I thought this book was a wonderful introduction to systems thinking. Also, this book is not a difficult read. Terms are explained, and plenty of exam...moreI thought this book was a wonderful introduction to systems thinking. Also, this book is not a difficult read. Terms are explained, and plenty of examples are given. So, even if you do not understand everything that follows, you CAN learn from this book.
Resilience thinking is characterized by a few key terms: diversity, thresholds, adaptive cycles, ecological variability, and modularity.
"Resilient social-ecological systems have the capacity to change as the world changes while still maintaining their functionality." (p. 12)
Resilience thinking remembers that we are of nature, and are not separate or outside of the system. Biodiversity, redundancy, ecological variability, and modularity of a natural system enhances the overall resilience of the system - it is less likely to fail when met with a disturbance.
What does this all mean? An oversimplified example: a fast moving waterway is able to push toxins, nitrogen, and phosphorus downstream from agricultural run-off. The waterway is the system in this case, and it is affected by the farmer (who is also part of the system). If the waterway is dammed for irrigation purposes, the resilience of the waterway is limited and eutrophication (phosphorous build-up leading to algae growth leading to less oxygen leading to less fish leading to less food for birds and other animals) can occur. It has crossed a "threshold" into a less desirable state when a new equilibrium is reached. The book goes on to describe "basins of attraction" and the equilibrium of a new "regime".
(It is easier for a system to cross a threshold into an undesirable state of being when diversity is decreased and ecological variability is limited.)
BUT THERE IS SO MUCH MORE.
I would recommend this book to 1.) anyone looking to keep the world we inhabit livable for future generations; 2.) anyone looking to live in balance with the natural world we are a part of; and 3.) anyone going into the sciences or land management.(less)
I found this book fascinating. I've read a few layman books on neuroscience and scoured articles and journals online regarding the topic (in the searc...moreI found this book fascinating. I've read a few layman books on neuroscience and scoured articles and journals online regarding the topic (in the search of understanding why I tick the way I do). So much of what I have read focused primarily on the brain's anatomy, its functions, and certain effects on behavior, especially in regards to the endocrine system and neurotransmitters. Here, there is a chapter explaining two of the three branches of the autonomic nervous system: the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is active when the body and mind are at rest, or simply relaxed. When we are alarmed, anxious, excited, scared, or nervous, the sympathetic nervous system lights up. The book goes on to show how these systems, in interactions with other parts of the brain, such as the anterior cingulate cortex, can affect feelings, thoughts, and behavior.
This book teaches the hows of the brain and body so we may understand why certain practices, such as meditation and other branches of the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path, can lead to a sense of peace and contentment. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in brain science, Buddhism, or is just looking for a little peace of mind.(less)
The histories of co-evolution between certain plants and humans were fascinating. Domestication is arguably a street that lies both ways. Though I agr...moreThe histories of co-evolution between certain plants and humans were fascinating. Domestication is arguably a street that lies both ways. Though I agree with Pollan's sentiments regarding cannabis criminalization and the prevalence of GMOs in the US food system, I had thought the book would be less opinionated and more about plants. I would still recommend it to other readers. The history lessons are well worth it!(less)