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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Sustainability

Pictured sculpture by Victor Castro. Photograph by Alexander Laszlo.
"Some day, when we have harnessed the power of the sun  and the waves and gravity, we will learn how to harness the power of love. And then, for the second time, we will have discovered fire." — Teilhard de Chardin We’ve all heard of the notion of an ecological footprint—that measure of human impact on the carrying...
Photo courtesy of TheSolutionsJournal.com.
A reoccurring theme has been emerging in conversations with my friends and colleagues: our economic system. Does our current economic system work? Who does it serve? Who is it damaging? Is it sustainable? Is there a better way? Can the system be changed? I've wrestled with the underlying purpose of our financial structure for sometime. From an...
Photo courtesy of WithFriendship.org.
My home is in Reno, Nevada, and it feels like a small town. Between the Sierra Nevada and the Carson Range (the Great Basin, as it's known), is high desert with four distinct seasons and crisp and clean air almost all year. Fall's arrival has brought the first splash of autumn color to the leaves of the mountains and city. California's...
Photo courtesy of SanFranciscoSentinel.com.
What?! More breaks for Big Oil and manufacturing at the expense of our health and natural environment? I thought we were moving beyond bottom-line resolutions. What happened to systemic, holistic approaches; sustainability; and corporate social responsibility? Earlier this month, U.S. President Barack Obama withdrew an EPA air-quality standard for...
Imagine walking into work every morning wondering if it'll be your last day there. That's how thousands of Bank of America employees probably felt this morning after the company publicly announced its plans yesterday to slash 30,000 jobs over the next few years. The massive downsizing is part of a cost-cutting measure crafted by Bank of...
Photo courtesy of Reuters.
There are significant moments in our lives. Historians call them watershed moments. My watershed moment happened 10 years ago today. Tuesday, September 11, 2001, was a day of irony in New York City. It was a bright, beautiful day filled with horror and ugliness. The sights, sounds, and smells are seared into my conscious forever to be recalled. I...
Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Enterprise Services.
The reality of war has had a profound influence on my life. This influence is hard to see. In fact, it's invisible. I would have kept it hidden if I hadn't read Clay Sellers' August 26 post, "Beyond the Clouds of War: A Faint, Silver Lining." His writing inspired me to explore the complexity that a legacy of war has had on my...
Diagram courtesy of Jorge Taborga.
Our life choices and commitments feed on each other causing them to form a reinforcing loop. This type of loop is the causal relationship of two variables that affect each other in the same direction. If one grows the other does as well. The opposite is also true: the reduction in one variable causes the other to diminish. The choices we make in...
Photo courtesy of TCU Magazine.
To find inspiration and clarify my latest thinking on embracing complexity, I recently turned to popular, off-the-shelf publications and the latest business books. Not only did I not find inspiration and clarity, I experienced confusion and loss of interest from the dogma I found there.So much of what I read was filled with jargon, buzz words, and...
Photo courtesy of Freelance Switch.
This time of year, a lot of my conversations with friends, colleagues, and clients began with the question: How was your vacation? Typically, you hear a wistful recounting of highlights followed by comments about the shock of re-entry into the daily routine. It seems that memories and feelings from even the most inspiring vacations fade fast....
Photo courtesy of eHow.com.
A sustainable organization is capable of "thriving in perpetuity." Those were the words of environmental activisit Adam Werbach—words I first came across earlier this week while reading Alexander and Kathia Laszlo's post, The Practices of Systemic Sustainability. Werbach's use of the word perpetuity stuck with me these past...
Photo courtesy of Northwest Ohio Nature.
Today's buzzwords are collaboration, community engagement, and networked leadership across several industries. There's a lot of talk about adapting a systems perspective and moving away from linear approaches to change. These views and processes are all well and good. As a matter of fact, they hold the promise of a more holistic pathway...