Soft Systems: an Interdisciplinary Method Dr Karen Bowler Marine and Coastal Policy Research Group School of Earth, Ocean and Environmental Sciences. The Irish Sea: a socio-ecological system. Marine management Sustainability :
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Soft Systems: an Interdisciplinary MethodDr Karen BowlerMarine and Coastal Policy Research GroupSchool of Earth, Ocean and Environmental Sciences
‘Meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generation s to meet their own needs.’ Brundtland 1987
RESPONSESThe Problem – Why is marine conservation failing to deliver?’
‘Sage on stage’
After Brand, R & Karvonen A, 2007
Why use soft systems?
What is a system?
Explore the context
7-step method – iterative, refined, results of several cycles
After Checkland, 1981
Critical components identified:
Causes: Failures in Legislation, Management, Modelling, Technology use
Influences: Feedback loops
Critical areas for action e. g. Strengthen weakly interacting feedback at long-term interests
Soft systems methods provide a key link in developing our understanding of complex, trans-disciplinary issues. They:
‘ WHAT HAPPENS’
‘WHY IT HAPPENS’
DPSIR and Epistemologies
of habitats and
BiologyCurrent basis for marine sustainability
‘…based on sound science’ – as opposed to unsound science
of habitats and
BiologyExtended basis for marine sustainability
‘…based on sound science’ – but only as a basis – cultural values
Context, advertising, global economy,
unequal distribution of benefits, trade-offs,
advertising, short term benefit v ultimate aims,.
Where are we really going?
Is it good or bad – beyond science