Mindfulness Practice and Its Effects on the Environment and Me

Mindfulness is a practice that I have never practiced before or even thought of doing before I started this course. Since beginning this course I have learned so much about mindfulness and the effects that it can have on our bodies and minds. Throughout the past couple of years, I have struggled with anxiety and stress. I have heard of meditation helping with anxiety, but I had never thought of doing it myself. Since we have started this class and mindfulness practice it has helped calmed my anxiety. Learning about how mindfulness can help me has made me focus on my anxiety, where it stems from, and how I can calm myself.

Emotionally, I am more in tune with my emotions now that I have become more aware of them. The mindfulness practice in this course has made me focus on what effects my emotions and how to manage them. Also, throughout this course so far, I have learned so much about wicked problems that I didn’t know existed before. It has been so interesting and devastating to learn about these problems in the world. For me to understand a wicked problem I need to read about it and analyze the effects that it is having on the environment and even my life. Wicked problems are wicked for a reason, they are hard to solve and to understand completely. To help stop wicked problems from being so wicked we need to start making everyone aware of them and the terrible effects they have on out environment

Coming into this class I had no idea what a wicked problem was. I didn’t even think to look it up before the first day of class. On the first day when we learned what a wicked problem was, through discussing the term with our classmates, I realized that I had heard and learned about many wicked problems before. I have always known to recycle and try to conserve energy. I also knew that the fashion industry produced a lot of waste, I just wasn’t aware of how much it affects me and the environment. I was never surrounded by an environment that particularly really concerned with recycling, we would recycle but never discuss why we do it and the effects it has on the environment.

             After the first day of class and watching the documentary, I became very aware of how much damage and harm we have put on environment. In some of my other classes we discuss how much waste the fashion industry produces. This got me thinking of everywhere I have purchased my clothes from and where I will purchase my clothes from now on. I didn’t realize how many items from brands that I owned and how much harm that probably caused the environment. Since watching that documentary I have been trying to be very cautious of what I do with my trash, and I have been trying to recycle. Also, I have noticed a lot of signs around campus that tell us where the recycling dumpsters are and what and how to recycle. Especially in the Nancy Randolph building in the Planet Orange Café there are many signs to tell you where to recycle and what to recycle, along with trash cans and places to recycle. Seeing all the constant reminders has helped me be more cautious about recycling. This has implemented good new habits for me to start. Learning about how much waste is produced through the fashion industry by reading articles and through the lectures by some of my teachers during class. I didn’t realize exactly how much waste was being produced each year. It made me start thinking about the items I own, where they came from, and even how much waste was produced from that item and brand. I’ve noticed myself thinking about all the damage I have probably caused the environment. Doing these research projects, doing thru assignments, and taking the classes has helped me realize a lot of the wicked problems in the world and has taught me some ways that I can help contribute to reducing waste. Holding myself accountable has also impacted my life recently too. Making sure that I am recycling and disposing of things properly has changed what I do in a day since I have moved to college. I have started to be more aware of what is happening and how what I do affects the environment. I joined the sustainability club in my sorority at the beginning of the semester. We have been trying to cut down on the waste throughout the Theta house. We have committees that oversee different things. For example, we have a recycling committee that oversees taking out the multiple recycling bins we have in the house. We have a light committee that oversees turning off all the lights at night in the bathrooms and hallways. We also have a towel committee which oversees washing the hand towels in the bathrooms and replacing the paper towels in the bathroom with the cloth towels. Having these committees and the Theta goes green club we are trying to make Theta more sustainable because we have noticed how much waste has been produced just inside the house. Seeing how many girls want to participate in making Theta mor sustainable encourages me even more to want to work hard and recognize how much waste is being produced and what I can do to help eliminate the amount of waste we have produced. With Theta putting in the effort to cut down on waste and make Theta more sustainable, maybe other houses will see this and start making their houses more sustainable too. This would really help the Oklahoma State campus cut down on a lot of the waste that the campus produces. Walking around campus I have noticed all the posters and people talking about the importance of making Oklahoma State more sustainable. Having the constant reminders has helped me with remerging to recycle and remembering to conserve energy and just to take care of our environment. I have learned that if we don’t act now on taking care of our environment things could end up badly. Our environment will not be ideal for us to live in, and we will be struggling to maintain the environment. Working towards making my environment is important because I don’t want our future to be about fighting for the wellbeing of our environment, even though we most likely will be. Making the problem known to everyone needs to be a top priority. If everyone was required to take a class about sustainability and what reducing waste does to benefit our environment, I think everyone will be more willing to figure out ways to help our environment more effectively and efficiently. For example, before taking this class I was aware of the problems I just wasn’t aware of how much damage we do to our environment daily. So, if everyone were to take a class over sustainability and wicked problems, a lot more people would be more concerned about the environment and willing to do anything to help make the environment better.

            Learning about all the effects that we have on the environment has affected the way that I reacting to situations and has also affected daily tasks that I do. I have felt recently that I want to do more for the environment and start taking better care of the environment around me and make it a better living space. Knowing that what I do affects the environment makes me want to take better care of the environment that I live in.

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Where Did We Turn Left

In reflecting how far I have made it to my goal for this course thus far, I have decided that I have grown quite a bit. This course is structured in a way that I feel as though I know what is coming each class and it has made learning significantly easier for me. I understand exactly what my professor is expecting out of me, and I can confidently say I come out of every class with another step towards my goal made. With the readings, pre-discussion questions, discussions, and lectures I learn something new every class. What I learn always consists of not only new information but also new ways of looking at the world/problems that our world faces. This has positively impacted my learning in ways I didn’t think it would at the beginning of the semester. My major is architectural engineering construction project management, during both lecture and discussion I have found myself thinking of solutions I have seen or think of that can be applied to my field of study. This shows growth that has occurred within me because I am no longer thinking of things that are considered “normal” solution within my field, but I now think of solutions that may work better. This is because during class I have listened to other people thoughts/concerns and applied them to my own way of thinking to come up with solutions that benefit not only the problems I’ve thought of but also problems that concern others. Being exposed to other problems that in the back of my head I knew existed but never really spent time thinking about has also fostered growth. I’ve been given a setting specifically set aside for thinking about problems that exist in our world, what my opinions on those problems are, what ways can those problems be solved, how do those problems affect others’ lives, and how likely are those problems to be the reason the world ends. 

It’s important to learn what exists in our world only to destroy so that as we continue through future generations such things can be avoided. This is much easier said than done. Our generation has adapted a way of living that makes life less complicated and a lot of fun, however its overly detrimental to our environment. One might argue that if we go back to the way our ancestors lived, we will be fine. To be quite honest that’s what I would’ve argued before this course. Now that I’ve been in the course for a minute and have heard others’ point of views, I’ve learned there’s too many different problems that need solving to have such a simple answer.

In reflection I’ve also learned that while we can suggest changes healthy for our environment all we want unless society deems it popular it won’t be implemented on a large scale. As an architectural engineer, problems that I am going to face in my field regarding sustainability will sound like too much demolition waste, not enough building supplies to keep our country building in the future, costs of materials rising due to demand, family’s incapable of huffing the bill for construction of their new home, customers wanting to use the most environmentally detrimental materials for their building projects, etc. These are all issues with surely many solutions however, how many of them will be implemented on a large scale? Will smaller architectural engineers be able to slowly implement better material usage and the rest of the world eventually catch on? Will society turn to more earth-friendly materials on its own? All of these are questions are extremely pressing yet have no definitive answer. This course has made me question which direction the future of architecture and construction should go versus the way it is seeming like it is going to go. How did we get to a place where we pick development over protection of our home? When did we take the turn from taking care of our environment to making sure we are making the maximum amount of money out of the biggest building possible at the expense of land? Not only at the expense of land but also at the expense of naturally made materials and habitats for animals necessary to our ecosystems. How will we continue when every inch of our country is covered in buildings? Answers to these questions look like reusing buildings, recycling demolition materials, setting aside land that can’t be built on, slowing production of detrimental materials, replanting what is taken out of the ground, etc. However, not everyone is on board with these changes. As a matter of fact, most people aren’t on board with these changes. For those not on board with these changes they will continue on with the methods currently in place and depending on numbers the architectural and construction world will not change. 

The problem lies in the fact that people like “new and shiny” not “old and loved”. New and shiny does not involve recycled materials, or repurposed buildings, or land prohibited from having buildings on it. New and shiny is where we went wrong. New and shiny is what has caused the influx of old buildings coming down and a new one going right back up in its place. New and shiny is what has been destroying our land, taking away habitats for animals, making the cost-of-living rise, making the cost of materials rise, etc.

That was a little insight to what this course has given me the ability to realize about the field I am studying. I still have a way to go regarding ways to implement positive change within my field however, I’ve made a strong first step. From here my knowledge of wicked problems can only increase and the solutions to these problems are endless. The important thing is finding which one society will accept and sticking to it for the betterment of our earth. My hope is that someday I will be able to say what I am doing is not detrimental to the earth.

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The Consciousness of Mindfulness

The Consciousness of Mindfulness

Pondering upon the wonders of this awesome universe that was created millions or thousands of years ago, depending on the belief system; and its ability to have sustained itself and living forms for such period of time, isn’t it obvious that sustainability has been coded into the innate nature of the various ecosystems within the earth’s biosphere and even other planetary forms. According to the Oxford dictionary, one definition of sustainability is defined as “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.” Looking at this definition from the other way around, ecological balance cannot be achieved if natural resource depletion is not avoided. Thus far, this is evident in the current state of the earth with more and more depleted natural resources coupled with various forms of pollution and human activities causing imbalance in the earth’s biosphere. This leads me to the question: why are natural resources depleting if it is designed to be sustainable? Two paradigms  that recently followed my train of curiosity have to do with resource usage and the increasing population of humans. What if it is true that our desire for more, better, advanced, and never satisfied, have exceeded the rate at which the earth is designed to safely provide? Could the progressively increasing human population be catalyzing the rate of natural resource depletion? How about the lifestyle of abundance that has  infected most countries and cultures of the modern age and developed countries.

 I am really of the belief that we are using up  the earth’s natural resources at a rate that is not designed to be balanced with nature’s demands. Do we really need all of these things we keep developing and constantly changing to fulfill an insatiable desire at the risk of the health of the planet earth. Our push for more products and material goods is significantly hurting the planet earth and its sustainable capabilities. At this point, man is just finding ways to cope with the damage we have created and it seems that some of the solutions we are using to combat some of the problems we have created, are creating new problems. We have not come to a point of seriously deciding to halt some of our damaging activities so as to save the planet, yet we continue with resource depletion, aquatic pollution, land and air pollution, ozone depleting activities, abundant production of material goods, depletion of forestry, and etc. If the rate of these damaging activities continues at the rate that they presently are, we should forget about the strategies we think we could come up with to create ecological  balance, because such strategies will be overwhelmed by the continued disruptive activities.                   

The second paradigm which has to do with the population of the world is concerning such that, it makes me wonder if our awesome earth is strong enough to fully provide for the needs of the massive population. My honest answer to this thought process is that I believe that the earth is able to cater to the needs of the massive population, given conditions are more supportive of the earths’ proper functionality. It will be baffling to think that the earth’s processes will do well in catering for the increasing population while coping with the daily damaging threats to its functionality. 

It is the responsibility of everyone starting from the world leaders to the citizens to take our place in caring for and protecting our immediate environment. If everyone can just zoom in to their own immediate home practices and community, thoughtfully think of how we can do minor day-to-day things differently, then will be encouraged and feel empowered to make bigger differences in our homes and communities, and other communities in the long run. The question is, how do we start to bring about this change when we are not consciously thinking about this problem or that it is a problem? Change begins when a problem is identified. So, I personally have to realize that there is a problem in some of my daily practices that is leading to damage to the earth, destroying ecosystems, and causing a shift in ecological balance. It starts with one person taking that conscious effort to care enough to think about what he or she can do differently so as to contribute to larger efforts. 

Personally, I have noticed that I tend to make rash anxiety-driven decisions when I do not stop to process what I am doing first. On the other hand, better decisions are made during the times that I actually think about my actions, giving my brain the opportunity to process its thoughts rationally and/or critically. On a few occasions that I have practiced yoga and meditation, it has been my observation that I am able to think more clearly and actually have control of my actions instead of anxiety ruling my decisions. And so, with this in mind last week in class when our instructor talked about the possibility of mindful meditation helping in solving wicked problems, I later found myself concurring to giving meditation a chance in this area, as I plan to be proactive in solving identified wicked problems in my field of practice. One of my motivating factors is my heartfelt pity for future generations and the issues they will have to face if  drastic changes are not made to protect the earth systems and to bring balance. Sometimes, this makes me wonder if future generations will be able to live on this planet or if there will be provisions made for humans and other living forms on earth to find a new home in a different plant conducive for living. I wish I knew the answer and solutions to all of these problems; but with what I know, I feel empowered to take actions in my sphere of influence  and to spread the word about existing dangers to the planet earth and the need for immediate action on every level.                                                                                                                                                                                     

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A compassionate approach to the wicked problems within our wicked world.

I would never have imagined that I would gain this much compassion and humility through a design course. When choosing my major, interior design, I never took into consideration the wicked problems that stood behind it. In this course, I have gained a great amount of knowledge about the wicked problems that we face in this wicked world. To be sustainable in the field of design means you have to take a compassionate approach at dealing with every material and resource that is used. Through the knowledge I have gained as well as my intake on mindfulness practice, my eyes have opened to the importance of being in touch with oneself. To be in touch with your mind and body is also to be in touch with your surroundings. This has helped me utterly understand how important the bigger issues of this world are.  

I had never heard of a wicked problem until I was introduced to it in this course. A wicked problem is a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve. Wicked problems can be shown in this world through various social and cultural issues, including many climatic challenges, and even challenges that have been brought on by the design field. In this course, we have learned what is beyond the surface of design. We learn how to become more compassionate within the resources and materials we use, making more sustainable decisions. Solving a wicked problem requires a deep understanding of the subject involved. We are introduced to innovative ways to approach the problem in a way that exemplifies humility and compassion. Before taking this course, I was completely oblivious, and I had no understanding of a wicked problem and what it means. Now that I have learned about the topic and the issues within it, I am able to approach the usage of things within my field. To ensure I will make the most compassionate approach, I will remain humble and calm. 

Sustainability generally refers to the earths biosphere, and human civilization co-existing. To be sustainable is to play your part in ensuring the earth is put first. In order to understand the importance of sustainability, you must look at it with a humble approach. I have learned to be humble when making decisions. In this course I have gained knowledge on what it means to be humble and what it means to be sustainable.  

 Global warming is a topic that I gained a great amount of insight on the first week of class through a movie titled “the 11th hour” starring Leonardo Dicaprio. This movie explained how global warming is destroying our environment at an extremely fast rate. Global warming is a wicked problem, due to the difficulty of the issue being resolved. Without the compassion I have gained, I would not be able to realize how my everyday life plays a big part in our world. I now know that every factor in design needs to be approached in the most sustainable way possible.  

Through mindfulness practice, I have become more in touch with my mind and body. Practicing mindfulness can be done in many ways. I have been able to practice mindfulness through meditation, helping me to be intensely aware of what I am sensing and feeling in the moment. In this course, we begin each class with meditation. Since being introduced to the practice of mindfulness, I have become humbler and more compassionate. Within my field, approaching things in a humble and compassionate way is important to sustainability. In interior design, many materials can be considered unsustainable. This makes it hard to be sustainable while also being in the field of design due to the multiple varied materials that are needed within the field.  

Not only does mindfulness practice help me better understand the importance of compassion and humility within my field but it has also helped me to be more in tune with myself. Practicing mindfulness meditation helps me to be calm, removing all toxic thoughts from my head. My favorite practice of meditation I have learned since practicing mindfulness is called “deep belly breathing”. When practicing deep belly breathing, your heart rate slows down, and your blood pressure lowers. For myself, this practice is most beneficial at night before falling asleep. It helps me to reflect on my day and let go of all negative energy. Staying calm is important when approaching many decisions in life, even outside of wicked problems. Being calm helps you to react in a humble and compassionate way. Rather than making an impulse decision, staying calm allows you to take the time and think of all possible outcomes, so that decision will be more thoughtful. It is proven that mindfulness practice at least once a day can relax the body and mind and reduce stress, so I will continue to do so as I keep seeing the results that I am. I would encourage everyone to incorporate mindfulness into their everyday life to reduce stress and to live a happier lifestyle.  

Through the last five weeks in this course, I have learned to be more compassionate, humble, and intellectual. Not only in my everyday life, but in my practice as well. I have learned to remain calm when approaching problems, and wicked problems at most. Through practices like mindfulness meditation, I have been more in touch with my mind, body, and heart. This led me to be more intellectual, emotional, and somatically in touch, which are all traits I need to be able to fully understand the compassion and humility that should go into every thought when dealing with something like a wicked problem. This course has introduced me to many things I hadn’t known before, including the practice of mindfulness meditation that I now use in my everyday life. I have developed a different mindset when looking at materialistic things, thinking “how could this effect my environment?”. Not only have I learned about how to become humbler and more compassionate through this course, but many things beyond that as well.   

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You Can Change the World

  1. Six weeks ago, I heard the words “wicked problem” for the first time in my entire life. I was extremely confused as to why I was in the class because I am a fashion major. In fact, I remember talking to my family and questioning if my schedule was incorrect. On the first day, I went into the class not knowing what to expect and at the end of the 90 minutes I was taken back by the information I learned. Only a few minutes into class I quickly learned that a wicked problem is an issue, usually social or cultural, that is nearly impossible to solve due to changing and contradictory requirements. These problems are so difficult to solve because people have different views and ideas on how to resolve them, and there isn’t one correct solution. On the first day of class, we watched a documentary called the 11th hour. In this movie, they talked about the damage human beings are causing on the earth and how it will affect our lives in the future. This was a major shock to me. I knew sustainability was an issue, but not to this degree. After seeing this film I was automatically intrigued and my curiosity was sparked in environmental sciences. I had no idea that pollution, greenhouse gases, waste, etc. was affecting our home to this extent. As I began to fully get a grasp of the wicked problems presented in this world, fear grew in me. Especially after reading the Easter Island assignment. It was a moment of deja vu for me. The islanders were taking advantage of the land by overworking the soil, cutting down all the trees, and not working together to try and find a solution. This sounded eerily similar to the current situation in our society, only ours is on a larger scale. We are exploiting materials, polluting the air and oceans, and killing essential species that keep this earth alive. After reading the article I realized that if we don’t do anything about these issues we will create our own demise. Because of this I was questioning my future and if I still wanted to pursue fashion design. So much so that when I got back to my dorm room I thought about the 11th hour and contemplated changing my major to environmental sciences. My thought was someone has to try and change the world, so why not me. When I started using mindful practices, my anxiety started to go away. I accepted and acknowledged that the issues in this world are here but not irreversible. If we could get the majority of society to realize what is going on, we could definitely change the world and our fate. 
  2. The truth is, there are many solutions to solve the wicked problems we are facing. The only problem is getting the majority of society on board with them. There is no formula or step by step solution to these problems but there are some things that help. The first tool to help solve a wicked problem is to broaden your views. Instead of only believing in your opinion, being humble and opening your mind to other options is a great way to find a solution. This tactic is helpful because others can provide great solutions that may not be obvious to you, but accepting and analyzing any potential fix is a major factor to solving a wicked problem. The next tool to use is research. Fully educating yourself on the wicked problem is key to thinking of creative but reasonable solutions. Without immense knowledge of a concept, it could potentially lead to irrational solutions or could cause even more problems later down the road. Another tool to use when trying to solve a wicked problem is to never give up. What makes a problem wicked is that there isn’t a way of knowing a solution will work. When dealing with difficult issues it is almost a guarantee that your first thought will not solve the problem. This can be very upsetting and cause someone to feel defeated. Instead of looking at it like this, see the positive: you are one step closer to knowing what will work. When it comes to resolving a wicked problem any feedback, positive or negative, is helpful so don’t let one failure derail your drive for a solution. Finally, the last tool is to believe in yourself. Everyone has their own creative ways to solve problems and each solution needs to be heard. Just because you don’t have a PhD in something doesn’t mean your opinion is irrelevant. Every single person is capable of thinking of a solution and who knows, yours could be the one that works. 

Once I utilized these tools to my advantage and realized that I have the capability to make a change, I began thinking about some solutions to these wicked problems. For example, a major issue we are facing is waste in the oceans and landfills. If I started to recycle everything that I can, use my car less, and only use a refillable water bottle it would decrease my ecological footprint a great deal. Although this may seem miniscule and wouldn’t have a huge impact on the world, it may lead more people to do the same thing and this chain reaction effect could potentially make the difference we need. I am very grateful that I was put in this class. It not only challenges me to think in a creative way but it helped me discover something I am passionate about. I realized I might want to change my major or do something different in the fashion world, like finding new ways to recycle fabrics. We only have one earth and it is our duty to fix the damage we have caused. These wicked problems won’t go away on their own and definitely not anytime soon but if we collaboratively work together to make small differences, a big change will come.  

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An Open Mind and a Hurting Heart

My initial reaction to a class with the words “Wicked Problems” in the title was not positive to say the least. It was a class required of me to take for my desired career path, therefore, it was something that I was just going to have to go to and get through. After the first day of class I was a little worried that the class would be slightly political and could potentially become an uncomfortable environment that I would have to endure for the next seven weeks following. I was afraid that they would be a long seven weeks of early mornings, argumentative conversations, and people having differing opinions on a variety of possibly important topics, but definitely not anything that would directly affect me personally. Right?

Wrong. I am here to say that I am just over halfway through this class and it has already been proven that I was incorrect on several levels to have had my negative initial assumption. For weeks after that first day and my worldly knowledge on a variety of topics has expanded beyond what I could have even thought would be possible. There have been no awkward overly political debates. Instead, it has been a class with a very friendly and inviting space filled with open and honest conversations on very important topics that actually could affect me or my future family much sooner than later.

This class has challenged me to break past judgement and assumptions and to just open my mind to the possibility of new and different concepts. I have learned how to be open minded towards new ideas and concepts. For example, over the last couple of class periods we have been encouraged to try different techniques of mindful meditation. Now I’m the kind of person who has never even considered meditation and would be the last person to actually try it, or frankly anything of that sort because I did not understand how diverse meditation was. I had never really heard of meditation with the concept of mindfulness attached to it before this class. I thought meditation was sitting criss cross applesauce on the floor and saying “oouuummmm” repeatedly like you might see in movies. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that, but it was definitely not my type of thing. After being informed on the concept of mindful meditation and hearing about the possible benefits to just taking a small portion of time to slow down and sit in silence with your thoughts for ten minutes or so I was intrigued. After being encouraged to give it a shot, I realized how peaceful and relaxing it was. I am a major busy body and getting myself to sit still and slow my thoughts was a major challenge at first especially with my self-diagnosed ADHD and early morning caffeine jitters, combined with nervousness induced by my sometimes crippling social anxiety, but once I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing those little worries slipped away for the time being. I had an open and clear mind before starting the discussion about each day’s topic of concern, and was just more relaxed than before.

I truly believe that starting the class period off in this way helped me to put my little personal “problems” aside and really focus on engaging in conversations about the true “wicked” problems at hand. I never would have thought that I would have actually tried to participate in meditation, much less actually enjoy it and realize the potential in mandating it in my everyday life. I guess that is a perfect example of why you should always have an open mind towards things that you don’t completely understand. Lesson learned.

 I think that this idea of having an open mind is perfect for exploring subjects like sustainability. Sustainability is something that I have been hearing a lot about within the last couple years. I figured yes it was probably important to be better about the way we as humans are living and consuming, but I had no clue it would be as big of a deal to me as it feels now. This class has showed me how much bigger of a problem we are facing and how important it is to make it a  priority to take a look at what we could all do better in regards to sustainability.

My heart physically hurts sometimes when I leave class after a long discussion about one of the wicked problems we are facing in our world today. Hearing about how poorly we are treating our beautiful planet and how little action we are taking to help change our ways makes me sick. I am also confused over how little these huge issues are talked about. I feel like it is not public knowledge the rate at which we are spiraling downward. It blows my mind that so few people know how bad off we are, much less those who care enough to change their self-fulfilling habits. That is another thing I have noticed in this class is us as humans are so insanely consumer based it is ridiculous. We want and want and buy and buy and still are a part of a generation that lacks fulfillment and continue to want the new, bigger, and “better” shiny thing that hits the stores, and will do whatever we can to get our hands on it. This idea makes me so sad because it is no way to live life, definitely not at the expense of our planet.

I truly believe that we as a society have a lot of work to do. I do not know if we will be able to reverse the extreme amount of damage done, but I do know it doesn’t hurt to put forth effort and start small. I know I, myself want to start doing even more research to see ways that I can start changing my habits and truly try to do better. I also want to take the information that I have learned and tell other people and encourage others to take part in changing their ways for the better, because if others are willing to have an open mind and hear me out then I feel there is no way they won’t also feel saddened and hurt to know where we are headed.

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So Many Ways to Be Wicked

While I was still in high school, I knew I wanted to go to college I just didn’t know what I would major in. My first thought was Nursing since I’m already a CNA, Phlebotomist, and a medical assistant. While I was working at a nursing home, I just realized that I wouldn’t want to be in healthcare my whole life. Sure, it was an interesting job I just wanted to do something different. So, I went online and seen what OSU had to offer and that when I seen fashion so I decided to try it out

 When I first arrived at college, I had no idea what I wanted to major in, nor did I have a clue on what a wicked problem was. I decided to go with fashion because I am interested in what the major holds and the opportunities I would receive. When I got my schedule, everything seemed good like all the classes seemed normal except for “Wicked Problem of Industrial practice” I had no clue on what this meant or what would take place in this class. I just assumed it was just a fancy name for a basic fashion class I didn’t google what a wicked problem was I just decided to wait and see. The first day of class I still had no clue what a wicked problem was. We watched a video that day and it was over the negative impacts we have on our environment. After I watched the video I kind of understood what a wicked problem was nut I still wasn’t quite sure. When we got our first reading assignment over “Easter Island” that’s when I figured out what a wicked problem was. The reading assignment was over how the people who first arrived on the Easter Island started to overuse the resources on the environment until the eventually ran out and they soon all died out. That is what’s going to happen to us if we don’t hurry and try to help the earth while we can.

 A wicked problem is the negative impacts that different industries have on the environment such as wasting resources, plastic, deforestation, polluting, and chemical spills and honestly the list can go on. Its possible for you to even participate in a wicked problem without you even knowing. I was doing some wicked problems without even knowing it such as shopping from websites such as Shein, Boohooman, and Romwe these sites have a dark background sure you might just look at it as a cheap way to get trendy products. These sites have a background of sweatshops a sweatshop is a place where people are forced to work under harsh conditions with little pay such as 3.25 an hour. These people still must work in these harsh conditions even during the pandemic. When we were assigned to do our group project, I was kind of nervous honestly because all my teammates knew what a wicked problem was, I only had a little of an understanding. During this project I read a lot of articles about wicked problems. Its honestly so sad on how many wicked problems are going on without most of the consumers not even knowing that they are buying from businesses, shops and other industries that are harming the environment. After college I hope to build a platform for myself to help with these wicked problems. I want to give all the help I possibly can to help with the environment. The condition our earth is in right now is honestly scary. We all should do our part by not buying from the industries that our harming the environment. We also should stop over shopping the more that we over shop the product that will be made. Some of the things I change about my way of living is that I got ride of some of the clothes I haven’t worn in a year by donating them to a nursing home that I worked at I even started recycling more. I also stop shopping from business that our doing sweatshops, I also I told my sister back at home about Wicked problem and she agreed to stop shopping at those sites as well. I told my best friend as well and she didn’t even know what a wicked problem was we all need to stand together and help as much as we can with little things such as stop over buying, start recycling more and don’t buy from sweatshop businesses.

A wicked problem will not just magically change over night its going take all of us to take a stand. We have hurt our earth so much in a way that even if we take a stand, it will probably take years for us to even start seeing results. We can do this it’s going to be a lot of work but change needs to happen. The effect of wicked problem is already becoming worse such a global warming, Wildfires, and pollution these are all effects of wicked problems and they will continue becoming worse and worse if we don’t act now. We only have one earth to live on and yet we are living like we have an infinite number of earths to go to when this one goes up into flames. I honestly believe that we have a chance to help the earth we just got to act fast. Its not going to be easy to help or get people to help. I can’t believe that it took me 18 years to even know what a wicked problem was, Wicked problem should be taught in school not just college but Middle school and High school. We need to know the negative impacts that our favorite clothing brand, shoe brand and make brand have on our environment. Having these classes available for teenagers could be good everybody should know the danger that man-kind put our environment in. If we all stand together, we could save our environment, or we possibly could even be to late. But we wont not unless we try, so let’s all try together.

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Wicked Problems are Misunderstood by Society.

 Wicked Problems are seen today as well as throughout history in a variety of ways that are not fully understood by society in entirety. Many wicked problems in fact, are not seen as “wicked” until the severity of them has reached a certain point. So what even is a wicked problem? The definition is characterized as a social or cultural problem that is difficult or even impossible to find a solution to. As of now, the perfect example of a wicked problem would be our global warming and climate change issue. The world’s rapid increase in temperature in places that have not experienced extreme heat before is highly concerning and only a fraction of the world’s population is aware of the problem’s severity. 

      I cannot bash the percentage of people who are oblivious to these problems that we are living through today because I too, was oblivious. I always knew about global warming and climate change, but I never knew that we were living in a state of emergency. Before attending this class, I believed that problems like this were inevitable and that it was just the way that the world works. After discovering that there are in fact solutions but that they are almost unachievable, I was in awh. The global warming crisis is inflicted by humans, and because it is caused by us, we too have the power to control it. Now what this entails is a series of cutting down gas emissions, production of goods, cutting down on fossil fuels, and discontinuing the deforestation of our trees. As you can see, the entirety of the world’s population will never stop doing these things because it is not an immediate threat. Yes, our temperatures are rising and dropping in places where it shouldn’t, but people do not care because it will be our childrens and our grandchildren’s lifetimes that experience the catastrophic consequences thus making it: a wicked problem. 

     Another characteristic of why wicked problems are wicked is due to the lack of educated people who would be willing to step in and help. I can speak up for this majority because I was one of the uneducated individuals who is now understanding and wanting to help. I believe that the lack of celebrity voices on wicked problems contributes to the problem. Without their influence on the population, most people will continue to live their everyday lives without learning about issues that remain in the darkness of society. However if they were to use their platform for bettering our ecosystem and society, we would be one step closer to coming together on a solution.

    Wicked problems today are not going to go away immediately or anytime soon with the small advancements in recycling and only creating biodegradable items. However if we all collectively decide to reuse, reduce, and recycle, we can make a small, manageable difference in our communities. One thing this class has taught me is that anything is possible, it just will take so many different outcomes to do so. But who’s to say that taking a shot at even the small things can make a bigger impact than it seems?

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Mindfulness Practice

    One way that being in wicked problems has helped me is that I have learned multiple ways to open up my mind and figure out new thing Ways of doing things. Before taking this class I was a super tense person. In high school I was a super busy person and I was always involved in extracurricular activities and I always had so many things to do for dance. I also was a cheerleader at my high school and it took up a lot of my time and it made me a very tense person and I never had time to relax and chill out at home and I was also very stressed. When I was younger and in the past years of my life I have always thought meditation was a stupid thing to do. I didn’t think it would do anything for me or for my body or for my mental health. After learning about meditation in this class I have decided that I really enjoy meditation and I really enjoyed learning all the mini new ways that I can do it. ever since I started meditating I realize that I wake up every morning a little bit happier, I even go to bed a little more relaxed. Not only has meditation made me more relaxed, it has also opened my mind to many new possibilities in my life. By opening up my mind I have realized that I have been finding myself finding new ways to do things, being more open to things, and thinking of way more ideas. Mindfulness practice is going to be something that I will be taking part of for the rest of my life. After starting mindfulness practice I have felt 100 times better in my life. Right now I am in a long distance relationship. This relationship was very hard because I was not an open minded person. Doing all this mindfulness practice has been really helping me open up towards him. When my boyfriend and I are on FaceTime at night time, we do a little practice as a meditation with each other. These mindfulness practices really help not just ourselves personally but our relationship too. He thanked me for teaching him all of these practices and said he’s going to use them not only when he’s on FaceTime with me but throughout the day whenever he feels like he needs a little bit of comfort or a little bit of stress relieving. I have also taught these mindful practices to my roommates, they decided they love them as well. Throughout the week my roommates and I have nights where we sit in the living room and we all do mindfulness practice together. Along with our mindfulness practices we love to talk about all of our problems and we decided that we’re never going to judge each other for whatever we say and we are always going to be there for each other and help each other with everything. One of my roommates told me she has always been super stressed and cries all the time because of it. This mindfulness practice has really helped her throughout her college journey and becoming less stressed. Even if it’s just meditating in the shower or going through all of the thoughts in my head or taking a minute to have no thoughts and just breathe I have never felt better than I do today. Even though I have just started meditating I have a feeling I’m going to be doing this for the rest of my life. I don’t know much about meditating. I only know 2% that I could but I’m super excited to learn to my full potential about meditating and become even more knowledgeable about this. On the days that I don’t have time to do my mindfulness practices or have a minute of silence I find myself more stressed and I also find it harder to go to sleep at night with all of these thoughts running through my head. 

    Throughout taking the class wicked problems I have learned a lot about so many different problems around the world. Learning about our world’s problems today has never been a super big interest of mine. After learning about all of these problems we have, with natural resources and land destruction I have become very intrigued by these issues. These problems are some of the biggest and most known ones today. I hope to learn about more of the problems in our world, even the small ones. Even though I am a singular person on this planet earth I want to make a difference in any way I can. I hope that one day I can figure out ways to help with all these problems. These problems interest me a lot because I never realized how screwed up some things in our world are today. Even though I just started learning about all of our first world problems, I can’t wait to learn even more in and out of this class. One of the problems that interest me the most is fast fashion, and the condition of these workers working. These working conditions are completely inappropriate and not OK. They work in factories that are outdated factories, with machines that are very risky that they could get hurt with any second. They also barely even get paid minimum wage. Fast fashion does many things like put these workers at risk and contribute to pollution around the world. I have read many studies and mini papers about how people in China and other countries are being held hostage at these factories and are being forced to work. and it’s not only adults but children as well. fast fashion can be good sometimes but it’s also not a good thing in our world right now because of the mini things it is doing to people in the world. I hope to learn even more about this and hopefully one day I can make a small difference all by myself. 

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Understanding is Hard

Like many college students, I feel like the easiest form of understanding concepts such as wicked problems is intellectually. It’s what we were taught to utilize the most throughout K-12 and then of course into our college/university years as well. It feels safe and comfortable to default to using my head and logic anytime I’m doing homework, studying, or anything work-related, and a lot of the time in those situations that method of understanding is totally valid. However, I don’t think it’s fair to myself to limit my understanding to just one medium. As for understanding emotionally, I think the extent that people choose to tap in to their heart to understand things is really dependent on the individual themselves. No one can really force you to truly, wholeheartedly feel for anything or anyone; it’s all dependent on you and what you choose. I know I choose to feel with my heart with things outside of school quite often, but I rarely do when it comes to doing schoolwork or studying. There’s a big disconnect for me personally between the different ways of understanding, but especially so with somatically understanding. I mean wasn’t even fully aware of what it means to somatically understand something before this course. Now that I’m somewhat aware (I don’t feel confident enough to say I fully understand it yet) of the idea of tuning into my body to better comprehend things, I would say I’m definitely interested in exploring that further and in seeing how it applies to what I have learned and will continue to learn about wicked problems throughout this course. The biggest practice guiding my journey of trying to better somatically understand is the mindfulness practice I’m learning with Dr. Martinez. I will admit that I do feel like I’m not doing what I’m supposed to at times, or just struggling to keep up in the class sessions. I understand that it’s all very individualistic and I can stop and start again as many times as I need, but being able to follow along with Dr. Martinez is fairly important to me right now because I’m so new to it all. The classroom setting also isn’t very helpful because of all of the distractions that occur or could occur during the session but that’s somewhat unavoidable. It’s also hard to be vulnerable in a setting where I don’t feel totally comfortable in while practicing something I don’t fully grasp myself yet. That being said, I do try hard to connect my mind and body during these times despite the obstacles. I suppose that as I get better with the mindfulness practice the less these things will bother me or take me out of the practice, which is really what I’m hoping for. The mindfulness practices I do outside of the classroom are more successful than the classroom ones, which is honestly what I expected. I have faced minor problems, especially when practicing at home, but nothing that has been too daunting or overwhelming to face and understand. The biggest one is unfortunately falling asleep while trying to meditate, but after giving it some thought the reason it happens is definitely due to the times I have been choosing to practice (at night time) and the fact that I haven’t been getting much sleep in the first place. I have yet to try practicing at a different time because of my schedule for these past couple weeks, but I’m hoping to clear some things up and I’ll have more time to explore different times and how it affects my practicing. As for not getting enough sleep, it’s a hard habit to break because of how embedded that workstyle is in my life but it’d definitely benefit a lot more things than just my mindfulness practices so I’m hoping to find a way to shift that.

Something I have always and likely will always value in life is compassion, and that’s not just compassion for others or myself but compassion for everything I get to interact with in my life. Because I place compassion so highly in my life, I do feel applying it to wicked problems is a little easier than it normally would be. This is also by no means me trying to boast about myself or how good of a person I am but rather just me trying honestly evaluate how my mind is interacting and analyzing the heavy problems that are wicked problems. A moment I feel highlighted such an interaction is the discussion where we broke into groups discussing whether or not globalization could coincide with a sustainable society. I had read the “NO” side and didn’t feel fully convinced by the author and then I met with other classmates who told me what the “YES” side as advocating for. I expected to be persuaded by that author’s argument but I still didn’t feel as though I could agree with their side. I was at a crossroads with these two point of views because I could emphasize with both sides and it felt like by choosing one it meant the other was going to be tossed from my mind and I had to be a full advocate for that side. Of course that isn’t actually true and in reality it’s totally okay for me to feel for both parties. In fact, I think it’s the only way to truly achieve a humble response to such issues. I feel as though I have a good understanding of what such a response takes on paper or in definition but I haven’t been able to demonstrate in real life yet. That aspect of it does still need some work from my end, but it’s not enough to discourage me from going to try which feels good. I find this to be especially true when I compare it to my experience with the mindfulness practices. Of course, I’m not going to stop trying with either of them but if I could have a similar confidence level with the mindfulness practice as I do with forming compassionate responses then my experience would certainly feel better than its current state.

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