The paper "Systems Thinking Is Critical in Developing Solutions to Sustainability Challenges" is a perfect example of a business assignment. As stated by Max Weber, the various spheres of the world stand in irreconcilable conflict with each other. This is true as far as sustainability is concerned as there is great tension between sustainability and development, between environmental sustainability and social-cultural desires and the needs of the present generation and those of future generations. It is no wonder then that we have been hearing about sustainability on a daily basis yet we continue to struggle with negative effects of environmental degradation such as global warming, drought and diseases despite the many forums that have been organized to plan on how to deal with sustainability both at national, regional and global levels.
The issue of sustainability is indeed a wicked problem with the threats of modern human activities to sustainability being numerous and interconnected. One major threat to sustainability and a major wicked problem is the use of non-renewable energy sources world over as this has resulted in such undesirable effects as global warming and undesirable climate changes (Smith and Bosch, 2007).
Yet, various stakeholders cannot come up with one best way of solving the issue of energy sustainability. But can systems think to be key in developing solutions to such wicked problems that are major sustainability challenges? This essay is aimed at demonstrating that systems thinking is critical in developing solutions to sustainability challenges. In so doing, the paper first introduces the concepts of wicked problems and sustainability as well as wicked problems before explaining how systems thinking is critical in developing a solution to sustainability challenges.
The essay then explains why Shifting to more renewable sources of energy in Australia is a wicked problem before suggesting how systems thinking can be used in ensuring shifting to more renewable energy sources in Australia. In conclusion, it will be argued that adopting systems thinking in Australia will be key to solving the wicked problem of lack of use of renewable energy sources in Australia. The concept of systems thinking and wicked problems Probably the reason why sustainability issues and wicked problems such as shifting to more renewable sources in Australia continues to persist is the continued use of traditional problem-solving ways that break systems into their separate elements and try to apportion blame on individual parts instead of looking at the system holistically.
System thinking attempts to solve this by having a holistic approach to analysis which focuses on the way that the constituents of a systems’ parts interrelate and how the systems work overtime and within the context of larger systems that are interrelated. Systems thinking can thus be defined as the ability to understand the diverse parts of a system, recognize that the whole is more than the sum of its parts, see interconnections and feedback loops in nonlinear ways and create and redesign systems through effective leverage points.
For instance, in addressing the issue of shifting to more renewable sources in Australia, we would need to look at everything that energy is connected to or touches upon. Who are the consumers and producers of energy and how does the entire system operate? This means that we look at the entire Australian economy including the supply of goods and services, extraction of resources, infrastructure, transmission, and transportation among other sectors in the system in developing solutions to the sustainability issue.
We would also look at the impacts of using non-renewable energy resources such as greenhouse gases emissions, pollution and climate change among others (Cavaleri and Sterman, 1997). Human dynamics such as population growth, poverty alleviation and human health among others would also need to be considered. We would need to understand how all these parts fit together to make up the energy system.
It means that for instance when sourcing or consuming energy, it is vital that they look beyond the lights or just delivering goods and services. They need to look at parts and interactions of the integrated whole and the risks and impacts beyond their premises.
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