When you first hear the term wicked problems, it’s easy to imagine something evil. And while dealing with environmental problems, it becomes increasingly easy to define everything that causes damage as evil and difficult. Therefore, the concept of wicked problems becomes even more difficult to comprehend. Wicked problems is a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of the incomplete, contradictory, and changings requirements that are often to recognize. While “wicked” stands for resistance to resolution than “evil,” it still proves itself to include malevolent and malicious factors. The difficultly stands when an effort to solve one wicked problem is met face to face with another wicked problem. Biodiversity loss is one of the greatest examples of a wicked problem because of the large amounts of effort and reconfiguration that is needed to reverse the effects that are causing the biodiversity loss.
The Earth is home to about 9 million species of plants, animals and fungi—proving that biodiversity is an important aspect to our world because it creates the link and connection between all organisms on Earth. It is the web of life that we, as humans, adhere to. Biodiversity loss cannot be readily fixed or changes because of the magnitude that that biodiversity on Earth has been lost. At the beginning of the semester and through reading The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, we acknowledged the alarming rate at which amphibians are going extinct and disappearing from their native lands. We know that amphibians are going extinct because they are particularly sensitive to changes in their environment… changes in temperature due to climate change, garbage in their habitat due to inconsiderate humans, or chemicals seeping into their ecosystems are all examples of how amphibians are immediately affected. While biodiversity loss mostly affects animal, plant, and fungi populations, it also affects humans in ways that are difficult to immediately see. Humans are the cause of biodiversity loss across the world and there has been very little efforts to attempt to change them. As a culture, we take all the resources we can obtain and instantly exploit them… unfortunately, biodiversity loss has been one of the productions due to the exploitation. Once the world runs out of resources, humans will be able to see the ways that the loss of biodiversity affects us. Just as a famous proverb states, “when all the resources on the planet have been diminished, we will realize that we cannot eat money.” Biodiversity loss continues to prove to be a wicked problem because any effort that are taken to reverse the effects, are met by unprecedented difficulties. For example, if we wanted to stop deforestation in the Amazon, we must cut back on the amounts of cattle’s we are raising for meat… leading to a shortage of beef, which leads to angry carnivore consumers. Another example of a wicked problem is a concept that Elizabeth Kolbert also introduced us to, mass extinctions. As we carry on with our lives, we are constantly destroying habitats and ecosystems for many types of species. Even if we attempted to make a massive global change to help the species, their habitats are already destroyed. We would be bringing back extinct animals to no sustainable environment for them to repopulate in. This is a wicked problem and approaching a wicked problems with the means of improving them proves to be even more difficult.
Biodiversity loss proves to be a personal problem for me because we are destroying everything in the world that makes it unique and beautiful. My goal in majoring in environmental science is to work in the conservation field. I don’t want the biodiversity of the Earth to be completely destroyed and past repair once I reach the point of being able to personally do something about it. I believe that if we work as one collective worldwide coalition, we would be able to save the biodiversity of the Earth and manage to keep it sustainable for future generations. Wicked problems in environmental studies is extremely unavoidable, however I hold hope for the future to find ways to change the difficulty behind wicked problems. There are ways we can change the way we approach and view the planet and understanding wicked problems is the first step.