• In view of the overwhelming pressures on the global environment and the need to disrupt the systems that drive them, an ecosystemic theoretical and practical framework is posited for the evaluation and planning of public policies, research and teaching programmes, encompassing four dimensions of being-in-the-world (intimate, interactive, social and biophysical), as they combine, as donors and recipients, to induce the events (deficits/assets), cope with consequences (desired/undesired) and contribute for change (potential outputs). The focus is not on the “bubbles” of the surface (consequences, fragmented issues), but on the configurations deep inside the boiling pot where the problems emerge. The paradigms of development, growth, power, wealth, work and freedom, embedded at institutional and cultural level are considered, in view of environmental problems, quality of life and the state of the world.