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Gabrielle Makatura

I thought your fishing example was a great personal touch to help convey the idea of a renewable stock in a system that can crash.

last semester I took a quantitative methods class wherein many examples actually included fishing and different policies to address the issues of over-fishing these resources. When examining these different policies to enact (theoretically of course) we were urged to not only look at the policies themselves, but something called critical descriptors. These critical descriptors were a list of top stakeholders in the process, what helped run the system, and how each policy would affect the resource.

Many times when looking at policy solutions the answer seems obvious at first. For example, in many cases of over-fishing one would look at a policy that halts fishing to solve the problem. When one begins to understand the momentum and complexity of this renewable resource though policies such as limited fishing turn out to be more promising.

While the class did not specifically call this systems thinking, it is exactly what you described above. While a system including fish seems simple, it is in reality very complex. We must, with failure and experience as our guide, learn where the momentum is in a system in order to more successfully achieve our goals. In your example it sounds like a business-as-usual approach was used and that no real work was put into understanding what drives and kills the system.

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