One of my personal scientific heroes, Elinor Ostrom, passed away today. She was
a the pioneer in linking economic and with field observations of how people *actually* solve collective action problems.
An often explicit goal of her work has been an evolutionary theory of institutions – where the institutional rules under which people live result from a process of selection. I think this is an important process to understand as we develop theories about how modern institutions might respond to large-scale environmental degradation.
If you are so inclined, here is a very recent article of hers on The Social Evolution Forum discussing this topic.