Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 1999


Published in Great Plains Research 9 (Fall 1999. Copyright © 1999 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


The combination of science and human endeavor helps us understand nature, express ourselves as humans, and shape the environments in which we live. People wish to make decisions promoting the integrity of the ecological processes we depend on, along with the social and financial health of human communities and organizations. While we can effectively apply mechanical principles to activities such as air travel, we still have trouble managing complex situations involving ecological and human systems. It is easy to drive or fly across the Great Plains. It is more difficult to solve questions of aquifer decline, exotic plant invasion, or depopulation of agriculturally based communities. In any situation our management efforts will be most effective if we can consider the myriad of relevant ecological, social, and financial details. This requires us to learn how to think and act in wholes.