Living systems are nested and consist of basic materials, cells, organisms, ecosystems,and their environments, continuously interacting in time and space.
Life is an integrated process of nested living systems, in a holarchy. This holarchy is described.
We synthesise and discuss exergy capturing and accumulation of organisational exergy; the structuring of the system towards maximum entropy production and export of high entropy products; autopoiesis; emergent attractors or optimum operating points; characteristics of nested systems and holarcic levels; and the role of working and latent information.
It is concluded that it is only possible to describe the livingness of a system in a continuous way, and that living matter should be defined by the processes of which it is a part.
Hence, from the perspective of self-organisingand nested living systems it is difficult to draw boundaries between living and non-living as well as human and non-human systems.
Implications of this world-viewis discussed in relation to environmental management.
Key words: self-organisation, autopoiesis, holarchy, life processes, evolution