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EDIT: Here the draft version: Blog (MPE) - Green mathematics for the era of environmental jeopardy.
This is a thread to discuss the article that we are writing for the MPE blog (Mathematics of Planet Earth).
I'll post a note when I have a draft up on the wiki.
This thread is a spinoff from this forum thread: Helping JB write for Azimuth.
There John said:
Jinqiao Duan of IPAM invited me to write an article on the Mathematics of Planet Earth blog
Here are the requirements for the post:
We encourage personal commentary on any topic associated with MPE2013. A contribution can be a report on a meeting, a pointer to important research results or educational material, a website recommendation, a short essay on a key issue, a book review, a news item, or any other material that might be of interest to a broad audience. A contribution can be as short as a couple of paragraphs and may include a photo or illustration or even an audio or video clip. We recommend no more than about 1,000 words of text. In case you are a newcomer to the blogosphere, here is a link to a helpful web site: http://www.maa.org/pubs/FOCUSfeb-mar12_blogroll.html.
Here are some initial thoughts that I sent to John by email.
Your slides on Energy, the Environment, and What Mathematicians Can Do already contain a lot of great material. Just converting some of that material into an expository and honestly persuasive essay could go along way. I'd be happy to make a pass at writing a draft. In doing so I would end up processing the ideas for myself, and clarifying where I stand on the points of discussion -- both in terms of my understanding of the scientific content, and my assessments about what should/can be done by mathematicians.
There is another major facet to the story, which is not unrelated to your stated goal of ending innumeracy and illogic. Our abuse of the environment is driven by societal processes. So environmental science really can't omit from the picture economics and politics as major components of the objective reality. Yet this has been a terrible quagmire for science because it is a battleground of vested interests. Much more clarity is needed here, and mathematicians are by nature truth seekers.
There is a great spiritual challenge here: how to fearlessly pursue the truth, in these most complex and heated of areas -- the social sciences -- without unwittingly becoming a doctrinaire ideologist.
I don't have answers here, but I do see a lot of questions that have yet to be addressed in a truly scientific manner.
If you think that there is room for some discussion along these lines, I could continue to write up this thread of thought.