Spatial and Temporal Scale-Linking

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Daniel C. Wahl:

"By trying to create healthier systems capable of the appropriate transformative response in the face of sudden disruptions and crises, we need to pay particular attention to how proposed solutions are scale-linked spatially and temporally.

Spatial scale-linking connects individuals, communities, ecosystems, bioregions and nations all the way to the planetary scale (and beyond).

Temporal scale- linking can be understood as the way slow processes and fast processes interact. Many of the factors that will cause a loss of resilience at one particular scale, for example within a community and its local ecosystem, will also affect resilience at another scale, the national or planetary level. Localized actions, like the burning of fossil fuel, can accumulate to have global effects like climate change, which in turn can affect local conditions in multiple and unpredictable ways. This is the nature of the fundamentally interconnected nested system (holarchy) in which we live.

Among the factors that can degrade systemic health at multiple scales are: loss of biodiversity, toxic pollution, interference with the hydrological cycle, degradation of soils and erosion — but also, inflexible institutions, perverse subsidies acting as incentives for unsustainable patterns of consumption, and inappropriately chosen measures of total value that focus on short-term maximization of production and increased efficiencies at the loss of redundancy and diversity in the system as a whole." (