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All systems go! (Sustainability 9/20-24)

This week, upper el and middle schoolers worked to wrap their brains around a big idea called “systems thinking”. Translated into familiar phrasing, systems thinking is about looking at the big picture and understanding that all things are interconnected.

Viewing anything we approach this year as a system (because almost everything is!) will help us be better designers and problem-solvers. While it is easier to view the world as a linear series of cause and effects, almost without fail we are left scrambling when unintended consequences arise (as we all know they do).

Whatever system you are looking at - whether it is our aquaponics system at DGS, the human body, a family, or the earth itself - has layers of complexity. But we don’t have to be overwhelmed and revert to linear thinking just because the system is complex. We can take a deep breath and ask questions about where inputs come from, about where outputs go. We can map or name the interconnections without having to know all the answers or outcomes. Staying curious about exploring ALL aspects of a system, project, or problem gives us the best chance of a desirable outcome.

Throughout the school, I see so many examples of systems thinking happening and I’m hoping that reflecting on the systems (as systems) we interact with in Sustainability this year will bring a deeper level of understanding, confidence, and appreciation for the amazing work your children do.

Getting a little more down to dirt, we’ve got two worm compost bins cranking away and Kathleen has delivered our catfish friends to the dome tank. These two systems will give us lots to think about as they change and grow. Add to that our bunnies, chickens, microbial compost, growing seedlings, and ourselves, and we begin to see the parts coming together, networking to form the whole system that is Farm DGS.

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