Multidisciplinary approaches are required to address the complex environmental problems of our time. Solutions to climate change problems are good examples of situations requiring complex syntheses of ideas from a vast set of disciplines including science, engineering, social science, and the humanities. Unfortunately, most ecologists have narrow training, and are not equipped to bring their environmental skills to the table with interdisciplinary teams to help solve multidisciplinary problems. To address this problem, new graduate training programs and workshops sponsored by various organizations are providing opportunities for scientists and others to learn to work together in multidisciplinary teams. Two examples of training in multidisciplinary thinking include those organized by the Santa Fe Institute and Dahlem Workshops. In addition, many interdisciplinary programs have had successes in providing insight into climate change problems including the International Panel on Climate Change, the Joint North American Carbon Program, the National Academy of Science Research Grand Challenges Initiatives, and the National Academy of Science. These programs and initiatives have had some notable success in outlining some of the problems and solutions to climate change. Scientists who can offer their specialized expertise to interdisciplinary teams will be more successful in helping to solve the complex problems related to climate change.
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Multidisciplinary approaches to climate change questions