Systems Thinking for Environmental Professionals - ONLINE

There is increasing awareness that conventional solutions to problem situations are not working as well as expected. Our current model of scientific inquiry is based on the belief that we will best understand how something works by breaking it into parts, giving rise to ever more specialized faculties of knowledge. However, because of its narrow focus, the application of purely specialist knowledge to single, isolated problems ignores the connectedness and complexity of how our world works, so it has not provided lasting solutions, and has caused even more problems over time. This systems thinking course introduces ways of examining a problem in the context of a larger focus that reveals connections to the situation that must be considered if the solution is to be sustainable, so that problems do not recur but stay solved. Students gain a wide-angle thinking lens that is appropriate to the complexity of the world. It teaches tools to view problem situations in any area of life in a way that allows us to transcend the limitations of expert knowledge and to see how situations evolve over time to generate unexpected consequences.

Who should take this course:

  • everyone looking to do thinks differently
  • Decision makers, planners, community leaders
  • Teachers, parents, mentors

Our systems thinking approach offers instruction in the following tools:

  • Visual mapping of our mental models of situations and problems to make them more available for critical examination.
  • Causal loop diagramming to discover the feedback structure that generates problem situations, and provides insights about solutions. 
  • A step by step framework for problem solving in complex situations. 
  • Practice with simulation models in many areas of life, which teaches how system behavior responds to changes in structure in complex situations.

Required Textbook: Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows. (2008). Chelsea Green Publishing.

Required Software: Vensim Modelling Software (Free)

Part of the Advanced Diploma in Urban Permaculture.

Find out more.

Course Dates: Systems Thinking for Environmental Professionals - ONLINE

For more information about this course please contact Professional and Continuing Studies