Vicente L. Lopes, Ph.D
Professor of Environmental Studies
Building the Foundation for a Sustainable Society
Sustainability science is a community-based systems inquiry into human-environment relations. It is a purposeful search for a connected understanding that we humans are an inseparable and integral part of the wider community of life on Earth that evolves through intimate and interdependent relationships in an ever-renewing process. Although partly inspired by the science of ecology and systems thinking, sustainability science draws upon much wider philosophical traditions, including Indigenous and other "non-Western" ways of knowing.
Sustainability science advocates a participatory science of qualities, values and interactions which underpins an ecological worldview. Central to its approach is a concern for changing patterns of human behavior that have become an imminent danger to the health of the planet, and the cultivation of new forms of human experience and action that are more harmoniously aligned with the the natural world and the larger cosmic order within which we dwell.
My research in sustainability science blends philosophy and ecology with systems thinking and policy analysis to develop a more integrally-informed understanding of human-environment relations. I am particularly interested in (1) understanding patters and processes that disrupt the ability of human and natural systems to renew or reorganize themselves, (2) restoring the resilience of human and natural communities, and (3) fostering active learning and community participation.
Education and research opportunities in Sustainability Science at Texas State University
My teaching activities at Texas State University include directing thesis and dissertations, mentoring, and teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in hydrology and environmental studies with a focus on sustainability science. I also organize and teach graduate seminars on topics related to sustainability.
Courses taught frequently:
Managing for healthy watersheds requires a systemic (holistic) understanding of hydrologic and geomorphic processes operating at the watershed level. This course explores the properties, distribution and movement of water occurring within watersheds, their relationship to land use/land cover, and methods to assess the impacts of human activities on water quantity and quality.
The gravity and complexity of the global environmental crisis calls for a systemic (holistic) approach to the study of human-environment relations. At a minimum, such an approach should broaden and deepen the scope of ecology through active engagement with the humanities and social sciences. Central to this approach is the recognition that the key factor determining the health of the Earth’s ecosystems is the behavior of human beings, and that many of the most crucial problems lie in the areas of human psychology and culture. This couse explores an integrative framework that brings together philosophical, scientific and practical perspectives in the study of human-environment relations.
|Sustainability Science Workshop
This participatory workshop aims to enlarge and deepen our understanding of human-environment relations through a systemic (holistic) framework that explicates an ecological worldview by revisioning philosophy, methodology and practice in terms of wholeness. The workshop seeks to create lasting relationships between human and natural communities on a strategic and personal level. If you think your community or organization could benefit from this workshop, please contact us (flyer).
Author and co-author of over 100 articles published in refereed journals, book chapters and conference proceedings. A selection of recent publications follows:
Vogl, A. L. and Lopes, V. L. (2010). Evaluating Watershed Experiments through Recursive Residual Analysis. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, 136(5): 348-353
Moltz, H.L.N., Lopes, V. L., Rast, W. and Ventura, S. J. (2010). A Hydrologic-Economic Analysis of Best Management Practices for Sediment Control in the Santa Fe Watershed, New Mexico. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 15(4): 308-317
Mix, K., Rast, W. and Lopes, V. L. (2010). Increases in Growing Degree Days in the Alpine Desert of the San Luis Valley, Colorado. Journal of Water, Air & Soil Pollution, 205(1): 289-304
Vogl, A. L. and Lopes, V. L. (2009). Impacts of Water Resources Development on Flow Regimes in the Brazos River. Journal of Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 157:331-345
Lopes, V. L. and Luizzi, V. L. (2008). Participatory Sustainability: Building Sustainability for Complexity and Change. In: Osborne, R. and Kriese, P. (eds). Global Community, Global Security. Value Inquiry Book Series 198, Rodopi, pp. 217-227
Lopes, V. L. and Vogl, A. L. (2008). Integrating Modeling and Field Experiments to Evaluate Impacts of Vegetative Practices on Ponderosa Pine Watersheds. Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 44(5):1284-1294
Chaves, I. B., Lopes, V. L., Ffolliott, P. F. and Paes-Silva, A.P. (2008). Uma Classificacao Morpho-Estrutural para Descricao e Avaliacao da Biomassa da Vegetacao da Caatinga. Revista Caatinga, 21(2): 204-213
Lopes, V. L. (2007). Integration Science: Linking Social and Ecological Systems for Sustainability. ESA/SER Joint Meeting, San Jose, CA, August 5-10, 2007. (http://eco.confex.com/eco/2007/techprogram/P6956.HTM)
Lopes, V. L., Osterkamp, W. R. and Bravo-Espinosa, M. and (2007). A Method for Improving Predictions of Bed-load Discharges to Reservoirs. Lakes & Reservoirs: Research and Management, 12:59-72
Towards a Relational Worldview
A Participatory Inquiry into the Nature of Reality
The metaphor of participation is at the core of an emerging relational (ecological) worldview that is replacing the mechanistic worldview of modernity. At the center of this worldview is an understanding of our underlying nature and the organic wholeness of the cosmos that we inhabit and co-create. According to this worldview: