Overemphasis on discrete problems
Failure to focus on fundamental systemic problems
Overemphasis on symptoms of more fundamental problems
Piecemeal approach to problem-solving
Individual problem overemphasis
Oversimplified problem approaches
Instrumental problem solving
Measures to decrease acid rain by improving the fuel efficiency of cars or power plants would also decrease emissions of carbon dioxide and, hence, global warming. On the other hand, attempts to address the same problem by using catalytic converters or equipment to remove sulphur oxides would lead to slightly higher carbon dioxide emissions.
Global climate change, acid rain, and the accumulation of toxins cannot be treated apart from the high rates of use of energy and materials for industrial production and transport associated with Western opulence. Similarly poverty and environmental degradation in the poor countries must be seen as one problem. Poverty cannot be solved without better environmental management and better environmental management cannot be attained without the managers of the land receiving a fair return. Whole systems must be addressed. But our public belief in atomism legitimates the position of those who argue that fixing the parts is sufficient, as well as the position of those who argue that fixing the parts has not been effective in the past and that thus nothing can be done.