We've all experienced this moment. The moment someone reduces a complex issue to a single decision.
In detention, it might go like this, "If only the fathers were involved in their kids lives, none of these kids would be here" or in the church it might go like this, "If only we were having larger families, the church might not be shrinking."
Sometimes it is easy to fall prey to the seemingly simple solution.
I recently attended a the 2018 Climate Conference in Ashland, Oregon. There, I learned of many possible solutions to the wicked problem that is climate change. And it is more complex than, "If everyone would recycle" or "If everyone would compost."
We need those things, yes. But we also need cultural shifts that treats our resources as finite and valuable. Heck, even Exxon is now stating that climate change is real. So when do we begin doing something about it? Somehow we need to shift our gaze away from simple and immediate solutions that measures progress on a quarterly P&L and towards the complex interweaving of solutions that is measured, pragmatically, in terms of generations.
And that pretty much is true of everything, it seems. Gone are the days of solving problems with a single change. Present are the days of systemic and cultural changes to systems that are interwoven in such a way that to change juvenile justice, for example, changes how kids are able to be in school. Changes to how kids are in school causes change in future economic systems. Changes to economic systems changes your pension. And so on. Global problems have local impact. It is glocal, if you will. 🙂
Usually, with complex problems, there is a local solution that is easy to implement (a solution in terms of a wicked problem like we are considering is not a final solution but something that makes it better) and more global solutions that take visioning, social change, and adaptability.
For me, I'm participating locally (as in my household) in addressing climate change by eliminating beef from my diet and ensuring we move towards a more plant-based meal. Systemically, I'm going to start educating the youth I work with on climate change and the things they can do and I will vote for green candidates.
My prayer for you today is that you can find one simple solution to a sticky problem and one global solution that you can participate in. And that you will be comfortable living in the ambiguity that there is no actual solution. There are only steps towards making it better.