Not much to add as I am firmly in the "humans will be humans" camp but I am finding your writings interesting, for what it's worth. If for no other reason that you showcase the obvious that most people ignore while they focus on the grandiose, while simultaneously ignoring basic human behavior.
I am also of the humans will human perspective. However, this is usually used to describe the ways humans won't do what I tell them to.
Whereas my perspective is more along the lines of humans will do what they perceive to be in their own interests. I may start by disagreeing with how they perceive their interests, but if I can't replicate their model, who failed?
IOW "they aren't even smart enough to vote in their own interests" is among the most spectacular self admissions of intentional idiocy I have ever heard. Odd how often I hear it, from people who would tell me they are thoughtful...
If I wished to change behavior at scale, it would be by helping people better understand their own interests, using their own terms.
Sometimes this problem is referred to as "herding cats". I propose that if one sees oneself as herding cats, one has set up the wrong relationship between oneself and the cats.
Are you herding cats:
or herding cats:
I wanted to chime in though as I've spent the last 15+ years thinking about and working on these issues.
15 years bumping around in the same hall of mirrors, and you aren't yet convinced the answers you are looking for aren't within your designated search area?
I think the risk is believing one can describe "observable reality" in an example like this. A wicked problem by its very nature is complicated and interconnected. Wicked problems also tend to be in flux. There is merit in looking at individual parts of the problem, but acknowledging and understanding the political, legal, and historical factors that caused the water quality problem in the first place, and that continue to exacerbate the problem, is valuable in addressing that problem IMO.
This is why I was asking what geography or scale you are thinking about this from. The way I think about this depends on what scale or geography one is talking about. Solutions may be contextual as well.
Again, if your framework were sufficient, there wouldn't be a wicked problem.
There are no solutions in the larger scales, or grandiose ideas. My culture loves these frameworks, this fruit has been harvested. But after one has exhausted these options, and sits with that reality long enough, going back to simple systems and looking at how they could have been used in different combinations begins to hint at possibilities outside your previous framework.
So I told a story about poo. So people could look at the problem, the cultural solutions and technical possibilities, and note the differences.
Have you done this? Or are you merely justifying your previous path to yourself?
Perhaps my problem is that I thought we were talking about impacting water quality and ecosystems
Maybe rereading this thread and asking yourself what I am talking about could be helpful?
This thread isn't about answers, it's about questions. Specifically, the questions we aren't asking.