Wicked Problems: Connecting Personal Health with Our Larger Community


We face so many challenges in our world today! That is why we need to connect the dots between our homes, and the health of our communities.

Many of us don’t make the connection between our health, our homes, and the health of the world at large. Yet sometimes, without us even knowing it, the products in our homes make us sick. Or they impact our safety and comfort.

It all starts with us. Even though it might feel overwhelming, we need to understand that each one of us holds the world in our hands, and it is OUR challenge to take care of it.

I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach, and my co-host and partner in podcasting, Tony Pratte, aka The Green Guy, from The Sound Room, is with me! We are kicking off a new series today called Wicked Problems! Stay tuned for more!

What is a wicked problem?

Wicked problems are social or cultural problems that are difficult or almost impossible to solve. They are deeply complex problems that are broad in scope and large in scale. Most people have a hard time wrapping their heads around wicked problems.

The characteristics of wicked problems

  • They are all unique
  • They have multiple uncertain root causes
  • There is a vast and open-ended source of possible solutions
  • They involve numerous and varied stakeholders
  • They can be improved but never really solved

Solving wicked problems 

All solutions for wicked problems involve large-scale changes in behavior, structure, and technology. Those solutions will probably create new problems and have unintended consequences.

The deal

There are many wicked problems in our world today. We are all about creating better health for people and society. But we understand that that could bring about even more wicked problems.

Super-wicked problems

There is a sub-category of wicked problems called Super-Wicked Problems. They are characterized by time running out, having no decision-maker in charge, and those seeking to solve the problem also causing problems.

Many of the complex problems we face today fit this description. And the tough part is that we all likely contribute to the wicked problems, and we all have the power to be part of the solution.


There are trade-offs for everything we do in our everyday lives.

Personal health

Although there is a lot of emphasis on personal health right now, people don’t understand all the factors that may impact their health. There are also many different stakeholders in personal health, and they all many have competing viewpoints.


We are reaching a point where people are starting to tune out of all the information because they don’t know who to trust.

A disconnected world

I am all about the connectedness we feel inside us because even with all the technology available today, we still live in a disconnected world. A growing number of people are anesthetized today and tend to separate their feelings from whatever is happening in the world around them.


People need to understand that there is a connectedness between the various parts of where we function as humans and our health. Covid has helped with that understanding because it changed our appreciation for our personal space, relationships, and daily routines.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Since the start of the pandemic, survival mode (in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) has become more prevalent in most people’s lives, and health has come to the fore for most of us.

The global economy

Many of our daily habits (like drinking coffee or sending our plastic waste overseas for developing countries to deal with) involve the global economy. During Covid, many things became unobtainable. Since then, we have become more accepting of everything available to us.

Thinking differently about our homes

Spending all our time at home during Covid made us think about our homes differently, and we started noticing things that we were too busy to see before.

Healthier habits

Many of us adopted healthier habits during the lockdown period. We started walking regularly or gardening because we had the time to do so. Doing those things also helped us connect with nature.

Connecting our health to the world health

Knowing how to connect our health to world health could be classified as a wicked problem. A statement made by John Holdren, a Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at Harvard during the Obama administration, helps us put that into perspective. He said we have three choices: mitigation, adaptation, and suffering. We will do some of each, but the question is what the next will be. The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be needed and the less suffering there will be.

Addressing wicked problems

When addressing wicked problems, we need to define what success looks like for that problem. Usually, success becomes improved outcomes, acceptable behavior, and reduced risk.

The common good

There is great value in making the common good equal to our own. We need to understand that everything we buy, or use in our homes and daily lives, has an impact. Changing some of those can be a way of mitigating the health effects on ourselves, our communities, and the planet.

Natural products

No chemicals or synthetic fertilizers are used in the production of organic food. That benefits us, the farmers, and those manufacturing organic or more natural products. Using more natural products in our homes will have a similar benefit for us, those involved in producing the products, and the planet.

Dealing with wicked problems

To succeed when dealing with wicked problems, it helps to start small and get to a place where you have adapted and mitigated, and you are dealing with less suffering. Remember that small wins will breed momentum.

Three ways to get started with dealing with the wicked problem of connecting our health, home, and world:

  1. Swap out two or three products you use every day for better (healthier and more natural/ethical) products.
  2. Only support companies that make products and offer services in line with your values and make concerted efforts to improve the world and people’s lives.
  3. Speak up. Have conversations with people about using healthier products, developing their values, and forming better habits.

Taking action

These are not always easy things to think about, but taking small steps is easy, and that is where it starts! Remember, you don’t have to solve the problem- you only need to make an impact!

Earth Day

Most people, women, in particular, tend to wear many different hats! Having a home that works for you rather than against you can make a critical difference in your day-to-day living.

As women, we play a vital role in connecting the dots between our homes, our health, and the health of those for whom we care. As mothers, we like to stand up for our families, friends, and communities because we want our children, grandchildren, and future generations to have a good, safe, and healthy life.

I’m Marla, the Green Home Coach. Join me on Earth Day for a micro workshop where you will discover the connection between your home, your health, and the health of the larger world! You will have the chance to do a Dream Your Home exercise to uncover how you want your home to feel and perform for everyone living there! We will wrap up with some simple steps to improve your well-being via the connection between your home and your health.

Find us on Facebook Live on the Green Home Coach page at 11 am central time, on Friday, April 22nd, 2022. RSVP on the Green Home page to get your Dream Your Home worksheet! See you there on Earth Day!


Earth Day Webinar (complimentary) https://www.facebook.com/events/723921088968810?acontext=%7B%22event_action_history%22%3A[%7B%22surface%22%3A%22page%22%7D]%7D

EGH Podcast Your Comfort, Health and Safety: Start Where You Live https://greenhomecoach.com/your-comfort-health-and-safety-start-where-you-live/

EGH Podcast Just for the Health of It https://greenhomecoach.com/maintaining-a-healthy-home/


IAQ is the next Big Deal, Shelton Group https://sheltongrp.com/IAQ-Is-the-Next-Big-Deal

Two Things Maslow Can Teach Us About What is Happening Right Now, Shelton Group https://sheltongrp.com/two-things-maslow-can-teach-us-about-whats-happening-right-now/