About system thinking

224 views 7 pages ~ 1808 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

A system is a collection of elements that communicate with one another to operate. A structure is something that can be separated into functional units. Using a vehicle as an example, it is made up of different subsystems and modules, which are known as spare parts. Any of a car's components must communicate with one another in order for it to work. The driver is one of the most important aspects of a vehicle. System thinking is an approach that is geared towards the provision of solutions to complex problems whose occurrences can be attributed to lack of the whole system_x0092_s understanding (Rajagopal, 2012, p. 13). Rather than subdivide a problem into its minute parts, the system thinking approach broadens its view to include the larger system (Rajagopal, 2012, p. 14). According to Rajagopal (2012), the application of system thinking derives its conclusion by analyzing the interaction and relationship on their operational component. Incidentally, man_x0092_s attitude to problems has always been deliberated by his failure to picture the problem in entirety. Instead, he insists on specific solutions, which in turn makes the problem more complex.

The approach of system thinking can be applied across various life aspects including business, research and environment (Dyball & Newell, 2014, p. 178). Based on these observations, system thinking is emerging as a critical component in developing solutions to sustainability (Dyball & Newell, 2014, p. 179).

The Earth must be seen as a system, whose individual parts are not only interconnected but also impact on one another. The environmental problems being witnessed today cannot be classified as isolated events, but rather systematic breakdowns whose solutions require innovative and new approaches. Therefore, all agencies involved in environmental protection must focus beyond solutions that do not address the causes of problems via system thinking (Dyball & Newell, 2014, p. 181). The greatest sustainable challenge that the world is grappling with today is climate change.

Indeed, one of the most debated issues of this century is climate change and its challenge to environmental sustainability (Dyball & Newell, 2014, p. 179). Human has continued to influence the environment primarily through global warming. This is witnessed in the arctic in the name of the fast-melting polar ice caps that lead up to increased vapor in the atmosphere. These alterations have the impact of causing significant changes in weather and ecosystems. Climate change issues have their impacts mostly felt on the environment, which in turn affect the economy of humans through government restrictions, regulations and taxes like carbon tax.

Climate change is categorized as a wicked problem (Goleman, et al., 2012, p. 81). It is complex, ever changing and not easy to define (Goleman, et al., 2012, p. 82). Apparently, there have been several measures taken into place to address the menace that is climate change, but all seem unsuccessful. A case in point is the Coal Seam Gas extraction in Australia. For more than three decades, Australia has extracted and utilized Coal Seam Gas. However, over the past few years, it has been subjected to public scrutiny. Several environmental concerns have been raised regarding the impact of Coal Seam Gas on Australian ecosystems and beyond. This is primarily focused on the potentiality of the extraction releasing toxic chemicals into ecosystem. It is also believed that the gases also affect ground water resources, thanks to the sinking down deep aquifers (Goleman, et al., 2012, p. 84).

The issue of Australia_x0092_s Coal Seam Gas formed part of the deliberations by the United Nations in Copenhagen. The main these of the meeting was to look for ways of phasing out such unsustainable resources such as Coal Seam Gas and replace them with more environmental friendly alternatives such as green energy. However, an issue of cost implication cannot be omitted from such projects. Expansion of alternative sources of energy will imply that Coal Seam Gas energy users in Australia will be forced to pay more money. Being a fossil fuel, Coal Seam Gas is relatively low cost. Additionally, by abandoning the CSM project, thousands of jobs are poised to be lost and this has its negative impacts on the Australian economy.

The extraction of Coal Seam Gas is a socio-economic contributor to Australia_x0092_s pillar of sustainability. It contributes to 8.5 per cent of the GDP of the country and employs approximately 2% of the nation_x0092_s workforce. This means that Coal Seam Gas is good for Australia_x0092_s humanity. With this level of dependence on the gas, it is highly unlikely that Australia will abandon extracting the gas in the near future. With such issues, climate change is portrayed as a wicked problem since it is ambiguous, ill-defined and related to strong moral, professional and political issues (Goleman, et al., 2012, p. 85).

Through experience and research, Goleman, et al., (2012) observed that the people trying to offer solutions to the problem of climate are the same ones responsible for its poor condition and status. It is undebatable truth that the prevailing ecological and climate encounters were initiated by men and continue to exacerbate through human actions and high level of imprudence. The technology of today has presented a situation where for things to be done, a problem must be exacerbated. Today, it is becoming increasingly impossible to go about the business of life without creating greenhouse gas emissions. Because of this, humans_x0092_ attempts to change their own behavior put them at a war with themselves. We remain part of the problem.

However, it is important to note that time is running out (Meadows, 2014, p. 59). The effects of climate change will eventually overwhelm humans when they become irreversible. The rate at which the effects of climate change are growing calls for an urgent action otherwise we shall not have a planet to live in (Meadows, 2014, p. 59).

In the global platform, effective leadership and administration are lacking (Molthan-Hill, 2014, p. 102). Therefore, there is no single authority available for mankind to address the issue of climate change. When the US President Donald Trump overturned the Paris Agreement and reopened coal mining fields in the US, all hope in America_x0092_s leadership in climate change war was dashed. The US, which is mentioned as one of the top facilitators of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere should lead by practically illustrating and adopting substitute sources of energy as had been projected by President Obama. As a result, some global leaders have considered the international climate change debates as absolute waste of time (Molthan-Hill, 2014, p. 104).

With systems thinking, there is a ray of hope. Systems thinking is crucial for a holistic approach to problems rather than through the use of linear thinking approach. It allows for solutions that are flexible and innovative and based upon evaluation and experimentation. In the perspective of system thinking, the problem is viewed entirely from beginning analyzing all the causes and contributing factors to the problem. As a result, adequate and sufficient knowledge regarding the problem is gained. A system thinker can spot crucial problematic areas through analysis of the entire picture. Once the system is understood and causes of the problem noted, it becomes much easier to identify, propose and puts into practice a working and permanent solutions to all the noted errors. System thinking has a long-term focus and this makes it an excellent model for problem solving and attaining long lasting solutions to critical and vital problems facing the world and negatively affecting lives of people. System thinking proposes for a visualization framework that is multi-scale and responds to climate change effects in both man-made and natural landscapes (President's Council on Sustainable Development, 1996).

Climate change researchers can find visualization framework so beneficial. A good example is the carbon capture and storage and funding alternative energy projects in Australia. The government of Australia is on record as having offered in excess of one billion dollars to any organization willing to invest in solutions of carbon capture and storage. This can be achieved through a mandatory emissions cap, which must be designed appropriately. Government can extend incentives to farmers in their carbon sequestration roles and include them as part of the emission capturing project (Richmond, 2008, p. 16).

Multi-scale visualization framework that is combined with project utilization upon the model of system thinking offers an efficient solution for carbon capture and storage. Of course, this requires concerted efforts from all stake-holders right from the government to agricultural unions.

Climate change qualifies as a wicked problem because of three reasons (Tilbury & Wortman, 2014, p. 56). First, the individuals involved in finding solutions to climate change problems are also the ones exacerbating and undertaking activities that propel its progress (Tilbury & Wortman, 2014, p. 56). Secondly, there is no sufficient time available to solve the problem if we do not start now and move on steadily with speed. Thirdly, any effort at finding solution is being hampered by the absence of global leadership and administration (Savigny & Adam, 2009, p. 84).

Systems thinking can help respond to these problems by helping mankind to expand his mental model boundaries. Apparently, most efforts employed today are targeted at unsustainability efforts rather than the real causes. For instance, cars are known to burn much fuel and as a result generate a lot of carbon dioxide gases. A conventional solution has always been to ensure that new cars are manufactured in an efficient manner. This results in lowering oil prices because of their reduced demand for oil. Subsequently, this undermines people_x0092_s incentives to purchase efficient cars and reduce use of oil in other industries. Expanding mental model boundaries will help identify the potentiality of such kind of resistance before designing policies that are more effective (Lassiter, 2015). Past research and authors have shown that system thinking is the only reliable approach towards creating lasting solutions to various challenges in the modern world of technology and rapid industrialization. _x000c_References

Dyball, R. & Newell, B., 2014. Understanding Human Ecology: A Systems Approach to Sustainability. 1st ed. New York: Routledge.

Goleman, D., Bennett, L. & Barlow, Z., 2012. Ecoliterate: how educators are cultivating emotional, social, and ecological intelligence. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Lassiter, A., 2015. Sustainable water: challenges and solutions from California. 1st ed. Oakland, California: University of California Press.

Meadows, D., 2014. Thinking in systems: a primer. 1st ed. White River Junction: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Molthan-Hill, P., 2014. The business student's guide to sustainable management: principles and practice. 2nd ed. Sheffield, U.K.: Greenleaf.

President's Council on Sustainable Development, 1996. Education for sustainability: an agenda for action.. 2nd ed. [Washington, D.C.] (730 Jackson Pl., N.W., Washington 20503): President's Council on Sustainable Development .

Rajagopal, 2012. Darwinian fitness in the global marketplace : analysing the competition. 1st ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Richmond, B., 2008. An introduction to systems thinking: STELLA software. 1st ed. [Lebanon, N.H.]: Isee systems.

Savigny, D. D. & Adam, T., 2009. Systems thinking for health systems strengthening. 3rd ed. Geneva: Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research : World Health Organization.

Tilbury, D. & Wortman, D., 2014. Engaging people in sustainability. 1st ed. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN Commission on Education and Communication, IUCN-the World Conservation Union.

November 09, 2022

Environment Life


Nature Hero

Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Automobile
Verified writer

Working on a team project on global warming, I contacted PeterB. He is an excellent writer who will not only provide you with great sources but also fix all your grammar mistakes if you have a draft.

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro

Similar Categories