To bridge that disconnect I’m trying to champion systems thinking in schools as a new curriculum (an old project of my friend Peter Senge at MIT). One of the school systems that’s been interested in this is IB, the International Baccalaureate High Schools, which have very high academic standards. It’s a worldwide system. They want to bring this into their curriculum because they understand its importance for their students’ lives and the future. But they’ve added a missing ingredient: compassion and empathy. You can have a systems understanding that is first rate, but if you don’t care about the impacts those insights allow you, then you’ve got to deal, for example, with the consequences of rampant greed. You’ve got companies using science and systems in their self-interest, without caring about the side effects: untested industrial chemicals, say, or emissions into air water and soil.
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