Abstract for: Science, engineering, and technology in the policy process for natural systems

Natural systems and society share a symbiotic relationship with each affecting the health and welfare of the other. More importantly, society’s impacts on natural systems can lead to negative side effects on society such as increased respiratory illness from air pollution, contaminated drinking water from industrial runoff, and increased skin cancer risk from stratospheric ozone depletion. Mitigating the risks of these side effects often requires the development and implementation of public policy. But policy makers may have a limited understanding of complex natural and societal systems and their interactions. Scientists and engineers can help policy makers by offering their knowledge of these systems as well as technological solutions to mitigate the impacts of societal behavior. However, the expertise of scientists and engineers may not be fully utilized by policy makers for many reasons including scientists and engineers inability to provide the appropriate knowledge, scientists and engineers inability to effectively communicate with policy makers, or policy makers inability to incorporate scientific and engineering knowledge into policy development. The current work develops improved understanding of the interaction of scientists, engineers, and policy makers in the policy process for natural systems. This understanding is developed by constructing, testing, and analyzing a system dynamics model of stratospheric ozone depletion.