LO and its environmental conditions LO30348

From: leo minnigh (minnigh@dds.nl)
Date: 07/10/03

Replying to LO30339 --

Dear LO' ers, dear At,

I wish I could answer you in Dutch on this list and you writing in
Afrikaans as we did so much in the past. I wish it, because my enthousiasm
could find its freedom much more easy than writing in English with the
dictionary in front of me.

> Now what will constitute this OF? I have mentioned that the SF (Soil
> Fertility) of a piece of land expresses the sum of its physical, chemical,
> geological, microbiological, botanical and zoological characteristics AND
> MUCH MORE because of the interactions between them. I think that in the OF
> banks will play a major role. But what else? Let us try to identify all
> the major role players and how they interact. Let us then try to estimate
> the OF of an organisation's environment.

At, I am so glad, because your contribution is pregnant of wholism! An
organisation cannot live on its own independant of its environment. And
what a revelation is it that we could start a dialogue on the organisation
of the whole - smaller org together with its surroundings forming another,
larger org. Perhaps the thinking in boxes is one of the most serious
barriers for a healthy future. Viva the transdisciplinary thinking! I hope
some teachers have read your contribution. (BTW you forgot to mention the
climate and weather in the interactions of SF, but this is not a critique
to your contribution).

There are many examples of parasitism of orgs in respect to their
environment. I will mention an example here from Holland on which I become
madder and madder about. It are the 'real estate developers' (which is
according to the dictionary the translation of 'projectontwikkelaar' =
project developer). However, in the background also the banks and
investors play a destructive role.

Most of you will know that nearly half of the Netherlands lies below
sealevel. Most of this area lies in the west and is called Holland.
According to some etymologists this word comes from 'onland', meaning bad
land. Why is it bad land? After the last ice age, some 10.000 years ago
when sealevel was some 150 metres lower than at present, huge areas were
dry land. In fact one could walk at that time to the Brittish isles from
the mainland of Europe, since there was no North Sea. But the enormous
quantities of land ice started to melt and slowly the sea started to rise.
Huge areas became marsh lands and peat started to develop. Near the sea
with its introduction of oxygen in the marsh lands, mainly reed grew,
whereas farther from the sea, where more anoxic conditions prevailed, moss
was the principle vegetation. Both vegetation types developed very thick
formations of peat bog. In the most western parts of Holland the thickness
is 25 - 30 metres. Some claylayers are present which were deposited during
short periods of sea invasions. Below these thick peat formations is still
the sand of the ice ages when the whole area was dry land. Most buildings
in Holland have their foundations by means of long piles on this stable
sand. Some 700 - 800 years ago the few inhabitants in this area started to
manage the water. The first dikes were constructed and the first main
canals and smaller water courses were digged. And from that period onward
farming started. But on the wet and acid peat soil only grass could grow.
No trees and crops. So here is the area were only cattle and milk
production was possible and only small buildings on some rare and isolated
more stable places could hold, since the technique of foundation piles was
not yet developed. The central area is still known as the 'green heart of
Holland' - polders of grassland, few farms and only cows. One can imagine
that this nearly empty area in such a dense populated country is a great
attractor for many people. Not only for recreational purposes and for
rest- and quiescence seekers, but also for the organisation who love to
build houses, complete new cities and new high constructions of offices.
Where in the past only grass could grow and only a few small buildings
were possible, now with the foundation piles there is no objection for the
construction of huge cities with huge buildings. Hardly nobody realised
that there is a reason why the area was until modern times still nearly
empty. And what happens in these new cities? The buildings are stable
resting with their foundation piles on the sand 25 metres below. However
the rest is sinking rapidly. Due to intense pumping of water out of these
areas, the peat dries up. And peat shrinks over 90% if it becomes dry.
Moreover, peat in contact with oxigen will slowly burn away in pure carbon
dioxide. And thus, buildings stand on their poles, but roads, underground
sewage systems and everything else is rapidly sinking. In a place near
where I live, the ground of a district of only 15 years old had to be
raised in places for more than 2 metres! (otherwise the inhabitants had to
entre their houses via a stair). Real estate developers don´t know about
the whole. They look at a map in their office, see an empty area and start
with their ´developing´. They have never questiond why that area was
empty. But there are other parties with this lack of insight. For instance
the so-called ´nature developers´ (a contradictio in terminus), start with
their projects and begin with planting trees to create woods. They have no
idea of the abiotic nature and think only of birds, plants and fauna. Most
of these new trees are doomed to die, since the peat is not the right
soil. If they had taken a sample from the soil they could easily recognise
the fossil reed and moss in the peat, in the past there were any trees.

AT, what is my conclusion? I think that OO´s with low OF DON´T LIKE
HORIZONS, the wide views to all directions (including downward and

I miss the ever diminishing horizons here in Holland. More and more I live
in my imaginations, but

> >The birds are still singing.
> It is somewhat quiet here because of the winter. Many birds have migrated
> to warmer places. But there is one bird species called by the vernacular
> name Hidida. It is black, half the size of a stork and looks somehat like
> it when it is disturbed, it flies away with a loud "ah-haa" sound. It is
> extraordinary how this species has adapted to city conditions. It makes
> the best of a poor SF.

I hope that I am still able to be a Hidida, living in a land of bricks and

Leo Minnigh


"leo minnigh" <minnigh@dds.nl>

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <Richard@Karash.com> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <http://www.learning-org.com>

"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.