Guest Article: Fritjof Capra – Achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through Systems Thinking

Fritjof Capra speaks to The Heart of the Matter

Some months ago, I was asked by a group of NGOs in the United Nations to record a special video message about the importance of systems thinking for achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This turned into a big project involving the Capra Course Team and alumni network over the last 6 months. In a collaborative  effort we have produced a beautiful 30-minute video with evocative imagery and music.

My main message in this video (titled “The Heart of the Matter”) is that our global problems are systemic problems — all interconnected and interdependent — and that the SDGs, therefore, must also be seen as systemically interconnected.

In addition to the core message mentioned above, I discuss:

  • the need to shift from quantitative to qualitative growth;
  • the new science of qualities that has recently emerged;
  • the need to become ecologically literate in order to design sustainable communities;
  • the nature of systemic solutions, with agroecology as an inspiring example;
  • the importance of systems thinking for all these issues; and finally,
  • the need for a new Earth ethics, such as the one summarized in the Earth Charter.

The alumni group who produced the video included Gino Rose (videography), David Peters (visual design and editing with help from Derek Dockendorf), and Marilyn Fowler (project lead), in collaboration with the Capra Course Team (Mira Michelle Kennedy, Phoebe Tickell and myself) and with Lisinka Ulatowska, coordinator of the Commons Cluster (United Nations NGO Major Group).

Even though this video was produced specifically for the UN, we believe that its message is much broader. We hope you will enjoy watching it.

We also produced a 2-minute preview of the video, for people who wish to post something shorter on social media:

If you want to share about my new video and message on social media, please join us in using the following hashtags: #heartofthematter, #systemsthinking, #SDGs, #SDGsystemsapproach, #globalgoals.

Finally, we produced a collection of documents containing further resources and background information to stimulate discussion. Please feel free to share this and use it in any way you deem appropriate. To access them please click here: Heart of the Matter Resources.

If you would like to watch Heart of the Matter and share from Vimeo, the url is:

And the link to the preview video is

If you would like the opportunity to learn directly with Fritjof, to find out more about Capra Course please visit

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