What To Do When Your House Is On Fire

Responding appropriately to climate change First—Be Aware Of What’s Happening And Take Action Immediately From a whole-systems perspective, the key to managing complex living systems is to manage the parts in right functional relationship to each other. When this happens, the whole takes care of itself. With regard to climate, Earth is the whole and individual […]

Nature’s Wisdom

We can learn it the easy way or the hard way Ecoliteracy involves an understanding of the basic principles of ecology. Understanding is the relatively easy part. The challenging part is living accordingly. Due to the specificity and complexity of this topic, I draw heavily upon The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision by […]

Water Lily: Symbol of Constancy

Water lilies are freshwater plants in the Nymphaeaceae family. The name derives from Greek legends where “nymphs” protected springs and streams. There are about 70 different species of water lilies, divided into eight different genre commonly found in garden ponds and landscape features. The roots dig deep into the ground underwater, while the leaves or […]

The Majestic Oak: A Model of Endurance and Wisdom

This is a “Bur” oak, a massive tree that grows upward of 100 ft. tall and just as wide. Oaks can live more than 300 years. The name derives from “Burr,” the cup of the acorn which resembles the spiny bur of a chestnut. The species extends farther north than any of the other oaks. […]

V. Feedback

This is the 5th in a series of postings on whole systems thinking. A system is maintained, often within specified limits, by providing information about how well or poorly the system is performing relative to its purpose. Since systems exist for a reason, it’s important to know whether or not, how well or how poorly, […]

IV. The Weak Link

This is the 4th in a series of postings on whole systems thinking.  A system is as strong as its weakest link. The link that breaks when a chain is stressed, is the part within the whole, person within the group and nation within the global community that is—or becomes—dysfunctional under stress.  To counteract the […]

II. Autopoiesis (Self-Making)

This is the 2nd in a series of postings on whole systems thinking. In the coming weeks, after the topic is introduced, I’ll offer a contemplation that relates the information to our personal lives and higher order systems.   Living systems are cognitive systems, and living is a process of cognition. The statement is valid […]


  In the 2010 movie, “Meek’s Cutoff,” a scout, claiming to know a shortcut through part of the treacherous Oregon Trail, led a wagon train of three families across a desert. Although the film doesn’t answer the burning question “Did they find water after many days without it?” the artful and realistic depiction of their […]

Vibration And Form

  Energy is vibration. It’s largely invisible, but when energy takes a form it’s always geometrical, prescribed by the fundamental laws of physics including gravity and the three Laws of Thermodynamics: 1. Conservation of Energy: Energy cannot be created or destroyed, just changed. 2. Entropy: Matter dissipates; disintegrates. Entropy either stays the same or gets […]

Part—Whole Relationship

Do you see the jetliner? Remove any one of the pixels in the above image and there would be a hole in the whole (photograph). It wouldn’t be complete. It wouldn’t be the same photograph. Some might say it has a flaw. The universe presents itself to us as a system composed of parts-within-wholes, of […]