The Systems View of Life – Day One

by Mark Lovett on June 21, 2012

The world faces greater challenges today than at anytime in its history.  Continued increase in global population, and a corresponding increase in the use of fossil fuels and consumption of material goods have pushed our planet to a breaking point and are now eroding our quality of life.  After day #1 of The Systems View of Life, held at the David Brower Center in Berkeley and featuring presentations by Fritjof Capra and Richard Heinberg, I wondered if civilization was in the process of unraveling, as the image below illustrates.

Fritjof Capra - The Potential Unraveling of Civilization

While many aspects of civilization’s current dilemma were discussed by this duo of renowned thought leaders, a profound understanding that “unlimited growth on a finite planet is unsustainable” took center stage, and this fact was echoed in the quote below.

“The perpetual growth myth is enthusiastically embraced by politicians and economists as an excuse to avoid tough decisions facing humanity. This myth promotes the impossible idea that indiscriminate economic growth is the cure for all the world’s problems, while it is actually (as currently practised) the disease that is at the root cause of our unsustainable global practises.” -
From a report that was presented at the Rio+20 Earth Summit 2012, from 18 winners of the Blue Planet Prize.

What is the source of this misguided view of life?  According to Fritjof Capra, the problem lies in using GDP (Gross Domestic Product) as the main measure of growth.  What we should focus on is Qualitative Growth as opposed to Quantitative Growth.

“The growth that matters, is growth that enhances life.” – Fritjof Capra

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