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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Sustainability

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...
Photo courtesy of Organic on the Green.
Systemic sustainability is a process of development—individual, organizational, or societal—involving an adaptive strategy of emergence that ensures the evolutionary maintenance of an increasingly robust and supportive environment. Systemic sustainability goes beyond the triple bottom line and embraces “the possibility that human...
Photo courtesy of PhotosFan.com.
I was moved by Aimee’s post on Friday and wanted to continue the thread of her story. It is a simple story of life and death intertwined; of the preciousness of our lives during our brief journeys on this beautiful planet. Over the weekend I was talking with two friends, Marcelino and his wife Paula, under our pergola in the backyard. The...
Photo of Mari courtesy of the Grace, Joy, and Healing blog.
While perusing my Facebook page this afternoon, I learned that the friend of a friend—a woman named Maria—was recently hospitalized in her battle against an inoperable brain tumor. Maria's name sounded familiar so I looked her up. I know her, I thought. But I don't know her. At least not formally. I remembered her as Mari...
Photo courtesy of Chairs Under Trees.
I have noticed an increasing tension residing in sustainability conversations as to whether the primary focus of attention should be on local or global development, community or organization change. Rather than engaging in this either/or thinking, I believe it is critical to recognize that we have to work on multiple levels in multiple places. We...
Photo courtesy of Cawi2001
Are you old enough to remember when “the Internet” was just getting big?  Do you remember what people thought it was going to be? It was going to revolutionize democracy and do away with racism (because we’re all one color behind the screen);  it was going to level the playing field between rich and poor because we...
Leading thinkers in sustainability have known for some time now that a sustainable society can’t be based on continuous consumption.  The question was always:  how do we get there? A recent column in the New York Times suggests that it’s happening on its own, without any help from us. In “We’re Spent,”...