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Systemic design for sustainability

Schwaninger, Markus
Sustainability science 2018 v.13 no.5 pp. 1225-1234
ecological balance, humans, models, sustainability science and engineering, sustainable development, systems engineering, viability
How can we restore the ecological balance of our planet? The present article is aimed at contributing a structural framework for such a restoration. In the quest for ecological recovery, cybernetic–systemic approaches are in demand. They specialize in coping with complexity and offer new, transdisciplinary and non-reductionist ways of system design for renewing sustainability. This contribution uses a proven model from organizational cybernetics—the viable system model—as a frame for sustainable development. The model specifies how the viability of any human or social system can be achieved by means of clearly defined organizational structures. In accord with the logic of recursive organization inherent in the model, a proposal for a structural design aimed at enabling ecological recovery is formulated. That design includes all organizational levels of recursion, from individual to world. The implications of such a novel approach are far-reaching, and the impact powerful.