The twelve leverage points to intervene in a system were proposed by Donella Meadows, a scientist and system analyst focused on environmental limits to. Another important earlier publication by Donella Meadows introduces you to “ Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System” is also well. immense interest to anyone seeking to affect change within our interconnected ecological, social and economic systems. – Donella Meadows, Leverage Points.

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The rest of the diagram is the information that causes the flows to change, which then cause the stock to change.

Political corruption decreases trust in public officials; experience of a well-functioning government increases mdadows. In some of the houses of a Dutch housing development, electric meters were installed in the basement; in others, they were installed in the front hall. An unlucky chicken crossing the road without looking for oncoming traffic is a small example of negative feedback that helps to keep the chicken population in check.

The structure of material stocks and flows and nodes of intersection such as transport networks, population age structures, flow of nitrogen through soil. Things take as long as they take. Interest rates, for example, or birth rates, control the gains around reinforcing feedback loops. You insert people with the new paradigm in places of public visibility msadows power. One of the most heartbreaking ways we do this meadpws in encroaching on the habitats of endangered species.

Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System – The Donella Meadows Project

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. From them, from shared social agreements about the nature of reality, come system goals and information flows, feedbacks, stocks, and everything else about systems.

Fast-replicating bacteria or insect populations, very infectious epidemics, wild speculative bubbles in money systems, neutron fluxes in the guts of nuclear power plants. The Academy occasionally sends E-newsletters with updates on the work of our fellows, the Donella Meadows Project and more. Join us at the Leverage Points Conference to discuss the following issues and topics and more: We hope you enjoy it and can share meacows with your community!


Meadows started with a 9-point list of such places, and expanded it to a list of twelve leverage points with explanation and examples, for systems in poinfs.

The ability to self-organize is the strongest form of system resilience.

Physical laws such as the second law of thermodynamics are absolute rules, whether we understand them or not or like them or not. The Problem The freshwater faucet has been turned off to many coastal bays, estuaries, and wetlands to supply the voracious needs of humans. Please improve this by adding secondary or tertiary sources.

If you get caught robbing a bank, you go to jail. If the outflow rate is higher than the inflow, the stock gradually goes down.

The only thing one can say is that if corporations wield it for the purpose of generating marketable products, that is a very different goal, a different selection mechanism, a different direction for evolution than anything the planet has seen so far. To grow, to increase market share, to bring the world customers, suppliers, regulators more and more under the control of the corporation, so that its operations become ever more shielded from uncertainty.

Twelve leverage points

We not only want to believe that there are leverage points, we want to know where they are and how to get our hands on them. There was this subdivision of identical houses, the story goes, except that for some reason the electric meter in some pointe the houses was installed in the basement and in others it was installed in meeadows front hall, where the residents could donella it constantly, going round faster or slower as they used more or less electricity.


Constants and parameters such as subsidies, taxes, and standards The delay between the time when a pollutant is dumped on the land and when it trickles down to the groundwater. Goals, mindsets, and paradigms sit at the very top of the hierarchy of leverage points.

The acid absorption capacity of eastern soils is not a leverage point for alleviating acid rain damage. Changing goals changes every item listed above: It is to let go into Not Knowing, into what the Buddhists call enlightenment. Parameters are dead last on my list of powerful interventions. When leberage understand the power of system self-organization, you begin to understand why biologists worship biodiversity even more than economists worship technology.

A more recent example is the Toxic Release Inventory — the U. A balancing feedback loop is self-correcting; a reinforcing feedback loop is self-reinforcing.

Even with immense effort at forecasting, almost every electricity industry in the world experiences long oscillations between overcapacity and undercapacity. That could initiate a race to the bottom. But if there ponts a delay in your system that can be changed, changing it can have big effects.

Another nudge upward gives the oscillation a double beat. And how can science and society come together more effectively to create this change?

The Solutions Journal

The genetic code within the DNA that is the basis of all biological evolution contains just four different letters, pointe into words of three letters each. The Problem The Gulf of Mexico set a record in Notify me of new comments via email. Physical systems and their nodes of intersection 9. Information flow is neither a parameter, nor a reinforcing or slowing loop, but a loop that delivers new information.