New online course introduces students to the "wicked problems" facing people and the environment

The loss of forests around the world is often cited as a "wicked problem"—a complex issue with no easy solutions. Photo: CIFOR via Flickr
Enroll now to take part in 40 hours of learning about the "ecosystem and systems thinking approach" to understanding changes in the world's oceans, forests and more.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in cooperation with Concordia University in Montreal will launch a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called “Wicked Problems, Dynamic Solutions: The Ecosystem Approach and Systems Thinking.” The course includes 40 hours of learning, introducing students to the basic concepts of the ecosystem and systems thinking approach to understanding human societies and their impacts on the natural world.

“Wicked Problems, Dynamic Solutions” consists of 10 modules, including health, forests, oceans and more. It is geared towards university students, policy-makers, natural resource managers and professionals. The course is free and runs from 12 September to 20 October. Interested students can enroll up to 20 October and can finish the course by 1 December. An advanced certificate option is also available.

To learn more about this course or to enroll, visit the website.

From the course description:

Environmental problems are often described as “wicked problems” to highlight their complexity and the difficulties they entail. Finding answers to current crises such as fisheries collapse, climate change, biodiversity loss, infectious diseases, and inequitable access to resources will be amongst the greatest challenges of our time. The ecosystem approach applies systems thinking to gain a better understanding of how ecosystems function. It can help us identify potential solutions to a myriad of problems inspired in part by the complex dynamics of ecosystems themselves.

Organisers of this MOOC include representatives from Earth System Governance (ESG) and oneHEALTH, global research projects of Future Earth.