This note is a part of my Zettelkasten. What is below might not be complete or accurate. It is also likely to change often.
22nd July, 2020


Fragility can be seen only in the context of a system. Systems are able to take small shocks but are vulnerable to large or multiple concurrent small shocks. The point after which a system cannot recover is called a Tipping Point

Tipping points and system responses to shock cannot be measured objectively in most cases. Even metrics we see like the CO2 concentrations are just one aspect which are not perfect representation of the whole system.

Some examples of fragile systems:

The Earth as a life system


  • 70% of important crops need pollination
    • Importantly for India, almost all vegetables
  • Bees are effected by the use of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides
    • Some bee species are more effected by chemicals
    • Different species of bees pollinate different plants and different plants are pollinated by different species of bees
    • That is the reason Biodiversity loss is such a big problem


Forests play a big part in multiple systems and cutting forests causes probems/shocks to multiple systems:

  • Hyrological cycles > Draught
  • Biodiversity > Systemic fragility
  • Carbon sequestration > Climate Change
  • Weather cycles > Less rain, hotter weather
  • Soil Quality > Less productive soil

Socio-Ecolological Systems

  • People play a role in the systems they have traditionally inhabited and cannot be seen as an "other".
  • For example, in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, herders were seen as harmful to the ecological system and forced out. It turns out they were integral to the system and the system suffered without them.