Navigation Links
Sustainability solutions need the power of networks

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The choices an individual makes about environmental issues are affected by family, friends and others in a person's social network. Michigan State University scientists are studying how to harness the power of social networks to better communicate sustainability science.

"Instead of trying to communicate with thousands of people, we can be more effective by using the structure of social networks to spread information," says Thomas Dietz, MSU assistant vice president for environmental research and a sociologist. "By communicating with the people who influence decisions in a network, we can have a dialogue with them and learn what is important to those groups. The influencers then spread the information to the rest of the network."

Dietz and Adam Henry, assistant professor of public administration at West Virginia University, have organized a symposium, "Social Networks and Sustainability," at this year's annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Symposium speakers are Henry; Ken Frank, MSU professor of measurement and quantitative methods, and fisheries and wildlife; and Mrill Ingram of the University of Wisconsin.

Frank develops mathematical models of social networks, which allows scientists to analyze the effects of social networks using universal, formal terms.

"My work makes explicit what we see in social network diagrams," Frank says. "For example, the diagrams can be used to represent how new knowledge diffuses through a network of stakeholders, and then the influence model can be used to estimate the size the network effect relative to other effects such as exposure to government reports and popular media."

"Ken's models are very helpful for communicating information," Dietz says. "His selection model tells us where people in a network get their information. So now we know who to contact to share information.

"Because we don't know how to deal with all the sustainability challenges we face, we have to learn as we go," he continues. "So we monitor what is and isn't effective and then get the new information out to the networks. There are many practical applications for this research."


Contact: Jamie DePolo
Michigan State University

Related biology news :

1. Its time to take a unified approach toward measuring sustainability
2. OU establishes a new water and sustainability institute
3. Water, water everywhere focus of new sustainability project
4. U of Minnesota center releases nations first long-term framework for statewide water sustainability
5. Freshwater sustainability challenges shared by Southwest and Southeast, researchers find
6. Scientific Grand Challenges identified to address global sustainability
7. U of I receives $1.5 million to further sustainability in ornamental crop production
8. RIT receives federal grant to construct new sustainability research facility
9. WSU researchers taking sustainability of organic farming to new level
10. ORNL wins 2 awards for sustainability program
11. Ethical issues ignored in teaching, research of sustainability
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015 Daon, a global leader ... has released a new version of its IdentityX ... North America have already installed IdentityX ... includes a FIDO UAF certified server component ... to activate FIDO features. These customers include some of ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 29, 2015 Today, LifeBEAM , ... with 2XU, a global leader in technical performance ... hat with advanced bio-sensing technology. The hat will ... monitor key biometrics to improve overall training performance. ... two companies will bring together the most advanced technology, ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... , October 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... --> adds Biometrics ... to 2021 as well as Emerging ... research reports to its collection of ... . --> ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... , November 27, 2015 ... Growing popularity of companion diagnostics is one ... biomarkers market with pharmaceutical companies and diagnostic ... diagnostic tests. . ... Complete report on global cancer biomarkers market ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 --> ... specializing in imaging technologies, announced today that it has received ... of the Horizon 2020 European Union Framework Programme for Research ... clinical trial in breast cancer. , --> ... --> --> The study aims ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ANNAPOLIS, Md. , Nov. 25, 2015  PharmAthene, ... of Directors has adopted a stockholder rights plan (Rights ... its net operating loss carryforwards (NOLs) under Section 382 ... --> --> PharmAthene,s use of its ... an "ownership change" as defined in Section 382 of ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- Studies reveal the differences in species ... the way for more effective treatment for one of the ... --> --> Gum disease ... cats, yet relatively little was understood about the bacteria associated ... conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition ...
Breaking Biology Technology: