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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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VIII. Earth Earns: An Open Participatory Earthropocene to Ecosmocene CoCreativity

5. A Viable Gaia: Planetary Patriots and Matriots in an Earthropocene Era

Moobela, Cletus. From Worst Slum to Best Example of Regeneration: Complexity in the Regeneration of Hulme, Manchester. Emergence: Complexity and Organization. 7/1, 2005. Google the author to access this summary of his doctoral thesis online. The paper begins by a contrast of the old mechanistic model and a new holistic vision of nature, seen as a grand revolution from material machine to dynamic organism. By these lights, urban areas can be rightly appreciated as complex adaptive systems poised between order and chaos. But effective facilitation and change need be situated within and respectful of the prior realities of a specific neighborhood.

Nadeau, Robert. The Environmental Endgame. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2006. An English professor at George Mason University and co-author with Menas Kafatos of works that expand scientific frontiers here tackles a rethinking of global economics and ecologies. Noting how Thomas Berry has called for a ‘New Story’ of a life-friendly cosmos to supplant the reigning but terminal mechanist model, Nadeau surveys the animate fluxes of self-organizing, non-equilibrium systems to show how they reveal a more viable, sustainable abide. With the human presence distinguished by complex language abilities, which now confer God-like powers over the biosphere, it is our responsibility to conceive an Environmental Ethic and Ethos appropriate to the task.

Nelson, David, et al. Clinical Ecology: Transforming 21st Century Medicine with Planetary Health in Mind. Challenges. 10/1, 2019. inVIVO Planetary Health, amd Worldwide Universities Network advocates DN, Susan Prescott, Alan Logan, (search names) and Jeffery Bland continue to flesh out vital ways to imagine and define a sense of a whole world anatomy, physiology and well being. The paper is part of The Emerging Concept of Planetary Health: Connecting People, Place, Purpose and Planet collection which now sports some 22 entries such as Planetary Health Ethics.

Four decades ago, several health movements were sprouting in isolation. In 1980, the environmental group Friends of the Earth defined health as a state of complete physical, mental, social and ecological well-being and not merely the absence of disease. At the same time, a few doctors were voicing the concept of “clinical ecology” which sees illness as a response to total lived experience and surrounding “exposures.” In 1977, the Nobel physician-scientist Jonas Salk stated that “we are entering into a new Epoch in which holistic medicine will be the dominant model”. But it is only recently that these views movements has merged into a unified interdisciplinary discourse. The interconnected challenges of our time — an epidemic of non-communicable diseases, socioeconomic inequalities, biodiversity losses, climate change, unnatural environments - demands that all of medicine be viewed from an ecological perspective. Aided by advances in ‘omics’ technology, it is clear that each person maintains complex, biologically-relevant microbial ecosystems, and those ecosystems are, in turn, a product of lived experiences within larger social, political, and economic ecosystems. (Abstract edits)

Nelson, Julie. Economics for Humans. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006. How considerate just when the mechanistic, neoclassical, profit and loss, economy is in free fall, for the Tufts University scholar to have provided a palliative alternative. For our societal, local and global, abide ought to be based on and guided by “body and soul” so as to foster a production attuned to their nurturance, quite an organic model, rather than a vested, crashing money machine.

Nguyen, Thank, et al. Spatial Patterns of Urbanising Landscapes in the North Indian Punjab Show Features Predicted by Fractal Theory.. Nature Scientific Reports. 12/1819, 2022. We cite this paper by Kassel University, Germany researchers as a good example of how awareness of independent natural topologies can provide a phenomenal basis for more viable small to larger neighborhoods. Again, a beneficial synthesis between a common mathematic code-script and its actual manifestation is achieved, going forward.

Properly understanding and governing human settlements is a major challenge for social stability. While rural areas emerge in agricultural landscapes, cities evolve in economic locations. Purposeful planning aligned with collective, self-organized behaviors can then serve the development of regional patterns. Since self-organizing systems often produce fractal patterns, this study combines land use science, city ranking, and urban frameworks to analyze the Indian Punjab environs. When compared to a Sierpinski model, most habitations met the fractal geometry rules. An avail of such geometric self-similarities in regional policies can foster sustainable harmonies with Earth systems. (Abstract excerpt)

Nikolic, Igor. IE = Industrial Evolution? Journal of Industrial Ecology. 19/2, 2015. For this issue on Advances in Complex Adaptive Systems, the Delft University of Technology management professor has been a pioneer advocate for such an expansive, natural basis to better inform and guide social policies. This essay proposes an evolutionary context in the form of a Universal Darwinism (UD), which takes on the form of an interactive algorithm, per the first quote. We also add a summary from the author’s TU Delft web page.

UD states that the process of evolution, regardless of the medium, is an informational refinement algorithm. It states that necessary (but not sufficient) conditions are the existence of an interactor that is coupled to an informational replicator, which exist in some environment and follow three simple mechanisms: variation, selection, and replication. Whenever we have information being processed in a medium, following the above rules, we will get creation of dissipative structures and complexity. (1)

The UD perspective cannot, and should not, replace the established perspective on sociotechnical systems, but rather enrich it by painting a wider backdrop of evolutionary forces and fitness landscapes. It would allow us to better recognize individuals, organizations, and systems behavior through an even deeper analogy with the biological systems that we have evolved from. (3)

Agent Based Modeling of Complex Adaptive Systems: Our human society consists of many intertwined Large Scale Socio-Technical Systems (LSSTS), such as infrastructures, industrial networks, the financial systems etc. Environmental pressures created by these systems on Earth’s carrying capacity are leading to exhaustion of natural resources, loss of habitats and biodiversity, and are causing a resource and climate crisis. To avoid this sustainability crisis, we urgently need to transform our production and consumption patterns. LSSTS and the ecosystems that they are embedded in are known to be Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS). According to John Holland CAS are "...a dynamic network of many agents (which may represent cells, species, individuals, firms, nations) acting in parallel, constantly acting and reacting to what the other agents are doing. The overall behavior of the system is the result of a huge number of decisions made every moment" by many individual agents.” (Nikolic’s TU Delft website)

Norberg, Jon and Graeme Cumming, eds. Complexity Theory for a Sustainable Future. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. A Stockholm University systems ecologist and University of Cape Town conservation biologist, inspired by the nonlinear thinking of C. S. Holling and Simon Levin, edit a collection that attempts to reevaluate ecosystem maintenance in terms of its intrinsic complex adaptive system attributes. By avail of this perspective, especial notice can be made of natural resilience, diversity, nested networks, information processes, structural modularity, and so on. As a result, insights may be further gained into a human social mindfulness of our environmental milieu. All this is fine, but the necessary step to connect and root such ubiquitous properties as a manifestation of an appropriately conducive genesis universe, to even ask the question, is not yet imagined.

Nordhaus, W. and E. Kikkelenberg, eds. Nature’s Numbers. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999. To properly include the biospheric context, it is imperative to expand accounting beyond the Gross National Product to include environmental effects, resource depletion, pollution levels, and so on.

Norton, Bryan. Sustainability: A Philosophy of Adaptive Ecosystem Management. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. The Georgia Institute of Technology environmental philosopher writes a large, careful work on achieving an informed, agreed, non-invasive governance and facilitation of healthy human-earth viabilities. Much said about values – ethical, community, future generations – but the discussions proceed without guidance from an encompassing natural creation.

Orr, David. The Nature of Design. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. A professor of Environmental Design at Oberlin College offers insights into a more humane, ecologically sane world aligned with a self-sustaining natural wisdom and how this approach can influence architecture and education. Orr often writes for the journal Conservation Biology.

Oxford, Rebecca and Jing Lin, eds. Transformative Eco-Education for Human and Planetary Survival. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, 2011. University of Alabama and University of Maryland educators gather a copious, richly expansive array of wisdom and practice in this edited volume. Six main sections are: I. Natural Disasters and Emergencies and Sustainability Education; II. Practical, Classroom-Based, Curriculum Approaches; III. Integrating Sustainability into College Teaching and Teacher Education; IV. Creative Programs and Sustainability Education in Higher Education and Community; V. Indigenous Perspectives on Eco-Education; and VI. Toward a Spiritual, Healing, and Interconnected Future.

To give an idea of its unique local, global, feminine, indigenous empathy, here are papers from Part V. (S)he Who Will Transform the Universe: Ecological Lessons in Community Education from the Indigenous Americas, Elizabeth Sumida Huaman; Caring for Ourselves, Others, and the Environment: Applying an Indigenous Paradigm in Early Childhood Education in Aotearoa, New Zealand, by Jenny Ritchie; Critical Neurophilosophy, Indigenous Wisdom and the CAT-FAWN Connection, by Four Arrows; and Indigenous Knowledge, Environment, and Education in Africa, Simon Thuranira Taaliu.

Transformative eco-education is environmental education that is literally needed to transform and save our planet, especially during the global ecological crises of our present century. Such education demands inner transformation of many deeply rooted ideas, such as the following: the Earth exists merely to provide for human comfort; the extinction or reduction of other species does not matter; we are free to consume or destroy natural resources at will but are safe from destruction ourselves; and the Earth will continue to sustain us, even if we do not sustain the Earth. (Publisher)

The chapters in this book provide key principles, of which the following are just a few. First, educators can and should prepare students for natural disasters. Second, stories, case studies, the arts, and hands-on environmental experience, all enriched by reflection and discussion, can offer profound learning about ecology. Third, education at all levels can benefit from a true ecological emphasis. Fourth, teachers must receive preparation in how to employ transformative eco-education. Fifth, Indigenous wisdom can offer important, holistic, spiritual paths to understanding and caring for nature, and other spiritual traditions also provide valid ways of comprehending humans as part of the universal web of existence. Sixth, transformative eco-education can be an antidote to not only to environmental breakdown, but also to materialistic overconsumption and moral confusion. Seventh, we can only heal the Earth by also healing ourselves. (Publisher)

Pimentel, David, et al, eds. Ecological Integrity. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2000. An emphatic report of the Integrity Project, whose members include senior ecologists and philosophers such as William Rees and Laura Westra, on the critical state of Earth’s environment due an unmitigated human impact. They conclude that only a fundamental change in our individual and national patterns of destructive behavior will suffice.

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