The Bubbles or the Boiling Pot: An Ecosystem Approach for Global Change & Development Design


The Bubbles or the Boiling Pot: An Ecosystem Approach for Global Change & Development Design

In view of the overwhelming  pressures on the global environment and the need to disrupt the systems that drive them, an ecosystemic theoretical and practical framework is posited for the evaluation and planning of public policies, research and teaching programmes, encompassing four dimensions of being-in-the-world: intimate, interactive, social and biophysical, as they combine, as donors and recipients, to induce the events (deficits/assets), cope with consequences (desired/undesired) and contribute to change (potential outputs). The focus is not on the “bubbles” of the surface (consequences, fragmented issues), but on the configurations deep inside the boiling pot where the problems emerge. 

New paradigms of development, growth, power, wealth, work, and freedom, embedded at an institutional level, include heterogeneous attributes, behaviors and interactions and the dynamics of the systems (institutions, populations, political, economic, cultural and ecological background). Instead of dealing with the bubbles (segmented, reduced issues) and trying to solve isolated and localized problems without addressing the general phenomenon, the proposal emphasizes the definition of the problems deep inside the “boiling pot”, where the problems emerge, encompassing the current “world-system” with its boundaries, structures, techno-economic paradigms, support groups, rules of legitimation, and coherence. In the socio-cultural learning niches, heuristic-hermeneutic experiences generate awareness, interpretation, and understanding beyond established stereotypes, from a thematic (“what”), an epistemic(“how”) and a strategic (policies) point of view. The proposal relates to how taken for granted worldviews, values and perceptions affect environmental problems and quality of life.

As a result of the proposal it is expected that public policies, research, and teaching programmes would:

  1. Define the problems in the core of the “boiling pot” in view of a holistic, ecosystemic framework, instead of reducing them to the bubbles of the surface (effects, fragmented, taken for granted issues);
  2. Combine the four dimensions of being in the world (intimate, interactive, social and biophysical) in the diagnosis and prognosis of the events, assessing their deficits and assets, as donors and recipients;
  3. Promote the singularity of (identity, proper characteristics) and the reciprocity (mutual support) between all dimensions of being in the world in view of their complementarity and dynamic equilibrium.