Systems Practice: How to Act in a Climate Change World

Systems Practice: How to Act in a Climate Change World

by Ray Ison


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It is now accepted that humans are changing the climate of the Earth and this is the most compelling amongst a long litany of reasons as to why, collectively, we have to change our ways of thinking and acting. Most people now recognise that we have to be capable of adapting quickly as new and uncertain circumstances emerge: this capability will need to exist at personal, group, community, regional, national and international levels, all at the same time.

Systems Practice is structured into four parts. Part I introduces the societal need to move towards a more systemic and adaptive governance against the backdrop of human-induced climate change. Part II unpacks what is involved in systems practice by means of a juggler metaphor; examining situations where systems thinking offers useful understanding and opportunities for change. Part III identifies the main factors that constrain the uptake of systems practice and makes the case for innovation in practice by means of systemic inquiry, systemic action research and systemic intervention. The book concludes with Part IV, which critically examines how systems practice is, or might be, utilised at different levels from the personal to the societal.

The development of our capabilities to think and act systemically is an urgent priority and Systems Practice aims to show how to do systems thinking and translate that thinking into praxis (theory informed practical action) which will be welcomed by those managing in situations of complexity and uncertainty across all domains of professional and personal concern.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781849961240
Publisher: Springer London
Publication date: 06/08/2010
Edition description: 2010
Pages: 340
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Professor Ray Ison has been Professor of Systems at The Open University since 1994. He has an established international reputation and is an experienced researcher, teacher, author and consultant. His research specialisms include: development and evaluation of systemic, participatory and process-based environmental decision making in natural resource management; organizational change and sustainable use of water. He has much experience of designing and developing learner centered, experiential and open learning systems and models. Prior to joining The Open University he worked in Australia at the Universities of Sydney and Western Sydney (Hawkesbury).

Professor Ray Ison is regular keynote speaker at national and international conferences and is frequently invited to run workshops. As well as publishing numerous journal papers, he has co-authored and co-edited four books: Cow up a Tree. Knowledge and Learning for Change in Agriculture: Case studies from industrial countries; Agricultural Extension and Rural Development: Breaking out of traditions; A Guide to Better Pastures in Temperate Climates; Agronomy of Grassland Systems.

Table of Contents

Part I Thinking and Acting Differently.- 1. Introduction and Rationale.- Part II Systems Practice as Juggling.- 2. Introducing Systems Practice.- 3. Making Choices About Situations and Systems.- 4. The Juggler – A Way to Understand Systems Practice.- 5. Juggling the B-ball – Being a Systems Practitioner.- 6. Juggling the E-ball – Engaging with Situations.- 7. Juggling the C-ball – Contextualizing Systems Approaches.- 8. Juggling the M-ball – Managing Overall Performance in a Situation.- Part III Systemic Practices.- 9. Four Settings that Constrain Systems Practice.- 10. Systemic Inquiry.- 11. Systemic Action Research.- 12. Systemic Intervention.- Part IV Valuing Systems Practice in a Climate-change World.- 13. Valuing Systems Practice.- Index

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