Anticipation-induced social tipping: can the environment be stabilised by social dynamics?
FutureLab on Game Theory and Networks of Interacting Agents, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Member of the Leibniz Association, PO Box 60 12 03, 14412, Potsdam, Germany
2 Institute for Theoretical Physics, Technische Universität Berlin, Hardenbergstraße 36, 10623, Berlin, Germany
3 Department of Neurology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, 10117, Berlin, Germany
4 Department of Complexity Science, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Member of the Leibniz Association, PO Box 60 12 03, 14412, Potsdam, Germany
5 Centre for Analysis of Complex Systems, Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Moscow, Russia
Accepted: 18 March 2021
Published online: 26 April 2021
In the past decades, human activities caused global Earth system changes, e.g., climate change or biodiversity loss. Simultaneously, these associated impacts have increased environmental awareness within societies across the globe, thereby leading to dynamical feedbacks between the social and natural Earth system. Contemporary modelling attempts of Earth system dynamics rarely incorporate such co-evolutions and interactions are mostly studied unidirectionally through direct or remembered past impacts. Acknowledging that societies have the additional capability for foresight, this work proposes a conceptual feedback model of socio-ecological co-evolution with the specific construct of anticipation acting as a mediator between the social and natural system. Our model reproduces results from previous sociological threshold models with bistability if one assumes a static environment. Once the environment changes in response to societal behaviour, the system instead converges towards a globally stable, but not necessarily desired, attractor. Ultimately, we show that anticipation of future ecological states then leads to metastability of the system where desired states can persist for a long time. We thereby demonstrate that foresight and anticipation form an important mechanism which, once its time horizon becomes large enough, fosters social tipping towards behaviour that can stabilise the environment and prevents potential socio-ecological collapse.
© The Author(s) 2021
Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.