The Snowball Effect

Coming into Wicked Problem Solving I was unsure of what the course content was going to look like and I am so thankful now for what it is. I have been interested in sustainability for years now and am so thankful to now have a greater outlet for learning and sharing my knowledge and experiences. During week one of the course we discussed the lessons of Easter Island and watched The 11th Hour. The movie spoke to me in many ways and on many levels. I was in agreeance with everything the film said about our society and its separation from nature. Some things that really struck me were how the main cause of global warming is the rise of the human population which man allowed to take place. The carrying capacity for the earth shouldn’t be more than the sun’s energy alone can provide but man discovered ways to turn fossil fuels into energy all day and night long. These are the same fuels that sat beneath Easter Island thousands of years ago without anyone ever knowing. Man has pushed the carrying capacity above the bounds of nature and in turn nature is paying the price of our actions. We as a whole need to come back to the knowledge that we are not separated from the earth; rather we are a direct response to her.


The lessons of Easter Island are not old issues. In fact, we are experiencing all of these issues today at a more accelerated rate. I am genuinely afraid of what is to come for our and future generations if we cannot find a solution to these wicked problems. The main issue is that in my opinion, all of our issues boil down to carrying capacity. Man changed our population using fossil fuels are an alternative source of energy to the sun and in turn we have created a need for more food which requires more land which means clearing trees to grow food which leads to deforestation which leads to a loss of habitat, which leads to high levels of extinction. Therefore, you can see how one single issue leads to a million others which in turn classifies them all as wicked problems. I cannot wait to see what I am able to learn in this course and hopefully use my knowledge to make a greater impact in my future career.


By: Lauren Hammes

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