Our World has many urgent problems that may not be able to be addressed by the current reasoning constructs and systems of our current societies. The mental models we are all walking around with every day are like memberships in levels of organizing, clubs of thinking and reasoning in society that we continue to justify is the state of the art in progress and civilization. But is it really?

Millions of citizens know the ozone layer and global warming is an urgent crisis, so do governments. This winter millions of salmon in western Canada have fallen off the food chain, millions of eastern salmon have frozen in the Atlantic in ocean ice storms, an unheard of statistic in our modern time. And yet the hottest selling transportation is SUV's, that have low emission standards and use a lot more gas. It is like we are beginning to fall into an invisible funnel of problems that is effecting the very survival and future of humanity. But we continue along in the same constructs and systems and thinking. We have to ask ourselves what is the game we are playing and can we create a new game to move out of the funnel of problems we are slipping into. Well basically the game we have been playing is a system.

A competitive free mostly unregulated market based economic socially engineered system that is based on economic winning without looking at the effects of human created processes and their effects on the life systems that sustain all of humanity and their effects on the social and moral fabric of a balanced society.

Many of these global problems are approaching a crisis level in the proportion to the current models and support systems that the political nation state economic systems and Non Governmental Organizations have to offer in handling them. Let's face it. We all know gargantuan problems are threatening survival itself. With problems like staggering disparity and rapid warming of the globe, infectious disease, loss of top soil, population, global economic disparity etc. The word complexity needs highlighting. Where these intricately tangled global problems are heading is entirely beyond our ability to predict or control. Each is an immensely complex global system with a life of its own.
As a global civilization we are in a watershed moment worldwide in addressing global governance issues and problems. An old top down rigid civilization is reluctantly holding onto old outdated patterns and systems. From a systems standpoint the old systems are based on a command and control model of civilization that has taken us very rapidly to the current state of global development. There is a systems principle that says a system must be as diverse as its environment in order to remain viable. This is a fundamental question to the current systems of our time.

Many experts are now seeing that new self organizing systems must be formed and are indeed beginning to be formed to address the urgent problems of our time.

A system is a group of interacting, interrelated, and interdependent elements forming a complex whole. Systems Thinking and General Systems Theory is a body of theory and method that has been developing for years to enable leaders, groups, managers and organizations to better understand complex, nonlinear or 'non-straight-line or top-down' social, organizational, political, economic and environmental systems. Systems Thinking, and the related disciplines of mental models, shared vision, and team learning…are concerned with a shift of Mind from seeing 'Parts' to seeing
' Wholes' and whole systems as methods of organizing and reframing. Systems thinking sees the interrelationships and interconnections and observes how systems behave over time and what happens to systems when new elements are introduced to the system. Systems thinking sees the way the pieces of a system are connected (i.e. its structure) which determines the outcomes it can generate. In systems theory changing one part of a system may affect the behavior of other parts -- and the overall system -- in complicated ways over time. These issues need to be understood because we are all dependent on systems of life, systems of civilization and systems of thinking. Human systems are the reflection of our mental models and vice versa that are the systems we live within.

Initially utilized by technical model builders, more recently 'Systems Thinking' has been used as a basis for tools and processes aimed at accelerating 'Learning Organizations' and is now being used to look at models of accelerating Learning Societies, restructuring environmental sustainability, assisting social and global problems by forming new connected models and resources. It is becoming very clear that new organizational self organizing systems that move beyond the command and control top down model are urgently needed to address global problems. The very complexity of global problems demands new learning systems that have the resources and support systems to help facilitate solutions to urgent global problems. It appears the systems thinking approach is a wonderful living model that can begin to facilitate. 'Webs of Governance' in global problems that could make a difference in our complex world.

It is our view that the 'Natural Systems Thinking Process' and methodologies are urgently needed in our world and that every leader in economic, political and business needs coursework in Systems Thinking, General Systems Theory and Natural Systems Thinking and the Systems Thinking Organizational Development Processes . If this can occur we can begin to develop the global reasoning and new models of support systems to address the urgent problems of our time by influencing and redesigning organizational, social, political and economic systems to be more in
line with Natural Systems Processes.

Biomimicry and Bioregionalism are active wonderful living examples of Systems thinking theory in action.

Systems Thinking Research:

Biomimicry by Janine Benyus

Biomimicry: Innovations Inspired by Nature by Janine Benyus, William Morrow, New York,NY 1997 Website: http://www.biomimicry.org

Organisms exquisitely adapted to their homes and to other organisms while humans are not. Nature has already solved the problems that we are trying to solve (struggle for food, water, space and shelter in a finite habitat). Biomimicry occurs where ecology meets agriculture, medicine, materials science, energy, computing and commerce.

Natures Operating System Principles:

- Nature runs on sunlight.
- Nature uses only the energy it needs.
- Nature fits form to function.
- Nature recycles everything.
- Nature rewards cooperation.
- Nature banks on diversity.
- Nature demands local expertise.
- Nature curbs excesses from within.
- Nature taps the power of limits.

What do We Do?

1. Change of heart needed, humbling us to be attentive to nature's lessons .
2. Must stop consuming nature's capital. Organisms in a Mature Ecosystem

1. Use Waste as a Resource.
2. Diversify and Cooperate to Fully Use the Local Habitat
3. Gather and Use Energy Efficiently.
4. Optimize Rather Than Maximize.
5. Use Materials Sparingly.
6. Don't Foul Their Nests.
7. Don't Draw Down Resources.
8. Remain in Balance with the Biosphere.
9. Run on Information.
10.Shop locally.


A Bioregion is an area that shares similar topography, plant and animal life, and human culture. Bioregionalism is an aim to be present in the bioregion community. To find a balance between the resident community's needs for livelihoods and the potential for natural resources in their own bioregions, as defined by ecological, economic, and social criteria. The Bioregionalism movement is another living example of systems thinking in action.

Some links on Systems Thinking include:

It appears a Systems Thinking and a systems modeling approach to Global Problems is
something that could be discussed here.
If you would like to post your comments on
Systems Thinking and Global Problems...click here.

Old Top Down
Organizational Models

(Photo courtesy New Society Press)

New Systems Theory
Self Organizing, Whole Systems,
Web of Life or Web of Governance Models to address urgent Global Problems

"If you want a large number of people to work together in a coordinated way, they must share an image of the system of which they are a part." In this case, the "system" is the entirety of the Earth's ecological structure, with all its attendant natural processes ­ and the goal is todevelop a society in which natural resources are not consumed faster than they can be replaced.

Four Conditions for a Sustainable Society:
1.Substances from the Earth's crust must not systematically increase in the biosphere.
2.Substances produced by society must not systematically increase in the biosphere.
3.Nature's functions and diversity must not be systematically impoverished by physical displacement, over-harvesting, or other forms of ecosystem manipulation.
4.Resources must be used fairly and efficiently in order to meet basic human needs globally.

The challenge is helping people work together to realign ourselves with the natural cycles thatwe used to respect as a species. Robčrt believes that systems thinking, shared mental models anda planning technique called "back-casting" are all tools to help bring about this societaltransformation.The systems conditions together with back-casting are powerful strategic tools for helping companies and organizations shift to becoming restorative.

The Natural Step, Karl-Henrik RobčrtThe Natural Step Story: Seeding a Quiet Revolution by Karl-Henrik Robčrt, New SocietyPublishers, Canada 2002.The Natural Step: A Framework for Achieving Sustainability in Our Organizations by Karl-Henrik Robčrt. Pegasus Communications,. Cambrige, MA, 1997.

The Future--Has never Existed but is all we have left.
Source: Edward Cornish, Futurist, Jul-Aug 2001