Complex human-nature system interactions in a resource constrained world - system analysis of problems associated to resource use and scarcity, and potential solutions aiming at resource efficiency
Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir
Summary, in English
This paper provides a systemic analysis of complex dynamic issues associated with resource use, scarcity and efficiency by applying systems thinking with respect to sustainability criteria. Casual loop diagramming methodology is adopted to create a conceptual model to better understand the interconnected patterns, cause effect relations and feedbacks between the three dynamic complex systems that constitute the world we live in – namely, the biophysical world system (with all natural resources that it encompasses i.e. water, air, land and soil, as well as abiotic and biotic raw materials), the human system (from individual, to group to society) and the human built support system (covering all physical, legislative and institutional infrastructures: e.g. ranging from economy to government, to technology to agriculture etc.). The conceptual model provides a holistic view and it is essential in identifying and assessing; i) the main driving forces behind environmental degradation and resource scarcity problems; and ii) associated existing and potential future alternative solutions (ranging from cleaner technology and pollution prevention practices, to sustainable consumption and production policies, to decoupling of economic growth from environmental degradation, all of which aim at resource efficiency by means of technology-ICT, innovation, regulations, legislations, taxes etc.) to these problems.