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Systems Thinking

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Submitted By Melius333
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Why is systems thinking critical in developing solutions to sustainability challenges?
Systems thinking is a method of thinking that looks at the interconnectedness between different elements rather than a linear cause and effect approach and sees patterns of change rather than fixed “snapshots”. In essence it is a view on the “whole picture” (Anderson, R 1994).
Peter Senge and Andres Edwards expressed the importance of system thinking in that it is necessary for “understanding the dynamic complexity of a situation”, anticipating “the unintended consequences of proposed actions” and implementing “lasting solutions” (Higgins, K 2014).
Obesity is a wicked problem we face today where systems thinking is necessary as it is a sustainability issue that flows into the three pillar model. It affects the social, economic, and environmental pillars, as well as physiological and psychological factors on an individual level making it a unique and complex system.
By looking at genetics, psychological disorders, social norms and consequences, the food we buy and energy we use as well as the economy we can see why past and current attitudes have failed and that by encouraging a system thinking approach a new understanding of the circumstances can be achieved helping to identify prospects for action that may not have previously be seen; altogether illustrating systems thinking’s critical role in developing solutions to sustainability challenges.
Over the last few decades obesity has rapidly become a worsening global health problem. It was noted by The World Watch Institute in 2000 that “for the first time in human history, the number of overweight people rivals the number of underweight people”, while the world’s underfed population has slightly declined, the overweight number has swelled to more than 1.9 billion people worldwide being overweight in 2010 (WorldWatch Institute...

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