Alder Stone Fuller
Coastal Maine, USA
Portland & Eugene OR, USA
- PhD, Evolutionary Biology & Ecology, 1990, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
- MS, Probability Theory & Mathematical Statistics, 1984, University of Memphis
- MS, Biological Systematics, 1976, University of Memphis
- BS, Invertebrate Biology , 1973, University of Memphis
- 2011 – now: Seminars, courses & consulting
in system & life sciences, geophysiology & climate change
- 2001 – 2010 : founded and taught at a small, independent school in Eugene, Oregon, focused on system sciences, geophysiology & climate change
- 1998 – 2000 : professional hiatus for travel, study
& development as an independent educator
- 1990 – 1997 : taught biology & math full-time at
Central New Mexico Community College, Albuquerque
- 1973 – 1989 : various graduate teaching & research positions in biology & mathematics during graduate studies at universities, and a part-time faculty position.
Even though I often go by my pen name – Alder Stone – my given full name is Ollar Stone Fuller III. “III” because I was named after my father and grandfather. The designation III sometimes implies aristocracy, but we were poor; I grew up in a trailer behind my father’s gasoline station in a small town near Memphis, TN. In my 50’s, after a lifetime of searching for the origins of my name, I finally learned that “Ollar” is old English for Alder. In recent years, I have taken Alder Stone as my pen & nick name. My web site name adds a 3 to represent “III”.
After completing my formal education, independent study of system sciences during the 1990’s changed my views of nature, life, science and education so profoundly that I became disinterested in teaching science and mathematics from a traditional reductionist and mechanistic perspective common in contemporary schools and colleges.
These new ideas were not only much more powerful than those I’d studied at university – including inspiring new answers to those age-old questions, “What is life?” and “How did it begin?” – but they also offered a much more effective way of articulating what I felt about nature as an outdoors person and wilderness walker. Teaching about life – and the universe within which it is embedded from a systems and Gaian perspective is more fulfilling intellectually.
Like many of the great scientists, writers and philosophers of our time – Lynn Margulis (with whom I studied and worked in August, 2010), James Lovelock, Ilya Prigogine, Fritjof Capra, William Irwin Thompson, Diane Dumanoski, and others – I came to deeply understand that the principles of systems sciences can – and must – provide a foundation for the emergence of truly ecologically sustainable cultures in the face of our formidable 21st century planetary challenges.
However, introducing new ideas into an established curriculum in an integrated way requires years of convincing curriculum committees. Yet, these new ideas are urgently needed now; there is not time to proceed through ‘normal channels’. Therefore, since 2001, I have been an independent educator offering seminars, courses and consulting not available anywhere else in the US in such an integrated way. I teach independently rather than in ‘mainstream’ educational institutions so that I can offer these ideas in creative ways in a timely fashion. Plus, by working outside of regular colleges, I can make them available to not just college students, but to all people.
From 2001 to 2010, I founded and taught at a small, independent, college-level academy in Eugene, Oregon (with some courses in Portland, Oregon) to develop and teach my current curriculum. During that time, I offered a system sciences perspective to thousands in classes, seminars, workshops and public lectures. I have experienced the joy of watching many reach what one of my advanced students calls an “ah ha!” moment, when the elegance & awe-inspiring beauty of life takes on a deep, new meaning grounded in an intuitive understanding. (Click here to read student reviews of the ideas that I teach and the teaching methods that I employ.)
In July, 2010, I migrated to Maine for a complex suite of reasons, including its geography, ecology, geology, human cultures and favorable location for coming climate changes. Although Maine will not be spared from huge climate changes, it is a good place to be relative to most of the ‘lower’ 48 United States. Further, if we understand what is coming, we can prepare for it and make the transition far more effectively.
My program can contribute to help people and communities understand coming changes and how to prepare by shock-proofing our systems to meet basic needs like water, food, shelter, energy, health care, etc. System sciences have much to offer for understanding the challenges and preparing for them. Equally importantly, they can help people build fundamentally new relationships with Earth, which is crucial to our survival.
In addition to teaching, I am writing a book about systems sciences, biological systems, geophysiology, and their relevance to the future evolution of human cultures. It is a compilation – a primer – of ideas that I use in my introductory and advanced seminars and courses.
I am also a backpacker, mountaineer, and lover of big wilderness; a student of the relationship between science, art and mythology; a photographer; a poet, electronic percussionist, and passionate dancer to electronic dance music with fast beats, often called ‘techno’.
A one-page, shortened version of this bio is available here as an Adobe pdf.