BS Natural Resources, Cornell University
PhD Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lehigh University
Prediction of systemic environment-economic interactions remains an applied transdisciplinary challenge paramount to sustainability decisions. To this end, Travis’ fortuitous path from agrarian upbringing, to natural resource consulting and big data climate/ecological sciences, has a common desire to harness natural complexity to reveal big-picture solutions. Farmers have unique insight into the relationship between humans and ecology. Growing up on a farm in northwestern New Jersey, Travis was able to observe first-hand the physical science governing crop production and ecologic interactions. However, from the vantage of a natural resources consultant, economic activity (e.g. land development) is often at odds with environmental protection (e.g. wetland preservation, air quality) and consulting companies must work for developers to interpret and comply with regulations that are based on, in part, historic and landmark science. Ultimately however, regulatory expansion is too politically slow, economically undesirable and ecologically insufficient. Instead we need a new paradigm of actionable systems understanding with loci for application that motivate long-term systemic risk avoidance and global well-being.
Travis manages the science, administration and institution building of the Knowledge Systems for Sustainability Collaborative (KSSCo), a global research alliance that builds and tests knowledge systems to better manage complex risks related to food, energy, water, climate and human security. In his free time, he is working to publish forest-climate interaction science and develop a broadly applicable theory of change that identifies and applies concepts of system health.