Ohio State University
For as long as humans have been aware of the destructive byproducts of their systems, they have been trying to figure out how to make them more sustainable. Mounting scientific evidence and the increasing frequency of climate catastrophes have only amplified the call to address these issues before we reach a threshold of no return. Despite this, little has been done to truly challenge the forcing functions of climate change that are negatively impacting human survival and well-being for this and future generations. As such, we need to develop systems that can both withstand the effects of climate change and mitigate their contributions to it.
My objective is to create a framework and process to analyze the sustainability of systems. This was done by reviewing existing frameworks of systems analysis and empirical research on the sustainability of agricultural, waste treatment, and green infrastructure. The data collected from this literature review informed the creation of a model of systems analysis that incorporates methods of diagramming material flows, measuring impact over a life cycle, and covering multiple scales of system impact. These dynamics encompass the dimensions of environmental, economic, social, and productive sustainability in order to effectively inform decision-making, and ensure that resources are distributed efficiently. This framework can be used to compare the tradeoffs between these different dimensions of sustainability. By analyzing systems through this this comprehensive framework, we can better reckon with the complexity of sustainability strategies and more effectively adapt in the face of crisis.