Arthur Dahl's blog

World We Want 2015

Submitted by Arthur Dahl on 22. February 2013 - 21:03

I have just posted the following contribution to the UN World We Want 2015 web site ( on the topic: Framing Environmental Sustainability in the Post-2015 Agenda. They asked two questions:

What are the barriers and enablers to gradually moving towards environmental sustainability?

Fragmented institutions and short-term perspective

Our fossil fuel addiction and climate change

Submitted by Arthur Dahl on 30. January 2013 - 20:43

I was recently asked about the relationship between climate change and highly political issues around fossil fuels and energy independence. This raises an important issue about the linkages between all the different processes that make up our economy and human-planetary system, none of which can be resolved in isolation. Can we treat the scientific parts of the problem separately from the economic and political parts? How far can participation in dialogue go before it becomes too political and divisive?

Excellence and holistic thinking

Submitted by Arthur Dahl on 21. May 2012 - 20:24


Arthur Lyon Dahl

(Presentation at the EBBF Make It Meaningful event "Redefining Excellence" - Selsdon Park, London, UK - 13 May 2012)
See also

Our scientific and technological civilization has flourished by encouraging increasing specialization. The universal man (think Leonardo da Vinci) has not existed since the renaissance. With the rapid multiplication of knowledge and the techniques for storing and transmitting it, the human capacity to absorb and use knowledge is rapidly saturated, so we end up by knowing more and more about less and less, compensating our increasing specialization with a division of labour among more and more specialists, with managers ensuring (hopefully) that everything fits together. This is accompanied by a reductionist approach that assumes that if you know each part, you also know the whole. While this may be true of machines, more complex systems like computer programmes, ecosystems and people show emergent properties that cannot be predicted simply from a knowledge of the component parts.