We are undergoing a new paradigm shift in the 21st century – we should consider it time to pledge a Declaration of Interdependence. Shifting from the Newtonian paradigm of “mechanistic thinking” which views humans and the environment as separate parts that function in isolated, machine-like ways, we are beginning to see things from a new perspective, one that is interrelated and connected. Instead of learning about the world through reductive processes, we’ve realized that certain crucial details are left out when disregarding pluralistic views of systems and holistic thinking. Rather than reduce learning about our world through dissection, subtraction, and isolation, what happens when we add everything up?
We turn to a new approach to problem solving via “systems thinking,” which considers the relationships of many and how they effect a complete entity, or larger system. In other words, all self-regulating entities contain systems nesting in systems. This realization is becoming increasingly more evident through globalization, modern technology, and growing mobility enabling us to transcend national and cultural boundaries. We are capable of viewing our world from a complex range of perspectives, as close as the subatomic level to as far as 13.8 billion years into our visible Universe. We can detect these interconnected systems from the computer in our pocket to the drought in our yard.
There is an invisible, geometric lace that drapes over our planet which links organisms, social systems, and ecosystems together. Each thread serves as a bridge to move resources and information enabling survival and sustainability of all parts of the whole. By recognizing patterns that occur across interdisciplinary systems, we can predict and preserve the outcome of imbalanced or disrupted systems. Providing a big picture perspective creates opportunities for compassion, empathy, and unity to spread, where positive social contagion guides movements and change. This network of systems is our ever-evolving Web of Life.