Donella Meadows, a professor at Dartmouth College, a long-time organic farmer, journalist, and systems analyst, was working on a book titled Thinking in. We love Donella Meadows’ take on nurturing systems. “The Dance” is a great motivator to post on the bulletin board at your think-tank, school. In her article, “Dancing with Systems,” the late and beloved Donella Meadows ( ) speaks to the mystery at the source of quest for wholeness. Self-organizing .

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People will swear that rainfall is decreasing, say, but when you look at the data, you find that what is really happening is that variability is increasing—the droughts are deeper, but the floods are greater doenlla.

A Visual Approach to Leverage Points – The Donella Meadows Project

Living successfully in a world of systems requires more of us than our ability to calculate. As with everything else about systems, most people already know about the interconnections that make moral and practical rules turn out to be the same rules. Fewer actions are taken to affirm and. Systems science portal Biography portal Environment portal United States portal.

They are a stock out of which social evolution can arise. The diagrams can be used to display “balancing” aka “negative” and “reinforcing” aka “positive” feedback loops, and the charts to explore how these might play out. Dartmouth College reduced intrinsic responsibility when it took thermostats out of individual offices and classrooms and systemx temperature-control decisions under the guidance of a central computer.

Examples of bad behaviour are held up, magnified by the media, affirmed by the culture, as typical. So much of management theory qith the West contradicts our basic belief in developing our deepest nature as human beings.


This is a syystems of philosophy and life learnings. The public discourse is full of cynicism. You can imagine why a dynamic, self-adjusting system cannot be governed by a static, unbending policy. Digg 3 Column by WP Designer.

Thinking in Systems: A Primer

It requires our full humanity—our rationality, our ability to sort out truth from falsehood, our intuition, our compassion, our vision, and our morality. Do pay attention to the triggering events, the outside influences that bring forth one kind of behavior from the system rather than another.

They just have to bring themselves to believe that which they know. From them the systems are built. Because the results sysgems counter-intuitive the feel good message meadowe a President Reagan that addresses symptoms are more easily grasped than policies that address causes of problems be it addiction to oil or differing levels of development in North America having an effect like osmosis on populations.

Donella Meadows

She also brings natural resources into social system. The problem is, how can we attract more growth to this town? Her teacher, Jay Forrester came up with this observation: Apr 10, Francis Norton wlth it it was amazing Shelves: And realize, that, especially in meadowss short term, changes for the good of the whole may sometimes seem to be counter to the interests of a part of the system. It’s not very long in total anyway!

The starting place is learning how to untangle the structure of a system – how to map stock and flow diagrams with feedback loops. You will have to penetrate their jargons, integrate what they tell you, recognize what they can honestly see through their particular lenses, and discard the distortions that come from the narrowness and incompleteness of systemz lenses.


Paradigm is the highest leverage point.

Then the book is anchored in the normative perspective of an engineer who is interested in the dynamics of depletion of natural resources. The people informed what their elected representative do, respond by voting those representative out of the office.

Reading it at times was almost like reading poetry mixed with a text book, especially danving the end. Pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable.

Donella Meadows Publications – Sustainability Leaders Network

I had big expectations and oh wow, this book is so much better than I expected in every imaginable way! The time horizon of most families still extends farther than that—through the lifetimes of children or grandchildren.

The third form consists of transformation in our perception of reality: For those who stake their identity on the role of omniscient conqueror, the uncertainty exposed by systems thinking is hard to take.

Get your model out there donellaa it can be shot at. Aid and encourage the structures that help the system run itself. It generally boosts my confidence that the authors were pretty well informed for an analysis of the whole issue of limits to growth for their day, and in fact even today.