May 17th is the forty-seventh meeting of Systems Thinking Ontario. Please RSVP at Eventbrite.

Healthy Ecosystems <> Healthy People: An Ecosystems Approach to Health

Martin Bunch,
Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, Toronto, ON Canada

Drawing on his extensive experience of applying systems thinking to address wicked problems facing communities and ecosystems around the world, Martin will Introduce us to the Ecosystem Approach to Health. Ecohealth is a young and emerging systems-based approach to managing coupled human and natural systems to achieve improvements in human health and well-being, while fostering and sustaining healthy ecosystems.  The approach is based on the understanding that health outcomes emerge from interrelationships within social–ecological systems.

In 1948, the World Health Organization adopted the following definition of  health:

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely
  the absence of disease or infirmity

Still the most cited definition of health, this holistic definition stands in contrast to traditional medical and epidemiological practice, even today. Holistic, as well, the Ecosystem Approach to Health emphasizes principles of transdisciplinarity, participation, gender and social equity, systems thinking, sustainability, and research-to-action. Please join us on Wednesday, May 17th, to learn about this vitally important application of systems thinking and to discuss the variety of methods and techniques applied in Martin's work.

Join us in an open discussion. Newcomers always welcomed.

In preparation, please review the following notes:


  • IBM Studios Toronto Bloor, 120 Bloor Street East

  • NOTE: IBM's doors are locked after working hours, so someone will have to let you into the building.  As such, please make every effort to arrive by 6:45PM at the latest.  After 6:45pm, we will post a number to call or text so that someone can leave the meeting to let you in.


Time Activity Role(s)
6:30 Self-introductions (15 seconds each)
  • Who am I?
  • Which affiliations do I have that might be relevant to systems thinking?
  • How did learn about this Systems Thinking Ontario session?
6:50 Discussion (expanding on the presentation and/or preparatory readings as an entry point)

1. Open Q & A , discussion and sense-making to more fully understand & appreciate Martin's work.

2. How might these methods and techniques be improved, expanded - or applied more fully or effectively?

3. Can we discover some cases - from our own experience - that stand to benefit from adopting this approach?

(working in break-out groups, depending on our attendance-level)

Martin Bunch
7:45 Double loop learning: Revisions in meeting format? Suggestions welcome
8:30 Adjourn - Optionally, join other attendees to continue discussion over dinner and/or drinks at a nearby restaurant
(ideally, one that's quiet, reasonably priced and spacious enough for our continued conversations).
No host

Post-meeting artifacts: