Lessons in Leadership: Integrating Courage, Vision, and Innovation for the Future of Sustainable Fisheries
Systems Integration for Untangling Complex Human-Nature Interactions
I was trained as an ecologist, but I am not a traditional ecologist as I am particularly interested in systems integration (e.g., integrating ecology with social sciences, policy, and advanced technologies) for understanding human–nature interactions and promoting global sustainability. Traditionally, ecologists focused on “natural” systems, where no human impacts were perceived to exist. However, my personal experience and reading indicate that natural systems everywhere on Earth affect humans and are affected by human activities directly or indirectly. They motivated me to explore, open up, and lead new frontiers in tackling complexity of human–nature interactions.
I was born in a small remote village in southern China. Plants, birds, insects, and fish were my daily companions during my childhood. On the other hand, I also helped adults cut down trees, cultivate and harvest rice, raise pigs and cows, and catch fish in small rivers and ponds. In the high school far away from my village and surrounded by a gated wall, I sometimes snuck out to the surrounding areas to observe what I had not seen before, such as running trains, automobiles, and factories with smoking chimneys.