CFS101 What are systems?

This forum relates to the activity on Systems and Systems Thinking.

Think about your body as an example of a complex living system.
Consider these questions:

  1. The body has eight systems, e.g. the circulatory system and the nervous system. Can you name the other six? Now Google for the answer. Which ones did you miss? See in the forum which ones other people missed.
  2. In what ways can we harm these bodily systems, or the body as a whole? Brainstorm as many ways as possible. Try to add different ideas to those of others in the class.
  3. How do these different means of harm come about, and how might you actively avoid them?

I only came up with a few more (respiratory system, immune system, skeletal and muscular systems). I missed digestive/excretory system, reproductive system, endocrine/hormonal system (although that takes the total to nine!).

We can harm these bodily systems, or the body as a whole, by what we choose to ‘put into’ the system (e.g. poor diet, alcohol, drugs, caffeine, nicotine, not enough (or too much) water…), but also by elements within our environment (e.g. polluted air, smoke, chemicals, fertilisers, cleaning agents…). We can also harm our body through our physical activity (or inactivity); e.g. muscular or skeletal injuries, obesity (potentially putting a strain on every system in the body?).

These different means of harm may be actively chosen by us (eating too much sugar or fat, for instance, or smoking, taking drugs, or drinking alcohol), or may be more passive (e.g. environmental factors). We can, however, actively research how our food is produced, for example, or what our cleaning products contain, and spread the word to friends, family, and colleagues to raise awareness.

Body Systems. Name the 8 systems: Circulatory, Nervous, Hormonal, Digestive, Respiratory, Skeleto-muscular. Olfactory? Optical? I missed reproductive and immune system.

In what ways can we harm these bodily systems, or the body as a whole? Life requires MRS GREN: Movement, sensitivity, growth, reproduction, excretion, nutrition. Humans also have mental wellbeing. If any one of these factors are deviated away from optimal (e.g. not enough or too much), then its life will likely be adversely affected. Mental wellbeing and stability can affect a humans choices and actions.
How do these different means of harm come about, and how might you actively avoid them?
Harm from limitations may come from: Scarcity of resources; unpreparedness, limited access to resources via social and economic structures. Also, a rapid overpopulation of communities can lead to limited access to utilities and resources (i.e. rapid urbanisation has lead to slums in some large cities).
Harms from excess can come from: a poor personal understanding of human biology and needs (e.g. dietary requirements); addictive behaviours (e.g. binging).
There are also social harms, where existing politics, laws or practices do not properly protect and respect the Universal Human Rights. Crime is another social harm. The social harms of prejudice, injustice, and inequality can be counteracted through education; establishing effective and reasonable Law and Order systems; and by global citizens actively identifying and resolving social problems.