Ocean Health as a Wicked Problem
Original story at  John B. Thomas• 5 mentions • 3 weeks ago
John B. Thomas 3 weeks ago
The world’s oceans cover 70 percent of our planet and provide countless benefits to people and societies -- food, jobs, recreation, shipping, tourism, natural resources, and climate regulation in addition to their critical role in cultures, traditions, and well-being for those who live on or near coasts.But there is an emerging consensus that our oceans are in poor and declining health, with implications almost too big to fathom for the billions of people who rely on fish for food and the hundreds of millions directly and indirectly employed in ocean-related industries. This declining health is due to our over-exploitation of these critical resources through overfishing, coastal development, shipping and mining, pollution, and myriad other threats.All together, these challenges amount to a classic wicked problem -- a problem that involves an incredible diversity of people and sectors, with multiple (often competing) views of the problem and potential remedies, and few -- if any -- simple or elegant solutions. Wicked problems are messy, complex, confusing, and contentious, and -- by definition -- span economic, ecological, social, and political systems. Addressing them requires that we take a "bias towards action" and dive head-on into the muck and the mire, embrace complexity and ambiguity, re-frame and model to draw out areas of uncertainty or gaps in knowledge, and identify and negotiate between competing views and objectives across sectors and disciplines.