Living Systems Contemplative Practice Blog

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This contemplative practice regarding living systems has made me do a great deal of thinking about the living systems which are most vulnerable due to the climate and geopolitical trends of the 21st century. Climate change in this century will have horrendous consequences for food and water systems throughout Africa, which provides the most shocking example of its potential effects on global living systems.  The fragile developing societies that constitute a large portion of this continent are far more likely to witness unparalleled increases in violence and conflict that will still possess global implication. Chillingly, many of these conflicts are likely to occur in tandem with what has potential to be some of the deadliest plagues and famines in history. This is likely in part simply due to its geographic position as Africa is already projected to experience warming roughly 1.5 times faster than the global average (Williams). Much of Sub-Saharan Africa lives in extreme poverty with no social safety net or strong state institutions to underpin societal stability. The grave danger this insinuates becomes apparent upon recognition that climate change will drastically increase water and food scarcity for rapidly growing populations, which already have basic needs that are well beyond the capacity of state resources to meet.  The IPCC has predicted that by 2030 Zimbabwe and South Africa will have their agricultural output decimated by thirty percent and that by 2100 Chad, Niger, and Zambia could have almost all of their ability to produce food wiped out (Williams).  The climate change processes that will catalyze such disturbing trends are similar to those that will affect most of the southern hemisphere, with an additional emphasis placed on the role drought and desertification will play due to the more rapid changes in temperature and rainfall Africa will experience.  In summary, the most important thing the contemplative practice about living systems taught me is these trends will not create isolated series of issues for certain human societies.  But rather crisis in one corner of the world can have global implications.

Williams, Hugo. “COP 21: Five Ways Climate Change Could Affect Africa.” BBC News, BBC, 11 Dec. 2015,

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