Theorizing the relationship between the natural and the social.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
H. T. Odum: There is no Steady State
Now we're getting somewhere. . .
A century of studies in ecology, and in many other fields from molecules to stars, shows that systems don’t level off for long. They pulse. Apparently the pattern that maximizes power on each scale in the long run is a pulsed consumption of mature structures that resets succession to repeat again. There are many mechanisms, such as epidemic insects eating a forest, regular fires in grasslands, locusts in the desert, volcanic eruptions in geologic succession, oscillating chemical reactions, and exploding stars in the cosmos. Systems that develop pulsing mechanisms prevail. The figure above includes the downturn for reset that follows ecological climax. In the long run there is no steady state (Odum, 2007, p. 54).