I am looking for an adjective to use in the following context:
I was pondering on ways of addressing society's most ______ issues.
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I was pondering on ways of addressing society's most challenging issues.
(Toughest instead of most challenging also works.)
Another term that may fit what you are looking for is "wicked," as in "wicked problems," a term largely attributed to Rittel & Webber's 1973 paper "Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning." The term recently got a bunch of press coverage from its appearance in a Science article contemplating how to solve such problems with large crowds of people.
1: Rittel, H. W. J., & Webber, M. M. (1973). Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning. Policy Sciences, 4, 155–169. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01405730#page-1
"Pressing" would equate to "most urgent" (as in pressed for time)
"Toughest" already works well but I guess to expand you have to know on what basis they are the toughest.
"challenging" = difficult to solve "prevalent" = widespread "distressing", "damaging", "worrying"
It really depends on the context you want to infer. Perhaps you need to start by defining what the most xxx problems are, then you can search out an adjective for them.