Apr 7, 2022 • 51M

Understanding the Nature of Systems | Jessie Henshaw

What physics can teach us about growth

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Rachel Donald
Planet: Critical is the podcast for a world in crisis. We face severe climate, energy, economic and political breakdown. Journalist Rachel Donald interviews those confronting the crisis, revealing what's really going on—and what needs to be done.
Episode details

Why, when armed with so much knowledge, are we failing to tackle the climate crisis? There must be some piece of the puzzle we haven’t grasped to continue overshooting the planetary boundaries at an alarming rate. Even this week’s IPCC report—the big piece of literature that’s meant to tell us what’s going on and what to do about it—came under fire from some climate scientists for continuing to propagate the endless growth maxim.


But even our valuing growth as either good or bad reveals how little we understand the complexity of natural systems—and that’s what this week’s guest joined me to discuss.

Jessie Henshaw is a physicist, architect and natural systems designer who worked with the UN to reframe their sustainability goals. She believes our misunderstanding of natural systems as a whole is what’s gotten us into this mess, and why we may not get out. We discuss how and when growth is necessary, collectivism in systems, and why science’s atomisation of systems in a bid to understand them is impeding the urgent progress we need to make. 

Listen to the full interview here, catch it on on Apple or Spotify, or watch on Youtube. You’ll find the bonus episode on Youtube over the weekend, and paid subscribers have access to the interview transcript on Planet: Critical.

© Rachel Donald