Environmental Philosophy

Volume 4, Issue 1/2, Spring/Fall 2007

Special Double Issue: Environmental Aesthetics and Ecological Restoration

James Jackson Griffith
Pages 163-178

Applying Systemic Thinking for Teaching Disturbed-Land Reclamation In Brazil

This paper discusses the suitability of using systemic thinking for teaching environmental rehabilitation to undergraduate students at Federal University of Viçosa. This is a predominantly agricultural sciences-based institution located in southeast Brazil. Student receptivity is discussed given concurrent campus paradigms of positivism, Marxism, and individualistic utilitarianism. Student projects using causal-loop diagrams to model degradation and land reclamation are presented. Eight archetypes common to systemic thinking are explained in reclamation contexts. Limitations of systemic thinking are discussed, including theoretical modeling problems and practical teaching considerations.