Planetary Stewardship

For us to survive the planet must thrive To sustain is to maintain. With regard to ecosystems, sustainability isn’t enough. While protecting and invigorating certain ecosystems may be all that can be done to preserve what would otherwise be lost, the word “sustainability” allows us to continue to see the world as composed of “resources” […]

Eco-Consciousness

Perceptions that make a planetary house a home This begins an 11-part appreciation of Earth as a living system. The word “ecology,” comes from the Greek oikos “household.” Ecology then is the study of the “Earth Household.” In The System’s View of Life: A Unifying Vision, Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luise define an eco-system […]

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 […]

Autumn Leaves

They don’t fall of their own accord, they’re evicted Function Leaves serve as solar collectors for a tree, gathering carbon dioxide and water from the atmosphere to create energy—sugar—through photosynthesis. In the process, they release oxygen into the air.  For a tree to stand tall and survive the ravages of wind, rain, snow and ice […]

The Aspen: A Model Of Interconnectedness

When I began using a camera creatively, I approached trees and forests mainly as objects to facilitate the development of my aesthetic eye. Recently, Peter Wohllenben’s book The Hidden Life Of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate expanded my appreciation by describing their acute sensory and communication processes. After reading that book I discovered […]

XX. Symmetry

According to Nobel laureate Phil Anderson, “It is only slightly overstating the case to say that physics is the study of symmetry.” The word “symmetry” comes from the Greek, synnetria, meaning “Agreement in dimensions, due proportion, arrangement.” I’ve chosen this theme for contemplation because, somewhere along the line, having gotten into the habit of noticing […]

Everyday Beauty

    When I hear “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” I take it to mean that some people find beauty where others do not. An artist friend who designs and sells jewelry once remarked that he made it a practice to experience beauty every day. I thought that was wonderful. But between […]

Nature’s Design Principles

Over time, a species of tree that evolved into the maple did so in part because it succeeded in finding a way to disburse numerous seeds over a greater distance. As kids we called them “pinwheels” or “helicopter seeds.” Hedging no bets in the area of reproduction, between 12,000 and 90,000 of these seeds can […]

IX. Order (Whole Systems Context)

This is the 9th in a series of postings on whole systems thinking. In nature and in the world of man-made objects, geometric order evidences the interrelatedness of all things. Using the above image as a model, humanity may be said to consist of a single string within the spacetime continuum. Rather than forming a […]

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, […]