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Alan AtKisson: a song about Systems Theory (or the Systems Zoo)

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Uploaded on Jan 5, 2009

The AtKisson Group is a network of highly skilled and motivated sustainability professionals, working around the world to facilitate change. Founded in 1992 by Alan AtKisson, AtKisson is dedicated to mainstreaming sustainability into common practice, in all sectors, so that people can take action now to tackle growing sustainability problems such as climate change, resource waste, and meeting human needs.

As a source of learning, strategic help, and inspiration, AtKisson has a reputation for effectiveness and integrity. With a network of affiliated firms and practitioners around the world, AtKisson works with clients across sectors in twenty countries, ranging from UN agencies to cities to global corporations, providing clients with expert advisory services, workshops, and a suite of products and tools that create real change.

AtKisson presentations blend sustainability science with art, music, and group participation, helping groups learn the fundamental sustainability issues and creating solutions to move towards sustainable organizations.

Here Alan AtKisson describes Systems Theory during a presentation to the Australian Environmental Protection Agency in 2001.

For more information on AtKisson, Inc. please visit www.atkisson.com.

For more information on Alan AtKisson, please visit www.alanatkisson.com

To purchase Alan's most recent book, The ISIS Agreement, please visit www.atkisson.com/Global/ISIS_Agreement.h­tml

LYRICS:
Your system's crashing and you don't know why
You want to hang down your head and cry
Pull yourself together ... there's no time to be blue
I'm going to tell you just what to do ...

Go to the Zoo
Take a walk around the Zoo
Yeah the System Zoo will enlighten you
You got to listen to the animals, they'll talk to you ...

You got your sources and sinks
You got to know how to think about it
Stocks and flows
That's where it stops, and where it goes
Oscillations, delays, and rates of change
You got nonlinear effects that are really strange
You these signals runnin' round in a feedback loop
That's the way it goes down in the Systems Zoo

Na-na-na-naaa-naaa-na-naa-na
Loop, loop
Na-na-na-naaa-naaa-na-naa-na
Loop, loop

Yeah if your system's comin' down, and you don't know what to do
You got to take a walk around in the System Zoo

Every system's idea of fun
Is to maintain equilibrium
If you push it to grow to fast
Your going to reach overshoot and collapse ...

Now let me tell you a little story ...

A man learns to fish, he fishes better than the rest
He buys afew boats with the rewards of his success
Takes the money that he makes and buys a whole damn fleet
Till the ocean's full of boats, but there's no fish in the sea ...

Now what didn't he do?

Go to the Zoo ...
Get your butt down to the Zoo
Yeah the System Zoo will enlighten you
You got to listen to the animals, they'll talk to you ...

You got your sources and sinks That's the way it goes down in
You got to know how to think about it
Stocks and flows
That's where it stops, and where it goes
Oscillations, delays, and rates of change
You got nonlinear effects that are really strange
You these signals runnin' round in a feedback loop
That's the way it goes down in the Systems Zoo

Na-na-na-naaa-naaa-na-naa-na
Loop, loop
Na-na-na-naaa-naaa-na-naa-na
Loop, loop

Yeah if your system's comin' down, and you don't know what to do
You got to take a walk around in the System Zoo -- Yeah!

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