As we moved towards the end of the second decade of the C21st it is clear we are in the era of the Anthropocene –even if geologists are still undecided when – or even if – there is such a thing. Irrespective of the geologists we are certainly in a different era from even 50 years ago, and this necessitates a different way of thinking and viewing our environments, from the wild to the urban…
My OED defines nature as the “physical power causing the phenomena of the material world, these phenomena as a whole”; and also as a “thing’s essential qualities”. So this blog is about how we go about understanding the essential qualities of the material world. This might seem like a pretty arcane subject for a series of blogs about “thinking systems” but, as it turns out, the question goes to the heart of our relationship with the natural world. If we are getting it wrong, this has fundamental consequences. Of course, I am going to argue that in some important respects we are getting it wrong!
Infrastructure is so ubiquitous and reliable that most people do not realize that it is even there. But when we do get a failure in one of our infrastructure systems, well then we really do notice. Think about the last time there was a power cut, or you were caught in a traffic jam – or worse, you could not access social media. It is amazing how upset most people get when they don’t have access to the services that our infrastructure usually provides – even for a short time.