This summer’s bushfires were not just devastating events in themselves. More broadly, they highlighted the immense vulnerability of the systems which make our contemporary lives possible.
The fires cut road access, which meant towns ran out of fuel and fell low on food. Power to towns was cut and mobile phone services stopped working. So too did the ATMs and EFTPOS services the economy needs to keep running.
In a modern, wealthy nation such as Australia, how could this happen?
In answering this question, it’s helpful to adopt “systems thinking”. This approach views problems as part of an overall system, where each part relates to each other.
In other words, we need to look at the big picture.