System thinking is an approach which is very essential in order to deal with the issues of sustainability (Haines, 2016). System thinking is essential to deal with the issues of sustainability because it looks into the matter of concern from a large than the small picture. The concept of system thinking can be defined as an inter-disciplinary outline which is used for visualizing the interrelationship to see several patterns of change than a static photograph. System thinking is one of the old concepts, but still, it is very useful in dealing with the issues of sustainability (Glasson and Gibbons, 2015). It is considered as a new way of thinking for managing as well as understanding the complex and difficult issues at the global or local level. The approach of system thinking provides a provision in order to leverage administration of complex issues compared to other approaches. It also enables to look the entire picture and understand the wider context of the issues.
System thinking plays an important role in dealing with the wicked problem. In this paper, the selected wicked problem is Household Food Waste. It is also one of the major concerns and sustainable issues in front of the world. Only in Australia more than 4 million tonnes of food is sent by Australians to landfill each year. It is worth $8 billion long-life product, packaged products, fresh food, frozen food, and drinks (Reynolds et al., 2014). It has been estimated that more than 40% of the bin of average household is food. It states that an average household of Australia throws away $1000 worth of food every year. This food is more than enough to feed over a month to an average household. Therefore, household food waste is a serious issue which should be dealt effectively in order to pave the way for sustainability (Graham et al., 2014).
The aim of the study is to highlight the household food waste in the context of Australia and analyze the effectiveness of system thinking approach in order to deal with the wicked problem that is household food waste. The purpose of the study is to analyze the role of system thinking in the context of sustainability issues that are household food waste.
This study will cover the concept of system thinking in detail as well as the significance of the system thinking approach will be discussed. After that, the study will put light on household food waste in the context of Australia. Further, the role of system thinking approach will be analyzed in order to determine whether system thinking approach is critical in developing a solution to sustainability challenges(household food waste) or not. The essay will be concluded with a relevant conclusion which will present some of the findings of the study.
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System Thinking Approach
It has been assumed that the approach of system thinking is very fanatic, “characterizing a vital political view of the business problem. The legitimacy of system thinking in management education, as well as boardroom of the organization, is being threatened due to the lack of real solution and its reliance on the model.
The significance of System Thinking
Household food waste in Australia
It has been estimated that in Australia the total cost of food waste is $20 billion and more than 50 percent of the total food waste come from the household. Wasting of food as mentioned above is a serious concern and one of the major problems of sustainability (Porpino, 2016). To ensure sustainable development in term of food, we must control the wastage of food. The government of Australia along with the people of Australia should care for food protection and initiate some measures to control the wastage of household food.
The role of System Thinking in the protection of household food waste
System thinking might play an effective role in protecting the household food waste. As per the approach of system thinking, there are two significant factors which are required to deal with the wicked problem that is household food waste such as developing significant system resilience as well as rethinking leadership (Roychoudhury et al., 2017). These two factors are needed to be developed to make it suitable for dealing with the complexity of the wicked problem of household food waste. System thinking emphasizes the cause and effect relationship. It also analyzes the dependency of the cause and effect factors on each other. The approach of system thinking helps in gaining in-depth knowledge of the problem and provides a solution to the issues of sustainability.
Sustainable development attempts to get together the three components (environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, and social sustainability) of the sustainable development in balance. But two of the three components of the sustainable development has been given priority such as the economy as well as environment. The selected wicked problem of household food waste comes under both the components (economy and environment) of the sustainable development (Charles et al., 2017). Economic sustainability refers to the capacity and ability to support a well-defined level of the production of goods and service indefinitely. Sustainability means utilizing the existing resources (renewable and non-renewable) in such a way that the coming generation can also exploit those resources. On the other hand, environmental sustainability is the capability of maintaining the rate of harvesting the renewable resources, the creation of pollution, and depletion of non-renewable resources which can be continued forever.
System thinking helps in finding the main causes of the wicked problem as well as identifying the factors which lead to the wicked problem. Therefore, with the help of system thinking the factors which lead to the wicked problem of household food waste can be identified (Eilam and Reisfeld, 2017). The approach of system thinking also enables us to develop or establish a relationship between the problem of household food waste and human being. It also states the consequences of wasting the food in such an extensive amount. By doing so, it develops critical thinking in order to develop an effective solution to deal with the wicked problem or sustainability challenges.
The major focus of the system thinking is exclusive understanding of the wicked problem and aid in a problem-solving approach to the complex problem of the real world. If we focus on the problem, we can develop short-term solution easily. With the help of system thinking approach, several measures can be developed to control the household food waste. Although it is difficult to formulate legislation on an international level but at the national level legislation can be formulated in order to control the household food waste. For example, the government of Australia can come up with the legislation that a family with n number of population can buy only a certain amount of food in a month to control the waste of food (Oswald, 2016). Apart from this, the government can also direct the local bodies to monitor the dumping of waste food and analyze the pattern of the consumption of food so that appropriate measures can be taken to control the wastage of food. Therefore, it can be said that up to a great extent I do agree with the statement that "systems thinking is critical in developing a solution to sustainability challenges."
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