Panel discussion on Systems thought contributions to sustainability [Howard Odum, Russell Kick & Hector Sabelli, ISSS 1998 Plenary Session, July 24/98]

[Plenary session, July 24/98, 8:10 a.m.]

Howard Odum

There have various definitions of sustainability Would like to introduce the concept of maximum power in the components Consumers: Only sustainable strategy is to adapt to pulsing:

Russell Kick

Alan Sheppard died this week, look upon the view of the earth as a whole.

View as a single system go back to Lao Tsu

If we apply to Living Systems, need to look at subsystems Living Systems leads to Deep Ecology: Sustainability may be done by ... Believes that changes will result from changes in the use of resources, rather than through technology

Millennium will see the change, as the result of enlightened self interest

Hector Sabelli

Had nothing to say, but have faith in the method

Process method says ...

  1. oneness with change: action
  2. Always opposites
  3. Sustainability can't exist in equilibrium, but opposites can create something new: e.g. women and men produce children.
Need to think about serious scientific research, with humility. Taoist: no action.

Systems perspective: least action.

Panel Discussion

With symmetric view, what is the negative feedback today? Evidence on interest on earth as a system? Tragedy of the commons hasn't been discussed in this conference Air, land and sea are all commons. In past, used some regulation to control greed, and greed is still prevalent. Swanson: On transfer to the next generation, the answers are not within the heads with greying hair, but the next generation. In Vienna, observed a lady with a boy. Man offered a woman a cigarette, and the little boy said no, it's bad. Woman lit the cigarette, boy persisted in protesting. Woman put out the cigarette without smoking it. A child will lead the way ....

Scientific research into wrongness. What we're most certain about, we're most wrong about. But the only research methods are reflexive phenomenology or (?) as inward and outward. Jung. How do we then do scientific research?

Wrap-up by Howard Odum

Today, building to a pulse. To understand things, go to the next larger scale: system approach.

Wrap-up by Russell Kick

If the world is single system, and it's self-correcting, then the correction will take place with us or without us.

Wrap-up by Hector Sabelli

Clarity of mind is important.

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