20 September 2014

Systems Engineering: Ecology (Just the Quotes)

"The general study of the equilibria and dynamics of populations seems to have no name; but as it has probably reached its highest development in the biological study known as 'ecology,' this name may well be given to it." (Kenneth E Boulding, "A Reconstruction of Economics", 1950)

"Can any of us fix anything? No. None of us can do that. We're specialized. Each one of us has his own line, his own work. I understand my work, you understand yours. The tendency in evolution is toward greater and greater specialization. Man's society is an ecology that forces adaptation to it. Continued complexity makes it impossible for us to know anything outside our own personal field - I can't follow the work of the man sitting at the next desk over from me. Too much knowledge has piled up in each field. And there are too many fields." (Philip K. Dick, "The Variable Man", 1952)

"The thing the ecologically illiterate don't realize about an ecosystem is that it's a system. A system! A system maintains a certain fluid stability that can be destroyed by a misstep in just one niche. A system has order, a flowing from point to point. If something dams the flow, order collapses. The untrained miss the collapse until too late. That's why the highest function of ecology is the understanding of consequences." (Frank Herbert, "Dune", 1965)

"Evolution cannot be understood except in the frame of ecosystems." (Ramón Margalef, "Perspectives in Ecological Theory", 1968)

"For some years now the activity of the artist in our society has been trending more toward the function of the ecologist: one who deals with environmental relationships. Ecology is defined as the totality or pattern of relations between organisms and their environment. Thus the act of creation for the new artist is not so much the invention of new objects as the revelation of previously unrecognized relationships between existing phenomena, both physical and metaphysical. So we find that ecology is art in the most fundamental and pragmatic sense, expanding our apprehension of reality." (Gene Youngblood, "Expanded Cinema", 1970) 

"Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions that determine the distribution and abundance of organisms." (Charles J Krebs, "Ecology", 1972)

"It is the intertwined and interacting mechanisms of evolution and ecology, each of which is at the same time a product and a process, that are responsible for life as we see it, and as it has been." (James W. Valentine, "Evolutionary Paleoecology of the Marine Biosphere", 1973)

"This paper introduces a concept of organizational ecology. This refers to the organizational field created by a number of organizations, whose interrelations compose a system at the level of the field as a whole. The overall field becomes the object of inquiry, not the single organization as related to its organization-set. The emergence of organizational ecology from earlier organization theory is traced and illustrated from empirical studies. Its relevance to the task of institution-building, in a world in which the environment has become exceedingly complex and more interdependent, is argued." (Eric Trist , "A concept of organizational eecolog", Australian journal of management 2 (2), 1977)

"We argue that in order to deal with the various inertial pressures the adaptation perspective must be supplemented with a selection orientation. We consider first two broad issues that are preliminary to ecological modelling. The first concerns appropriate units of analysis. Typical analyses of the relation of organizations to environments take the point of view of a single organization facing an environment." (Michael T Hannan, "The Population Ecology of Organizations", 1977)

"The world is a complex, interconnected, finite, ecological–social–psychological–economic system. We treat it as if it were not, as if it were divisible, separable, simple, and infinite. Our persistent, intractable global problems arise directly from this mismatch." (Donella Meadows,"Whole Earth Models and Systems", 1982)

"Ultimately, uncontrolled escalation destroys a system. However, change in the direction of learning, adaptation, and evolution arises from the control of control, rather than unchecked change per se. In general, for the survival and co-evolution of any ecology of systems, feedback processes must be embodied by a recursive hierarchy of control circuits." (Bradford P Keeney, "Aesthetics of Change", 1983)

"To halt the decline of an ecosystem, it is necessary to think like an ecosystem." (Douglas P Wheeler, EPA Journal, 1990)

"Ecological Economics studies the ecology of humans and the economy of nature, the web of interconnections uniting the economic subsystem to the global ecosystem of which it is a part." (Robert Costanza, "Ecological Economics: the science and management of sustainability", 1992)

"The new paradigm may be called a holistic world view, seeing the world as an integrated whole rather than a dissociated collection of parts. It may also be called an ecological view, if the term 'ecological' is used in a much broader and deeper sense than usual. Deep ecological awareness recognizes the fundamental interdependence of all phenomena and the fact that, as individuals and societies we are all embedded in (and ultimately dependent on) the cyclical process of nature." (Fritjof Capra & Gunter A. Pauli," Steering business toward sustainability", 1995)

"Economics emphasizes competition, expansion, and domination; ecology emphasizes cooperation, conservation, and partnership. (Fritjof Capra, "The Web of Life", 1996)

"A major clash between economics and ecology derives from the fact that nature is cyclical, whereas our industrial systems are linear. Our businesses take resources, transform them into products plus waste, and sell the products to consumers, who discard more waste […]" (Fritjof Capra, "The Web of Life", 1996)

"These, then, are some of the basic principles of ecology - interdependence, recycling, partnership, flexibility, diversity, and, as a consequence of all those, sustainability... the survival of humanity will depend on our ecological literacy, on our ability to understand these principles of ecology and live accordingly."(Fritjof Capra, "The Web of Life", 1996)

"Understanding ecological interdependence means understanding relationships. It requires the shifts of perception that are characteristic of systems thinking - from the parts to the whole, from objects to relationships, from contents to patterns. [...] Nourishing the community means nourishing those relationships. (Fritjof Capra, "The Web of Life", 1996)

"Organizations need to undergo fundamental changes, both in order to adapt to the new business environment and to become ecologically sustainable." (Fritjof Capra, "The Hidden Connections", 2002)

"Limiting factors in population dynamics play the role in ecology that friction does in physics. They stop exponential growth, not unlike the way in which friction stops uniform motion. Whether or not ecology is more like physics in a viscous liquid, when the growth-rate-based traditional view is sufficient, is an open question. We argue that this limit is an oversimplification, that populations do exhibit inertial properties that are noticeable. Note that the inclusion of inertia is a generalization—it does not exclude the regular rate-based, first-order theories. They may still be widely applicable under a strong immediate density dependence, acting like friction in physics." (Lev Ginzburg & Mark Colyvan, "Ecological Orbits: How Planets Move and Populations Grow", 2004)

"It is science that brings us an understanding of the true complexity of natural systems. The insights from the science of ecology are teaching us how to work with the checks and balances of nature, and encouraging a new, rational, limited-input, environmentally sound means of vineyard management that offers a third way between the ideologically driven approach of Biodynamics and conventional chemical-based agricultural systems." (Jamie Goode," The Science of Wine: From Vine to Glass", 2005)

"An ecology provides the special formations needed by organizations. Ecologies are: loose, free, dynamic, adaptable, messy, and chaotic. Innovation does not arise through hierarchies. As a function of creativity, innovation requires trust, openness, and a spirit of experimentation - where random ideas and thoughts can collide for re-creation." (George Siemens, "Knowing Knowledge", 2006)

"Knowledge flow can be likened to a river that meanders through the ecology of an organization. In certain areas, the river pools and in other areas it ebbs. The health of the learning ecology of the organization depends on effective nurturing of flow." (George Siemens, "Knowing Knowledge", 2006)

"Nodes and connectors comprise the structure of a network. In contrast, an ecology is a living organism. It influences the formation of the network itself." (George Siemens, "Knowing Knowledge", 2006)

"When we focus on designing ecologies in which people can forage for knowledge, we are less concerned about communicating the minutiae of changing knowledge. Instead, we are creating the conduit through which knowledge will flow." (George Siemens, "Knowing Knowledge", 2006)

"Any new dominant communications medium leads to a new information ecology in society that inevitably changes the way ideas, feelings, wealth, power and influence are distributed and the way collective decisions are made." (Al Gore, "The Assault on Reason", 2007)

"In ecology, we are often interested in exploring the behavior of whole systems of species or ecosystem composed of individual components which interact through biological processes. We are interested not simply in the dynamics of each species or component in isolation, but the dynamics of each species or component in the context of all the others and how those coupled dynamics account for properties of the system as a whole, such as its persistence. This is what people seem to mean when they say that ecology is ‘holistic’, an otherwise rather vague term." (John Pastor, "Mathematical Ecology of Populations and Ecosystems", 2008)

"This new model of development would be based clearly on the goal of sustainable human well-being. It would use measures of progress that clearly acknowledge this goal. It would acknowledge the importance of ecological sustainability, social fairness, and real economic efficiency. Ecological sustainability implies recognizing that natural and social capital are not infinitely substitutable for built and human capital, and that real biophysical limits exist to the expansion of the market economy." (Robert Costanza, "Toward a New Sustainable Economy", 2008)

"Ecology is] the science of relations between organisms and their environment." (Ernst Haeckel)

More quotes on "Ecology" at the-web-of-knowledge.blogspot.com.

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