Systems Changes 2019/05/24 at CANSEE

This presentation was the first of two at 12th biennial CANSEE conference (Canadian Society for Ecological Economics), held on the CIGI Campus at Waterloo, Ontario.

The abstract, as submitted, was:

List of leading participants:  David Ing, David Hawk as facilitators, members of Systems Thinking Ontario, plus contributions by other CANSEE attendees

Expected outcome:  Attendees are welcomed engage in a dialogue building on two position papers.  A digital audio recording of group discussions will subsequently digested in a blog post.

Workshop description: 

This dialogue-oriented workshop will be framed by two short position papers (< 30 minutes each) towards energizing a discussion on the prospects for systems thinking and ecological economics.

(1) Systems Changes research program

Shifting the emphasis from stable states to a fluid world, what patterns describe shifts due to (i) human will, and (ii) nature?  The Systems Changes program aims to extend research from the 1970s (e.g. West Churchman systems approach; Horst Rittel wicked problems; Christopher Alexander pattern language; Eric Trist and Cal Pava action learning) with 21st century advances (e.g. holons and hierarchy theory; resilience science; ecological anthropology; open sourcing).  

(2) Environmental Deterioration: What have we learned about systems change(s) over the past 50 years?

Since the 1960s, nations have enacted regulations towards environment issues, sustainability of resources and stewardship of the environment:  USA EPA (1969); Canadian EPA (1988/1999); EU Treaty of Maastricht (1993).  Yet in 2009, the Stockholm Resilience Centre declared that human activity has exceeded two thresholds of nine planetary boundaries.  Is it too late for the human race to act, or even to try?  The 1979 Ph.D. dissertation on "Regulation of Environmental Deterioration" from the University of Pennsylvania will be considered retrospectively.

(3) Dialectic:  Group Discussion

In an open group discussion, in what ways might a shift from "systems thinking" towards "systems changes" make a difference (or not)?

The map was projected on the large screen:

These drawings were created using, with source files cached on a folder on Google Drive.