A wicked challenge is a specific kind of challenge, in which there is no clearly separable origination and no singular, definable solution to the challenge. For instance, the problems that our changing climate puts upon us are unlike any we’ve encountered in modern history. There are numerous reasons for why we are at this point in our history, and in the history of the Earth. And, there are creative and generative solutions for responding to this challenge. But we are on untraveled terrain, and all former maps are only beginning to chart our future course.
Never before have we been faced with the need to address an existential threat in such a quick and deliberate fashion, that much is true. Because of our collective lack of experience and wisdom, and because the need to address the wellbeing of the Earth is so dire and immediate, we refer to this moment as a global wicked challenge.
- Integration USAID
- Only 11 Years Left to Prevent Irreversible Damage from Climate Change, Speakers Warn during General Assembly High-Level Meeting United Nations
- Social cost of carbon: why climate change is a global injustice Vox
- A Wicked Problem: Controlling Global Climate Change World Bank
- The New York Times and the super-wicked problem of climate change Grist
- Wicked solutions for wicked problems United Nations Development Programme
- Climate change as a ‘wicked problem’ European Union Institute for Security Studies
- Climate change: a wicked problem RootEd Education
1. Why is solving the climate crisis such a complex challenge?
2. Names two or three pieces of evidence in your estimation that tells you people are capable of solving wicked challenges?
3. Sum It Up (15 Minutes)
Comb through one article from this section and identify what you see to be the biggest challenges associated with solving the climate crisis. Afterward, take five minutes to write down your thoughts. When you are finished, find a partner who focused on a different article than you, and swap thoughts. What did you learn from one another?