and changes, adaptation now must work to facilitate forward-looking transformations. Examples of climate services that have been implemented as adaptation interventions illustrate how seeing adaptation as a means to transformation reveals it as a socio-technical challenge that, for whatever its potentials, risks producing unintended and even harmful outcomes. These examples also offer opportunities to understand and implement transformational adaptation in a productive manner.


Ed Carr is a professor and the Director of the International Development, Community, and Environment Department at Clark University. He also founded and directs the Humanitarian Response and Development Lab (HURDL), a research unit at Clark dedicated to bridging basic research and its application to real-world challenges. The author of more than 70 publications on issues of global development, livelihoods, adaptation to climate change, and the changing global environment, his work focuses on understanding and addressing challenges emerging at the intersection of adaptation, resilience, and development. Carr has worked as a policy advisor and scientific advisor for development donors and multilateral organizations. He is currently the Panel Member for Climate Change Adaptation on the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility. Prior positions include work as the first climate change coordinator for USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance and as an adviser on the Climate Change Team in USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and the Environment. Carr has also served as the lead author of three prior global environmental assessments, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the United Nations Environment Programme's Fourth Global Environment Outlook, and the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report. He is currently a lead author for of the IPBES Transformation Assessment.

Lunch is provided if you RSVP via our online form by close of business on Thursday, September 19: