Apr 7 • 51M

Understanding the Nature of Systems | Jessie Henshaw

What physics can teach us about growth

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It's a critical time for our planet. We face severe ecological, economic and energy crises. Journalist Rachel Donald interviews experts confronting those crises head on, revealing the big picture of what's really going on.
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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.

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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