A Challenge! – Part 3 – Identifying And Categorising The Problems

If you wish to start at the beginning of this series, go here.


Note: I realised when I started this post that I had already strayed from my original tentative plan and I needed to go back and complete Part 2 by finding where I digressed and correcting that.  That has now been done and I am ready to continue.

The title and focus of this post has changed because I tried to skip some important steps in the process of identifying problems to be categorised prior to focussing directly on possible solutions or at least ideas around them.

This note is then, just a holding place to let readers know what has been going on and that they may need to return to Part 2 to catch up with the changes.  These I think, are mainly to be found in the additional note at the end of the post.

I will remove this explanation eventually and Part 3 actually starts below.

The Basic List of Problem Sources

I am repeating in this post the basic list of problem sources to be considered (Note the new name), as a reference to circumvent the need to continually return to Part 2 to locate it.

The Basic List Of Problem Sources Facing Humanity

  • Climate Change
  • Financial System Instability
  • Growing Debt
  • Population Growth
  • Food Security
  • Water Security
  • Essential Infrastructure Damage
  • Armed Conflict
  • Wealth/Poverty Imbalance
  • Pollution
  • Eco-system Destruction/Degradation
  • Political Instability
  • Resource Depletion

Identifying The Underlying Problems

Never having attempted this task previously, I am unsure just how far this will go or what the results will be.  Perhaps it is even a little, or a lot, audacious of me to even think that I could make a fair fist of the process.

Let’s take just one item from the list and see where that leads us.  Consider Climate Change.

I will start by trying to list the ideas that come to mind when thinking about Climate Change and then we will see if the results can be grouped, re-expressed or whittled down in some way.

  • Unusual periods of Extreme Heat
  • Unusual periods of Extreme Cold
  • Unusual Periods of Drought from Lack of Rainfall (Excluding Water Table Decline)
  • Unusual periods of Flooding from Rainfall
  • Unusual periods of Flooding from Oceanic Inundation
  • More in Number and More Powerful Storm Events

That list is not exhaustive but we will stop there and take stock of what we have found.

These are all problems, yes, but insufficiently defined for us to be able to work with.  We need to take this down at least one more level.  What underlying problems emanate from this list?

  • Infrastructure damage
  • population migration (various levels)
  • food shortages
  • water shortage
  • business losses
  • economic activity curtailed
  • health issues
  • etc., etc.

I begin to get the picture.  Let’s take just one of the issues down another level.  Take Infrastructure damage.  What do we see.

  • Sea wall collapse
  • Traffic chaos
  • Business suspended
  • Loss of income
  • Homes destroyed/damaged
  • Utility services disrupted
  • Food distribution disrupted
  • Contaminated water supply
  • Transport systems disrupted
  • Bridges destroyed
  • Health systems disrupted/overwhelmed
  • Investments devalued
  • and so on, and so on

I think we have followed this pattern for long enough now.  It is obvious that no matter how far we drill down into relevant issues we can still formulate problems that could be further broken down.  This top down approach is not going to work.  At least not for me.

I could go back, pretend to start again and claim that I knew this all along.  I did in a sense because that is also the same reason that my other blogging attempt to do something similar on my Preparations blog bogged down.

So, top down is out.  Would bottom up work?  Maybe, but I suspect only on a personal level, and that is probably how I should have started this, talking about things I know about from experience.  Actions that I have personally taken towards my own resilience or have thought about and placed on a to do list.

Has this all been a waste of time and effort?  Not if I have learned the lesson.  I suspect there are many folk out there trying to find the connection between the high level issues and their own concerns, perhaps still thinking that the problem we need to solve is Climate Change when in reality it is much, much closer to home.  Climate Change will not kill you.  An inability to feed yourself as a result of some breakdown in the food security chain, connected to some climate event but many times removed from it in the links of causality as we have just demonstrated, will.

So, I have come to accept that this plan will not work.  The task is too complex and I feel exhausted by it already.  How could I have thought that such a complex system as we have at great lengths constructed over the last few centuries, be analysed and broken down into identifiable component parts as possible problems to be solved in a disrupted world?  By me at least.  Sorry.

I don’t feel that I have cheated myself in this endeavour so far because I view it as a valuable experience.  An enabling and a clearing experience.  But I hope that I have not disappointed readers too much through taking you along on this circular trip.  I think that much of what has been said anyway is valid.  Feel free to take up that particular challenge for yourself if you have been enthused to do so.  It may just be a mental block in myself that prevents me from completing the process.

So, where to from here now that the original plan has been thrown out?  I am going to continue by revealing how I have personally prepared for some possible situations and I am going to start with something quite simple but effective, in the next post, Part 4.  Hope to see you there.

For Part 4 go here.

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