About our name



There are systems all over the steep, lush mountains of China’s Wolong National Nature Reserve. They are the bamboo that pandas eat and so expertly hide amongst; the people scratching existence out of those same mountains, setting up shops, trying to ensure they show up every day and add another generation.

Much of the work of The Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability has roots in Wolong. The center's name is a mouthful – but a meaningful one. Let’s break it down.

Systems integration is a fancy way of acknowledging that nothing happens alone. A person chops down trees to heat the family home, clear a plot of land to grow cabbages. Those actions affect the panda system. Bamboo gets pushed out, feeding grounds fragment. Governments create policy to protect the pandas. Again, one system disrupts another and a family business fails. The systems bump, they ricochet, bump again.

Sustainability points the way to make both humans and nature thrive. Every path to sustainability is paved with systems. The Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability is a common purpose to not just study the individual struggle, but honor that the struggle to show up and stay strong is – and must be – a group effort.

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