Student Spotlight, Alevgül H. Şorman
An alternative to sustainability indicators – Societal Metabolism: analyzing the metabolic pattern of societies
Alevgül (or Alev) started her PhD at ICTA in February 2008 with the goal of seeking a methodology that allowed the analysis of the performance of societies in terms of their material intake and the transformation and process of energy. This scientific field is commonly referred to as Social Metabolism or Societal Metabolism.
Fortunately, she came across the MuSIASEM Methodology (Multi Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism) developed by Prof. Mario Giampietro, which is a set of tools designed to carry out an integrated analysis across scales (national, regional or local scale) and dimensions (flow of material, water, waste, energy, etc.), to track changes and map characteristics of complex socioeconomic systems.
Within the scope of her PhD thesis, Alev focuses on the use of this methodology to enhance its application for natural resource management while quantitatively improving the representation of the complexity of dynamic social systems.
Areas of interest
The energy sector, the quality of energy sources and Societal Metabolism: Analyzing socio-economic systems, with a focus on the EU-15, by observing trends of energy consumption patterns and reflecting on drivers for structural change constrained by biophysical and ecological factors (such as the limited supply of fossil fuels in an era of peak oil). She analyses the evolutionary path of the metabolic patterns of countries in energetic terms.
Water Scarcity and Inter-communal Conflict from a Different Perspective: Water Metabolism Assessment in Cyprus: Alev investigates on the problem of ´water scarcity´ in Cyprus by analyzing the water metabolic patterns of both communities inhabiting the island (Greek and Turkish Cypriots). She believes such an analysis may be a medium for bridging the two separated communities. A study of the water metabolism of the island highlights the different areas of constrains, sectors in need of this scarce resource and perceptions among the communities on water related problems to eventually foster public participation procedures that foster social learning and common understanding.