Systems Thinking

2590 words 11 pages
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
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Though undoubtedly a factor, most researchers recognize that genetic dispositions are unlikely to explain the fast increase in obesity over a short period of time hinting to the fact of many other influences (Crawford, D 2002).
Other studies have revealed links between psychological disorders and obesity such as depression. Obesity was found to increase the risk of depression. Reciprocally, depression was found to be predictive of developing obesity (Luppino, F et al 2010). One symptom of depression for example is the lack of motivation, which makes it easier to gain weight and common symptoms of obesity are a lack of self- esteem and self-worth (Wadden, T and Stunkard, A 1985), which are more likely to trigger depression. Because obesity and depression are entwined it creates a vicious cycle which has an impact which extends the simplistic solution of exercising more and eating less. Social discrimination, exploitation by food industries and medical costs stem from these psychological and physiological influences and therefore a holistic approach is necessary if there is any hope to disentangle the issue.
The people we associate with have a massive effect on our behaviour. Evidence suggests that obesity can spread


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