CSPH 5121 - Whole Systems Healing: Health and the Environment

Course Description:

Our personal health, along with the health of the human social systems we inhabit, are inextricably entwined with the wellbeing of local and global environmental systems. We are facing a multifaceted global/planetary crisis (which is no 1 longer impending but underway). The evidence is clear that Global Climate Change (along with a “Sixth Extinction” of massive proportions) is primarily driven by human behaviors.

Drawing upon the new science of Complex Systems, it is also evident that—just as human social systems (economic, political, and cultural) are impelling us towards a planetary “bifurcation point”—our only hope to avoid multiple systems collapse is to make deep changes in these systems. This course will help you learn how to understand—and to effect sustainable change in—the complex systems in your life: personal, social, and environmental.

Students will explore and develop leadership strategies and skills, using complexity theory as a theoretical framework. Living systems (including all social, biological, and environmental systems) are complex adaptive systems that are self-organizing and give rise to emergent properties, within a wider, “ecosystemic” context. To effect beneficial and sustainable changes within such systems, leaders must apply (and embody) ecosystemic principles. Rigid, top-down approaches based on linear and mechanistic paradigms are ill suited to transformative leadership, which facilitates an open-ended process of organic change. This course helps students develop transformative leadership capacities that are applicable within all types of organizations, within a wide variety of roles and positions.

Course Objectives:

  • Students who successfully complete this course will:
    • Apply complexity theory as a theoretical framework, explore global changes and ecological trends in the following human/environmental interfaces:
      • food production and quality;
      • humans and plants, animals, insects, fungi, and micro-organisms;
      • energy and natural resources use;
      • soil, air, and water quality;
      • exposure to industrial products and by-products;
      • population growth, urbanization, and land/sea use.
    • Identify the structural components of various human and natural systems through case study methods, direct observation, and deep reflection;
    • Utilize a combination of analysis and synthesis to describe the complex dynamics within such systems;
    • Discuss and develop strategies for optimizing the healthy functioning of systems using the group processes of online and in-person dialogue;
    • Compare and contrast the observed or likely outcomes of the application of such strategies, applying ethical concepts and the concept of gentle action in the critique process;
    • Evaluate the efficacy of various strategies and especially combinations of strategies.

Course Details

Course Format: 
Course ID: 
CSPH 5121
Jr or sr
Semesters Course Offered: 
Course Flyer: 
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