Ecological System

One of the four types of system discussed in Lean Logic (for context, see the summary table in Systems Thinking).

The ecological system occupies the space between the complex system and the modular system, and incorporates both. Here we have both strong and weak diversity, taut and slack connectedness; a panarchy of systems and subsystems (holons) known to us as forests, meadows, deserts, oceans, the ecology of lions and antelopes and, on a larger scale, Gaia herself.

Ecological systems challenge the concept of resilience because, whatever the shock, an ecology of some kind will endure—if one ecology fails, another will take its place, probably with its own different normality. Actually, that should read “almost whatever the shock . . .” because a hypershock could comprehensively destroy the life needed to qualify as an ecology. Insufficient action by our generation could start the planet on the path to that conclusion.

The complex system, the modular system and the complicated system are things that can be discussed at length, and perhaps usefully. The ecological system does not allow that in quite the same way. It is not a thing. It is everything.


Related entries:

Wheel of Life.

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David Fleming
Dr David Fleming (2 January 1940 – 29 November 2010) was a cultural historian and economist, based in London, England. He was among the first to reveal the possibility of peak oil's approach and invented the influential TEQs scheme, designed to address this and climate change. He was also a pioneer of post-growth economics, and a significant figure in the development of the UK Green Party, the Transition Towns movement and the New Economics Foundation, as well as a Chairman of the Soil Association. His wide-ranging independent analysis culminated in two critically acclaimed books, 'Lean Logic' and 'Surviving the Future', published posthumously in 2016. These in turn inspired the 2020 launches of both BAFTA-winning director Peter Armstrong's feature film about Fleming's perspective and legacy - 'The Sequel: What Will Follow Our Troubled Civilisation?' - and Sterling College's unique 'Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time' online courses. For more information on all of the above, including Lean Logic, click the little globe below!

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