Meeting Needs with Reduced Resources
In his keynote address at a 2012 NSF-funded National Academies symposium, John Holdren, then Director of the US Office of Science and Technology Policy and chief science advisor to the nation, spoke at length about climate change, and described a need for both mitigation – the reduction of the magnitude of change – and adaptation – the mobilization of responses to change. Holdren advocated for the development of technology that focuses on "meeting human needs [and] wants at lower cost with reduced use of material resources [and] reduced environmental impact." The Center for Research in Sustainability, Collapse-Preparedness & Information Technology (RiSCIT) seeks to engage with this challenge, in part due to the potential for "greening through IT" – that is, making civilizations more environmentally sustainable via IT interventions and in part as means of preparing for civilizational collapse. The goal of RiSCIT is to provide a central focus for research on the role of informatics and computing in supporting the transition to sustainability and addressing the potential to prepare for civilization-scale collapse. Since 2015, RiSCIT has hosted LIMITS—the annual Workshop on Computing within Limits—to foster discussion on the impact of present and future ecological, material, energetic, and societal limits on computing, and also as a means of growing the community of researchers exploring such issues.