Implications of the System’s Observer in Environmental and Ecological Knowledge Systems for Sustainable Development
By emphasizing a sociocybernetics perspective, the paper analyses both conceptual models using systems theory and second order cybernetics (Geyer and Van der Zouwen 2006). It compares the use that such models do to system reflexivity and second-order observation (Foerster 1973). Other concepts such as self-organization, emergence, positive and negative feedback (Geyer 1995) are also considered to analyse models of knowledge systems of nature, outlining conceptual similarities and differentiations with some case examples.
The second part focuses on the debate of the ‘system observer/constructer’. Birrer (1999) identifies environmental issues as one of the fields where first order systemic perspective has strong development (i.e. modeling of environmental systems) he also notices that we hold ambiguity when we refer to the role of the system’s observer in these fields. The paper discusses the implications of explicitly acknowledging -or not- the position of the observer within the system´s construction, particularly when attempting to address sustainable development challenges as those framed by the Sustainable Development Goals.