The Domino Effect or Is it?

            It has been an interesting and thought provoking experience in the last 8 weeks learning about some issues facing the sustainability of the earth caused by industrial practices and man’s activities. As a human, a student, a career person, a business owner, and a future interior designer, I am responsible to play my part in these different roles, relating to protecting my environment. Considering the popular opinions and actions of the vast majority of the earth occupants, the challenges that come with being different as relating to being sustainable is one that will require bold steps that will seem different from what is popular. It might mean encouraging a customer to refinish that old wood flooring, instead of replacing it entirely; it might mean looking for ways to make work what is available while incorporating a few new changes instead of switching the whole furniture and accessories altogether; it might mean repainting and re-designing those old decor and frames, instead of getting rid of them; it might mean personally learning to live a minimalist lifestyle so as to curb sponsoring abundance and waste.

            The desire to live sustainably is a state of mind and can be truly heartfelt after one has taken the time to get informed of how our activities have been detrimental and of how much we have derailed from the core of how our relativity with the earth ought to be. Most of us are not aware of how it ought to be because all we have seen and been taught are how it ought not to be. The present younger generation will have to suffer what was caused by the previous and older generations unfortunately; as at this current state of the earth condition, I believe that we are already at some point of no return. If we are not at this point yet, then how can the solar deterioration that has increased the heat here on earth be reversed? How can we renavigate to living in minimum with all the technological provisions available? How can  we solve the issues with waste and pollution that is resultant from our operations and  lifestyle? The problem is when it is not perceived that there is a problem and therein lies the solution- when it is perceived that there is a problem. With the human body, where there is a problem in the system that causes a stroke, the amount of damage caused to neurological functions can be directly related to the amount of time the stroking victim was found and treated. I compare this to our faulting earth which has already suffered a lot of damage; some that cannot be reversed and some that the time ticking is crucial to the extent of damage that will be caused.

            I realize that one of my initial steps in this journey of making a sustainable difference begins at home with my family and teaching my kids the ways in which we have done it wrong and the changes we need to make so as to  live sustainably. Actions I recently took such as: hanging out the blankets and bed sheets on the rail to dry instead of using the dryer, hand washing the dishes instead of washing them in the dishwasher and planting a couple of the vegetables we eat are baby steps I plan to continue with, and plan to add on to that. Just like some others out in the world who are willing to make a difference but discouraged by how their little difference can even make an impact, I struggle with such thoughts and feelings as well, but when I think of how the domino works in causing an effect that causes other dominos in line to fall just by activation from the domino on the end, I feel encouraged that I can be that domino on the end to invoke a change in my circle or lane of influence.

            To specifically mention one of the wicked problems that personally melts my heart, it is water pollution. This problem is one that makes me imagine how I should feel okay taking  trash to a water body for dumping. Water bodies being polluted is something that can be very well prevented mostly. First, it is the responsibility for the cities to provide means for people to dispose off their trash, and so, if this responsibility is not met, that results in problems with pollution. Why should trash be thrown into a place where I and others get water from? To me, this sounds like an extreme action and I wonder if it is an issue of lack of education or lack of care. I lived in Nigeria up till I was 20 yrs of age, and I do remember taking our weekly trash to the dumpyard every Saturday where the city burns the heaps of trash. This leads to my next concern which is, is there an ultimate way to prevent all forms of pollution or is the goal the prevention of the worst form of pollution?  Do we mostly reduce air pollution while we contaminate the water bodies or vice versa? Or do we make little changes in all areas of pollution? All of these concerns and thoughts make me think of being part of an active involvement in doing something to help the current situation. For a while, I have had issues with the use of plastic bags to cover clean equipments at the place of my employment and I have always thought to myself why should these bags be used to cover these intravenous machines? In addition, I have also thought about the hospital having  separate recycling containers for bags and other forms of plastics to be disposed off for recycling, considering the amount of bags and plastics we use. I really do hope to have the bravery to look into how I can approach this situation successfully, as I really do hope to see a positive change about this practice. I can foresee this change creating a domino effect in outlying hospitals adopting the same practice. I am hoping that this is how change begins and optimistic about it.

            Personally, I have noticed that when I am in a meditative state of mind, my intuition processes thoughts in a way that seem rather right and natural. I believe that this is something that is lacking in our busy modern lifestyles, which I can say contributed to our problems of non-sustainability. WORLD! STOP! Yes, stop and think for a moment… Is this abundance and pursuit of happiness that does not fully satisfy all worth it? Stop! and weigh the benefits and consequences of our pursuits thus far… I am sure there are changes we can make moving forward into our nearest future. Being SUSTAINABLY SMART is the new futuristic move. Shall we begin this move?

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Growing Pains

In my opinion, wicked problems are one of those things that you don’t give much thought to until they’re staring you straight in the face. Especially if you have no prior knowledge of what they are or how they affect us. Having spent the time in this course was a huge eye opener for me. Not only was I completely unaware of the size of many of these problems, but I also had no idea how much I was doing that played into them becoming more severe. I had thought for so long that as an individual I couldn’t do much to stop what was going on since it was obviously a global issue, but now I feel a strange sense of guilt for not making the small changes sooner to be a part of the shift toward a more sustainable lifestyle, which would possibly result in a more sustainable future for us all. My time in this course has sent me through a rollercoaster of many different emotions. Although I try to mask it with an intense sense of confidence that may or may not be taken as narcissism, I tend to feel more for others than for myself, especially when it comes to situations that I do not have much control over. After the initial guilt that I felt from learning more about wicked problems and just how difficult it would be to find solutions, I moved more into a feeling of determination and an urge to search for all of the possible ways that I could advocate for change or simply make the changes in my own life. As this course comes to an end, I can tell that I have grown in many different ways. I am much better off than I was in August about letting my emotions get the best of me and really thinking with both my head and my heart instead of one over the other. There are plenty of quick changes we can make in order to take back the damage we’ve done, but in doing that we completely ignore many of the factors that come into play. I remember wanting more than anything to be able to snap my fingers and turn back the clock to a time where things were not as bad, or to a time where things could be easily reversed. It became something that ate away at my thoughts, I couldn’t seem to get rid of it no matter how hard I tried, and it was just about as repetitive as this post seems. Being given the opportunity to practice mindfulness is something that I’m extremely grateful for now, because honestly at first I thought it would never work for me, and I considered it a waste of time. Time that could have been spent in any other way. Now that the course is finished I truly see myself continuing to practice mindfulness as a way to offset the stress of everyday life and to find balance in the chaos. Mindfulness gave me a quick escape from overwhelming thoughts that came from both my new knowledge of wicked problems, other global issues, and the various new experiences that I faced going day to day as a college freshman in a town far from home. I can definitely say that over the past eight weeks, my views on meditation have flipped drastically, and I almost wish that I could continue on just for the ten minutes set aside every Tuesday to look into the many different mindfulness techniques that can be offered. 

Personally, I think that I have achieved the goal of developing a compassionate and humble response to the many wicked problems we face. I have found that the best way for me to reach this was looking through the lens of the industry that I am working to become a part of. I was introduced to the many problems caused by the fashion industry, not only in production, but also in mindlessly throwing away clothing that is no longer in use. I made the conscious choice at the beginning of the course to watch the places that I shop in hopes that they’re more sustainable or contribute something to the environment other than an excess of smog or wasteful byproducts from production. I have also found that the easiest way to express more compassion to the world around me, it has to start small, with my peers and any individuals I come across from day to day. I still stick by the belief that one small act of kindness can change the course of anyone’s day, no matter if they are on the giving or the receiving side.

I do realize now that I don’t have as huge of an impact as I thought I did, and my feelings of guilt have been minimized as I have moved along in Wicked Problems. I have made the few changes that I can in order to do my part. I also consider myself to be extremely open minded when it comes to new approaches to current issues instead of pretending I do not see what’s going on around me. Along with this I believe that I have become much more aware of the everyday changes that I can make. I’ve been able to have conversations with multiple people that are part of my life and educate them on the possible outcomes that would be the result of us choosing to ignore these wicked problems. Although sometimes they are difficult conversations to have, after you plant the seed within someone, it has a tendency to stick and cause that person to look more into them and think about their individual impact. I try my hardest to stay educated and up to date with issues and plan to continue this as I move forward in my life because I have a newfound goal to be a catalyst for change and really work to make a difference. I’ve always been a big believer in donating over discarding, especially when it comes to clothes, and I plan to continue this practice for as long as I possibly can, and with this I consider every item I buy, it’s durability, and how long or how much I can utilize it. I have learned that the small things like this can make a difference when actively done by many people, and I hope that I have been able to instill these beliefs and ideas into my peers, family members, and any others that I may come in contact with.

Looking back on my personal experience with this class, I am grateful for each way that I grew in my knowledge, opinions, and reactions. Before this, I viewed growth as a thing that didn’t necessarily happen to everyone, almost like it was painful for certain groups of people, and I was definitely one that experienced those pains. Now I see it as something to be celebrated rather than something to fear or resist, and I pray that as I continue on my path, I continuously grow and change into the person I’m meant to be, while shaping the world to be something that I’m proud of.

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A Growing Mentality 

While I must say I am nowhere near where I want to be in my mindset journey, I now have a goal to work towards. To be honest, I am a very stubborn person, I have been stuck in my ways for so long it is hard to think of any other way to do things, and I have seen and dealt with the effects of it. It is almost like I chose to be ignorant about some things, like maybe the consequences would not be as severe or I would not have to accept that I did not fully understand a concept, it is like J. Cole has said, “Pride is the devil.”  When I had first moved away from home for college, I got thrown out of my comfort zone, it was like all the anxieties and fears I had overcome at home no longer mattered, they came back and this time I felt like I had nothing or no one to fall back on. Of course, I knew I had resources available and my family was one call away, but that was not the issue, I knew I had to learn to be on my own. This was finally my chance to prove myself, I wanted to too, I just did not know how to do it. One day I am in class and we began learning about mindfulness and mindful practices, I was automatically intrigued, we focused on meditation in class and I was excited to learn about it and start practicing it. However, I was still very skeptical that I could actually benefit from this, but I still took it seriously. Once I had learned about mindfulness, I started relating everything to it, in a way I was forced to see how much I need to grow and improve, for myself. It was definitely hard to accept I had to change how I did things, but it was also so rewarding, I was finally able to see improvement in my mental health, show interest in my courses, and develop new routines in my new area. I was feeling more stable. With these changes taking place I really did start to relate everything to it. Subconsciously I was observing everything, the impact it would have on me, overall, I was so much more aware of everything. 

During meditation I was able to step out of my thoughts and see them as they were, just thoughts they did not define me, I realized I am able to control my thoughts I do not have to feed into all of them. It has calmed my racing mind and brought me a peace of mind that I aim to have in my day to day life. I have begun to write down all the things I need to do and when they need done instead of weighing my mind down trying to remember every single deadline, I have improved on my time management, although that one still needs improvement, got rid of unnecessary distractions, and created more tidy habits in order to always have a sense of peace. Along with improving my mentality I was able to become more in tune with my body, having better eating habits, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and even the importance of working out. Although I must admit I do not actively meditate; I plan to incorporate it into my schedule more consistent and often. And even after having all of these realizations and growing moments I still struggle. Luckily, spirituality and religion go hand in hand with mindfulness. For me, I have focused on building a relationship with God and had my faith in his plan, I say this because I consider my relationship with God and praying to be another mindful practice. 

 I think that is what the main purpose of mindfulness is, to bring awareness to your eyes and change how you perceive things. As I previously said, it brought awareness for me in my spirituality, in my mind, and in my body, but it also brought awareness to bigger picture things such as our economy, global warming, air pollution, etc. By becoming aware of these things, you start to develop a concern for them. The first bigger picture problems I took the time to learn about would be about America’s plastic pollution from industries. For example, in 2017 China quit taking recycling from foreign countries and America started sending theirs to Indonesia. Unfortunately, Indonesia is a poor country and did not even have factories for the plastic waste they were receiving. It was being dumped on empty land in neighborhoods, polluting the air and land. I found this really interesting and proceeded to do more research about plastic waste, and discovered within this past decade only 10 percent of plastic that was sent to be recycled was actually recycled. In fact, not everything that has the recycling symbol will be recycled, anything that is multi-plastic will not be recycled, as it is too expensive for plastic industries to break down, also if you put anything dirty or contaminated in to be recycled it will not be recycled either. While I do think everyone needs to do their part to contribute to the betterment of our environment, it starts with awareness and recognition. By recognizing there is an issue you are able to educate yourself on the topic to work towards being a part of the solution. However, not all problems are able to be solved completely and directly, like my example, contribution from society is an amazing effort and step in the right direction, but it cannot necessarily be solved by consumers because of our roles. Industries are much more powerful than we are and have already mass produced their product before you even have the chance to buy one. These are the type of problems that matter, if we can raise awareness and work together as a whole, we will be able to supply new sustainable solutions that will benefit all parties, if all parties could be convinced to care.  

I genuinely believe studying mindfulness has impacted me intellectually and encourage others to practice mindfulness in their daily lives too, whether its journalism, meditating, praying, exercising, or whatever helps you, focus and relax your mind. By having self awareness one is able to be in touch with their senses, emotions, and be able to have awareness within their surroundings. Though it is hard to transition to mindful thinking, it takes dedication and effort to experience a unique way of thinking and living and creating new routines, habits, and values, but it is something greatly beneficial and simple once you place those routines. To conclude, going on a mindfulness journey and improving my mindset to be focused on growth instead of having a fixed mindset like in the past has been truly life changing and extremely uplifting and refreshing. Once again, I still have a while to go on my journey, as there is so many more things for me to discover and grow on, but putting in the time and dedication will always be worth it when you have the opportunity to positively impact your day to day life. 

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The Other Side 

Coming into this class I honestly just could not wait until the other side. School is not my favorite thing in the world and this class was one of those things that I honestly did not see as a fun class coming in. Looking back, I looked at this eight-week course and was ready to count down the weeks until it was over. But to my surprise I sit here writing this final blog, being sad over the fact that my countdown has hit zero. I walked into a class that would teach me about things that were and are much bigger than myself. 

Before this class, the only wicked problem I had ever heard of was world peace. And it was not even in a coo scientific way, it was from a television show I watched as a kid. At the time I was not even aware that it was a wicked problem or what a wicked problem was for that matter. As I have gone throughout this eight-week course I have grown a greater and deeper compassion for wicked problems in the world. I have craved wanting to understand and grow in my knowledge of what wicked problems look like in our society currently and why they are considered to be wicked. One of the first questions our professor asked when we arrived at class on the first day was what makes a wicked problem wicked? And man was I stumped. Without having any prior knowledge of this topic, all I could think was that it was just an extremely difficult problem that people could not figure out how to solve. But in reality, a wicked problem is wicked because it is a problem that cannot be solved. It is a problem that many people try to solve but cannot agree on a solution that will truly solve it. And when I heard this, I began to ponder what my role could possibly be in problems of such profound impact.  

Mindfulness is one significant role I found that I can play, in the realm of wicked problems. It is a way to completely connect mind, body, and soul. It is a way to be completely and fully aware of the present moment. Through mindfulness you are able to acknowledge your body’s sensations, think through your feelings, and understand your thoughts. With that being said, mindfulness is not something that just occurs as you go through life, but it is something that needs to be practiced and become a discipline in your daily routine. Throughout this course I have seen my mindset towards the concept of mindfulness shift. When we first did a mindfulness practice in class I was confused and slightly uncomfortable. I had never done anything like it before, especially not in a room full of people that I barely knew. As I listened to what our professor instructed us to do, I found my thoughts going faster than they were before. I could not understand how to slow my mind and focus on the present moment. But as I have made mindfulness practices apart from my daily disciplines, I have started to see the benefits of it. I have found that sitting on the floor in silence brings a very calming and overwhelming peaceful mind space to truly focus on the mind, body, and soul. Meditation is another mindfulness practice that has helped me to fully be aware of and connect all of these areas. Lastly, I have found that belly breathing is a way to connect your body to be fully aware and present. At first, I could not figure out how to transition my breathing from my lungs to my belly but once I did it was a game changer. Belly breathing brings calmness and helps my mind to ease from racing but instead, it begins to fully be aware of my mind, body, and soul. 

As I have learned more about wicked problems and begun to understand them deeper, I have grown a passionate curiosity for the way I can make an impact in this area and be fully aware of these problems as they are occurring. One problem that has truly struck my heart is throwaway fashion. It is in my field of study and something we see way too often. I have gained a deep compassion for those that are directly affected by this wicked problem but have no way of fixing it because there are so many new problems that form as people attempt different solutions. I have tried to take a step back and look at this problem from the perspective of many. In taking this humbling approach I have been able to learn what one wicked problem can look like from the viewpoint of many people affected by it. In throwaway fashion, there are the employers who could see what they are doing as something that does not harm the environment therefore, they do not take any steps to find a solution. Another lense to look through could be the people who work for the dumping agencies. Throwaway fashion produces a lot of waste, which creates a larger workload for the trash workers. One more viewpoint that could be looked at is environmentalists. They are the ones that firsthand see and study the impacts this waste has on the environment. Just by educating myself better on this one wicked problem, I have been able to grow a deeper compassion for those that are directly affected by problems like these as well as our environment as a whole because we only get one world, and we are wasting it away. 

During the short eight weeks of this course, I have not only gained knowledge to share with others but a want to spread awareness of wicked problems in the world around us and how every person has a part to play in them. I know that not every student can take this course or is required to, but I think it is important that every student is fully aware of the reality of the wicked problems we face. I want to use this class, and the knowledge it has brought me, to help cater for positive change throughout my realm of influence. One way I can do this is by showing my friends how they can take part in mindfulness meditation. I can walk them through the steps and different practices, and it can be something we practice regularly together. I think that this could create a positive space for everyone to be mindful of body, mind, and soul and it can be something that is uplifting among our sphere of influence.  

I came into this course with a lack of excitement and no real idea of what I was walking in to. But just in a matter of eight weeks I have seen a change in the way that I view the world. I have gained a deeper understanding of real-world problems that affect the environment, livelihoods, and the future. I have grown a compassion for the problems of this world and have learned how to take a humble perspective when educating myself on them. In these eight weeks I have gained an entire handbook of mindfulness practices that have slowly begun to become a part of my daily disciplines. I have gained a perspective to use these disciplines to better my community in a positive way. This class has shown me that I can play a role in something bigger than myself.  

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One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Mankind

This class over the last eight weeks has become an unforeseen mental awakening for me personally. I could not have imagined that in a class as short as this one I could be packed full with loads of information about not only how to better myself, but better my community, my industry, and hopefully even the world. It has become a class that has inspired me to look deeply into multiple scenarios of how different situations in my life could potentially play out and to then critically think about the action I want to take before I decide to take it. 

The first big takeaway I have from this class would be the importance of self help before all else. It is extremely important to be in a positive headspace individually and to better your personal actions before attempting to change the way others live out their lives. I think meditating daily, even in the simplest of ways, could be a mental refresh and an opportunity to feel good about yourself so that you can be inspired to carry over the positive energy into what you do. If you take time each and every day to breathe and calm your mind, you can allow yourself to look past the little minuscule thoughts that do not really have an effect on your well being and shift your engagement to more prominent issues and focus on those instead.

I think one really important thing that I learned throughout this half-semester is that once you decide to get in the right headspace and get yourself in the best place you can be mentally, then it clears your mind more and enables you to focus on worldly problems rather than your own personal ones and can encourage your actions towards a more sustainable lifestyle. This is where I think I would fall. I have gotten into a routine of meditating and changing my mindset towards focusing on things that really matter as opposed to what my hair looks like that day, which sounds silly, but was one of many little dumb things that do not even make a difference on my life, unless I allow them to. I now have gotten to where I sit down and relax and just process information and choose to let go of the things that do not matter and shift my mindset to the things that do. Then I use that to determine what I will focus on during that specific day and have my actions follow alongside that.

Thinking about all that needs to be done makes me extremely anxious and I freak out not knowing how I myself could even make a difference in our big big world, but I have come to the conclusion that taking small steps in the right direction is much much better than just sitting and being content with where I am and where the world is at. In that case, I have recently decided that I want to take initiative in my household to start recycling. I think recycling is probably the first step towards living a more sustainable lifestyle. It is a pretty simple shift in my daily routine that does not even take much more effort, but it is something that I have made excuses against in the past due to misinformation on the topic as a whole. Now that I went through this class, I feel way more informed than ever about how it all works and I now know how beneficial it can be when done correctly. It is a super small step and I definitely want to do more than that, but it is more than I am doing now so I do think that it is a really good place to start. Along with recycling just within my own house, I want to encourage my family and friends to do it as well. I might even offer to pick up their recycled items and take them to the correct place for them so that they do not have to worry about it, just as an extra incentive to get them to join me in participating in that extremely small change. I think it would be really cool if I could somehow kickstart that change in my community and be of encouragement to those around me by spreading the information that I learned from this class. I think a big part of why people do not see the need to do these little things is because they do not actually know how far down the wrong path we have gotten ourselves. I think that was a big part of it for me. Yeah, sure I heard about how we do not take the best care of our planet, but I never fully understood the extent of it and how bad it could pan out for all of us if we do not seek other options for our everyday actions. Because of that, I think it would be important for me to spread the knowledge I have gained from this course to better inform people and hopefully inspire them to re-evaluate their options and their priorities as well

Now do not get me wrong, I really do think that recycling is a great start and that it is better than doing nothing at all, but I do truly believe that if we want to make a change in our world and also live long enough to see it, we are going to have to do a lot more than just recycle. I do not know exactly what else I am going to make a priority to do, but I am new to all of this so I am still figuring it out, but I do think it is important that I have decided to kickstart that side of my lifestyle. I think another thing that I want to start doing is supporting locally rather than supporting major corporations. We talked throughout the last eight weeks how that can spiral in a positive light and could lead to a sea of betterment in sustainability. I think going to a local farmers market for food and clothing could be so good in comparison to supporting big brands who run large industries that make up a large majority of our world’s sustainability problems.

At the end of the day I am still really new to this whole concept and am finding my way in all of this, but I am most definitely walking away from this class more inspired about this subject than I have ever been. It has been truly eye opening and is overwhelming at times to decipher right from wrong in my decision making, but at least now I am more aware and at least putting forth more effort to try and make a difference in my habits. Alongside this, I am also passionate about encouraging people like me to get informed and join me in this new walk of sustainability. Big or small steps forward are still steps in the right direction and if I work hard enough maybe I can eventually start a movement in my family, city, or workplace that could have a lasting effect on the future.

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Mindful Journey Through The Wicked World

            When I first arrived on campus, I didn’t know what this course meant or why I needed it to take this. On the first day of class I had no idea on what a wicked problem was or even what sustainability meant I honestly just thought this class was going to be a boring class that we would watch videos in all the time. My assumptions about the class quick change after we watched that film “The 11th Hour”. After watching the film, I was determined to learn more about how we can help the environment and the sustainability. During this course I have learned what those terms mean and different ways I can contribute to helping with wicked problems. After learning of a wicked problem was, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that I was in some way supporting these problems I was shopping on fast fashion websites, wasting clothing and shopping as a form of sport. This course has showed me the dark side of the fashion Industry and when I graduate college, I will want to help make our environment better, Honestly I’m not sure on how I would do that yet but luckily I have 4 years to think about and I’ll do what I can now though by informing my friends and family on what wicked problems are and ill show them what websites not the shop from.

At first when the topic of mindfulness practice came up, I thought that meditating was cliché, and nobody really does it, and it was just a waste of time. This course has even showed me how important it is to take time out of your day to do mindfulness activities such as meditating. My meditating experience was amazing I was stressed had anxiety and was terribly homesick after I meditated, I was better I just need some time to collect myself. I never realized how important mediating was until now. Meditating will now be always apart of my daily routine; it helps me get through my day. Ever since I started using mindful practice my days have been more productive and more positive. I wish I would have always used meditation because I’ve had some pretty stressed out days in high school. Meditation is also good to remove a lot of pressure of your chest by helping you have a clear and peaceful mind. I highly recommend meditation for anyone that’s having a rough time. Overall, I am glad I decide to give meditation a chance. Meditating has also help me think about what I could do now to help with wicked problems. For example, I’ve been changing a lot of things I do by turning the water off while brushing my teeth. I haven’t been over shopping like I normally do I also have even been recycling more. When I go home I will 100% tell my family how good meditation is for your mind and daily tasks. Mindfulness practices have also helped me have more productive days such as getting ahead in homework, going on walks instead being in my room all the time, reading over notes in my free time, and checking the events calendar for campus activities.

Another problem that I have discovered in this course was sweatshops before this course I had no idea what they were or if they existed. It was an eyeopener when I found what a sweatshop consists of such as modern-slavey, abuse, and child labor. I felt sad when I realized that I have been supporting sweatshops by shopping on Shein, Romwe and Boohoo man all of these have sweatshops behind them. There are some people working in the sweatshops for 72 hours with no break and most if not all the employees have a choice. Sweatshops pay their employees as little as 25 cent-3.25.  I felt a kind of compassion for these workers because it feels like no one is doing anything. Our environment is hurting are economy is hurting and no one is caring all that anyone is caring about if how much money they make without even look at the problems that they are causing. All of these wicked problems are leading us down a tunnel of environmental issues all because of what? Money that what everyone is worried about how fancy their car is how big their house is how many clothes they are wearing. The fashion Industry is also doing harm to the environment. The industry is overusing resources to make clothing using harmful dye and chemicals that are bad for the environment and letting it go to waste. Even the consumers who purchase from these Industries are affecting the environment by steady buying clothing and letting the ones that they have go to waste which is causing the industry to create more. The is how Fast Fashion which brought sweatshops and other wicked problems. I honestly feel compassion for the animals and the environment itself. Animals are dying off because of the greediness of mankind the environment is also affected by this issue.

 We are running out of time all of the wicked problem keeps getting passed down generation by generation when will a generation step up and take on the responsibility? Its upsets me that many people don’t believe in wicked problems or just don’t care enough to learn about them. I think the government should also step up and help this cannot possibly be a one man/woman job it’s going to take everyone to do their part. Taking this class was the best decision that I’ve made. Taking this course has been an excellent learning experience for me and I have learned a lot. In the future I hope I will continue doing mindfulness practice and finding ways to help our environment. As you can tell from reading this blog, I had no knowledge about this side of the fashion industry. Even though this class very short I felt like I learned a lot and I now have a lot of knowledge about this subject. I do plan on sharing what a wicked problem is with my family back home. Also, I hope that in the future we fix our environment and try our best to try and end all wicked problems.

I feel as if everyone should know or have an idea of a wicked problem is and how to avoid supporting wicked problems. I do plan on taking more courses about wicked problem I might even minor in wicked problems. My outlook on life now that I’ve taken wicked problems and used mindfulness practices is that it is possible for us to change our ways and if we wait any longer we will reach a point of no return. Some changes in my circle of influence are that I would treat my environment better than what I have been doing. I also will look at more long-lasting items instead of cheap ones you just throw away after a few uses. I really look forward into seeing positive change with our environment. I also whish that we will see more renewable resources being use a majority of factories.   Now that I have attended the course I will use the knowledge that I have learned and use them to change my attitude in the future.

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Wicked Problems

In these last eight-weeks, we explored major “umbrella” topics of different issues we are combatting while trying to achieve sustainability and preventing further hard on the environment we live on. I think the course has been a good introductory for students that have not put much thought in their personal impact on the environment and how they can help with sustainability. By touching base on such topics in fashion, architecture, pollution, global warming and deforestation. My favorite topic that we were able to discuss was about the architecture accreditation for “green” buildings. Because as I enter my last couple months of my degree, it’s something we talk about a lot, the implementation of green architecture. However, in practice, it’s not always realistic, because as noted in the article, it’s sometimes a losing battle because of the higher cost to choose the more sustainable option since it is not so common in use. I think that we as students or the “new generation”, or for me personally, that I have a way to effect the things around me, even if they are small. This is done by voting with my money to buy products and purchase from businesses that I support, by recycling items so there is a little less in landfills, and even donating clothes for the same effect. We explored bigger problems in the industry, but as made time to explore our inner mindfulness. By opening up the conversation on meditation and mindfulness practice, it’s made me take things in a bit more. As this semester is a heaping 18 hours, I tend to get overwhelmed and stressed, and when I realize that my mind is racing, I try to take a mindfulness break. A break in the sun if possible, because it’s nice to feel the warmth of the sun when I don’t feel so great inside. I don’t think every intellectual journey is the same, I struggle to stay focus and keep my mind clear, so I try to do something enjoyable that requires all my attention and is a little repetitive, allowing it to become methodical and almost meditation like. And as I find myself sad from being so far away from my family, I take a break to work on my emotional mindfulness. I take time to calm down and cook or bake, because food is what makes me feel like I’m home. And by following recipes and having to be attentive to whatever I’m cooking, I am more centered and can focus on the present and not so much of what isn’t here. And I’m unsure if this counts towards good mindfulness practice, but to me, mindfulness is being present and appreciating your surroundings. Thus, every other week, a group of us go to drink beers and play card games with each other just to enjoy the company before we all depart after graduation. And this has been my favorite practice, because after every “session” I always leave feeling happier and better. Since I struggle with mental health, which then affects my school work, I want to try to use more mindfulness breaks. By taking breaks to keep my mind clear and positive, I think it will have a gradual positive income. And with mindfulness practices, it causes us to be more connected to our surroundings and the environment. As we care more for our environment, it will enact a subconscious mind to only do things that positively impact the earth, or even prevent ourselves from being so awful and utilizing all the existing resources it provides. As mentioned, another goal for this course is to develop a humble and compassionate way to understanding wicked problems, I think the class will find multiple ways to go about this, which would be interesting to discuss. However, for me, I think if I am able to relate a wicked problem back into my architecture designs in trying to help fix or not add to a problem, I would have succeeded. A project that we had done as a group this year in studio is that we had to produce a board game that addressed an urban issue that we would like to further explore. My group focused on trying to provide a game to players that would educate them about poverty. Poverty is something that is not talked about often, but it is such a big and growing issue everywhere, the game was to show how small “inconvenience” can have a domino effect that can end up where you lose your job or evict you from your apartment. As we took a mindful approach and discussed the topic through several sessions, we understood that the game would not try to promote the idea of solving poverty, because you cannot solve poverty. But you can educate others about the issue, and open up a way for people to address it and show that this is a real issue. In our newest short project, we were given the assignment to produce a map of an experience of Stillwater in a way that no one else has. I want to use what I have learned in this course to be mindful to the people and students in the town. But more so, I want to make sure that my final project, as I am in the social issues committee for my section, that all human experiences are universal for the environment we are designing. We wanted to ensure that all humans, able or disabled, experience everything the same, this means that all entrances are integrated with each other. But also, to design a public space that allows for multiple age groups to enjoy, to by mindful of their needs. We are adopting the 880 cities plan, which puts in place an idea that if you are able to design a space for an 8-year-old and an 80-year-old, that everyone in between will be benefitted as well and create a more universal compelling environment that positively impacts the community. And another note that I wanted to ensure was that the idea of proximity was put in place, to ensure that amenities and food vendors were in a relatively close walking distance. We didn’t want to create an inconvenience to anyone by grouping support spaces that create a large divide on each other and would cause pedestrians  to have to journey across the island to use an amenity or get food. We wanted to be mindful that this would allow for a better and more pleasurable experience, especially for those not great at walking for long periods and just out of convenience. In conclusion, I want to utilize mindfulness practice in my future, to make sure I listen to my mind, body and heart, and make sure I take time to be centered and appreciative. But also wanting to make sure that I design for people to have a moment of pause and can be mindful in their surroundings and to enjoy themselves. Architecture has the ability to control human behavior and movement, so ensuring that I keep the public in mind and asking myself the question, “how will this benefit them” or “how will someone experience this”, will cause me to be a better architect, hopefully.

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Final Blog

My progress towards understanding wicked problems has become very important to me. I didn’t even know wicked problems were an actual thing until I was introduced to this particular course. Wicked problems are a very serious thing and a lot more of us need to hear about it. When I was learning about what wicked problems truly were in our first few weeks of class, I was so shook at how much our world was collapsing right in front of our very own eyes. It made me so sad, it just had me really thinking about what our future is possibly going to look like. Would I ever be able to grow old? Would I ever be able to bring any kids into this world without them suffering tremendously? With the world collapsing before them? I had always thought that it would be nearly impossible for the world to shut down and collapse, but here we somehow are this very day thinking about how much time we could have left until we are all gone forever. Learning about wicked problems has really opened up my eyes a lot to the world and has made me think about just how much I could really do to stop all of these problems. While it is nearly impossible to completely stop a wicked problem, there are so many people in this world, actually 7 billion people in this world. So it’s going to take a lot more to just get a problem under control somehow. 

My particular goal towards wicked problems was that I wanted to help prevent them from becoming a much bigger thing than they already are. One wicked problem that really stuck out in my mind personally was homelessness. I always knew that homelessness was somewhat of a problem in our world, but I didn’t know that it was big enough to make it a real wicked problem. I’m really compassionate about the subject of homlessness because at one point in my life, I was almost homeless at one point. All of my family went through some really intense personal and financial struggles and we happened to end up losing our treasured family business. We had to sell our home that I loved dearly, and for a little while, we didn’t know where we were going to go at all. We were starting to consider moving in with my paternal grandparents, but we knew that they didn’t have nearly enough room for us. We have a family of five, and all of our twenty years worth of junk and sentimental items that we have acquired. Thankfully one of my mom’s dear friends had an extra house that she decided to rent to us, and it was actually pretty cheap for how big it was. This was only temporary, until we could get back on our feet. This unfortunately though took about three whole years, and even now we are still trying. We ended up deciding to move out of the house because my mom’s friend turned out to be crazy, all of a sudden she was blaming us for things that were wrong with her house, claiming “it wasn’t like that until you moved in” We never even did anything, the house was very trashed before we even stepped foot in it. We actually had helped her clean up the house and move out of it so we could move into it. Going through all of these struggles at such a young age, I was about fourteen or fifteen during this time, so this took a big toll on how I looked at things in life. During this time I also discovered that I loved to decorate houses and just make a space feel homey. A few years later I decided I wanted to become an interior designer for the purpose of making homes for homeless people. It really hurts my heart seeing homeless people on the street pushing their walmart carts full of clothes making their way to the next place they will be sleeping tonight. I know so many of them are freezing cold at night without the proper clothes and are also starving with the little food that they get everyday. Is a goal of mine for homeless people to not be afraid anymore. I want to provide them houses that they can use until they have picked themselves up and are able to provide for themselves without having to worry about where their next meal comes from, or whether or not they are going to get kicked out. No matter how long it takes them to build themselves back together I want to be the one who gives them a house, because I know how much it meant to me. You don’t really understand things until they actually happen to you, while I’m not too happy this is how my life went growing up, I am thankful to have gone through it, even if it wasn’t the worst someone has ever been. I wouldn’t be in college right now if my family and I hadn’t gone through this experience. Becoming poor sucks, it sucks a lot, you become limited to want you need and you feel restrained in life. If my family hadn’t become poor, I wouldn’t have been able to get scholarships to go to school. I would have had to do TCC like my older sister, who currently isn’t in college, nor did she finish school because she had to help my parents with moving and everything.

My outlook to create a positive change in my circle of influence is I have recently volunteered some of time to serve food at homeless shelters. Including my circle of influence, I got my friends to join me for a night of our lives to help the ones who need it more than us. With things at home, everything is still a trainwreck, there are boxes everywhere, we have about 2 huge trailers full of boxes from our previous home and our business that we had to shut down. Everytime I get the chance, which is about every other weekend or every third weekend. I take a few hours out of my day to help my family go through boxes and sort things out of what we want to sell/ keep. This past weekend I went down not only to help, but to also celebrate my mothers birthday. We had to postpone it about a week after her birthday, because we are all so busy all the time and we just never had the chance. I still want to make a positive outlook by doing more things to help homeless people. I give money to them, if I ever have enough to spare, or I will go get them water to keep them hydrated.

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You can be the Change in this World

As I mentioned in my last blog, going into this class I had no idea what exactly wicked problems were. From watching the 11th Hour Film my eyes started to finally open on how dreadful our world really is. I have grown to learn that wicked problems are not just deforestation, global warming, mass extinction, but are so much more. I also did not know what sustainability was either and I am sure millions of people do not know as well. Therefore, more people should be aware of sustainability issues, which are wicked problems. Today, I was scrolling through Nike to get some new shoes and I realized they have shoes that are made from sustainable materials. I thought this was very interesting because I have never seen a shoe labeled as made from sustainable materials that looks exactly like any other shoe. I believe that everyone should know what this means. As well as to what wicked problems are. Moreover, how simply buying the shoe that is made of the sustainable materials can help better the world.

From doing the infographic project I learned that throwaway fashion is a huge, wicked problem that many are not aware of, including myself. Furthermore, this project really opened my eyes to how horrible throwaway fashion really is. I learned that throwaway fashion can horribly impact the world resulting in harming innocent animals and even people. Many companies and consumers dump their clothes into landfills daily. This can lead to air pollution, causing people to breathe toxic chemicals such as methane and greenhouse gases. These are both very toxic to breathe and can lead to long term effects such as lung disease and respiratory disease. Greenhouse gases and methane can also lead to climate change, which can harm the environment. In addition, the waste of clothing could end up in oceans, lakes, rivers, etc. This can lead to harming innocent animals and their habitats. After I read articles after articles, I began to feel upset at how badly throwaway fashion can harm our world. I finally understood how wicked problems can be very serious. Therefore, I realized changes need to be made so our world can become stronger. It is sad to say, but I am a part of why throwaway fashion is such a wicked problem today. I have bought clothes from businesses who participate in throwaway fashion and had no idea. I have also thrown away clothes because I was too lazy to take them to thrift shops or donation places. Just thinking about how I am a part of wicked problems makes me sick. However, now I have a completely different perspective and truly want to change ways of how I am a part of the issue of wicked problems. I strongly believe that everyone should be aware of this problem. This class has helped me be more aware of my surroundings. Whether that may be throwing away trash on my way to class or simply listening to others when they need me. 

 I have gained and learned so much knowledge throughout this course. One thing that I learned from this course was that spreading awareness can simply get people’s attention. Whether that may be posting or reposting wicked problems on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Millions of people use these social media platforms every day. It can take one person to simply address wicked problems and the effect they can have on our world for people to truly understand. Then people will start to get an idea and adopt habits to help better the world. I found reusing and recycling can be extremely beneficial to helping our world become healthier. Now that I know about throwaway fashion and other wicked problems, I can start small and repost wicked problems on social media and inform my friends and family. Hopefully, opening their eyes and encouraging them to inform more people about wicked problems. Sharing wicked problems with people will help me feel better because I will know more people will start helping the world become cleaner. I can take the time to be upset and keep building my anxiety, but why waste time when I could be the one to step up and make a difference in our world. This course has enlightened and encouraged me to really understand wicked problems. Anyone can change the world. All it takes is taking the time to step up and inform people on how our world is being affected by wicked problems. 

Mindfulness practice has had a huge impact on me throughout this course, which has helped me take compassionate curiosity to the multiple ways I have learned about wicked problems. I have changed my perspective when understanding wicked problems, intellectually, emotionally, and somatically. Mindfulness practice helped me intellectually by doing the practices soothed my body, which helped me calm down by relaxing my muscles. This helped me be more aware of my surroundings. Making me more engaged and present in the moment. Each mindfulness practice that we did truly help me relax my body as well as my mind to help rejuvenate. Also, to help me have a fresh mind ready to learn about wicked problems. Mindfulness practice also helped me somatically by calming my anxiety as well, in which I was ready to listen and participate in the class discussions. Not only has mindfulness practice benefited me by relaxing my body and mind, but emotionally as well. Almost every day before I walked into class, I was very devastated because I knew we would discuss a devastating topic on wicked problems. My heart was heavy until I participated in mindfulness practice. This helped me get over my devastation about wicked problems. The main benefit that mindfulness practice had on me was it gave me a positive perspective on wicked problems instead of just focusing on the negative. We can take the time to worry and weep about the problems, but they are not going to get any better unless someone steps up to make a difference. Mindfulness practice helped me use my bodily sensations, mind, and heart to help me better understand dreadful topics. I am looking forward to applying mindfulness practice to my daily routine to help calm me down for anything. I also feel at peace and at home which can help me open up more and express my ideas no matter where I am at. 

What has really helped me develop humble and compassionate responses to wicked problems are the discussions we had in class and the mindfulness practices we did. Each discussion we broke down whatever wicked problem we were talking about, which really helped me see the true meaning of wicked problems. Bringing myself awareness helped me know wicked problems because I was able to interpret my thoughts and feelings especially when doing the mindfulness practices. My overall feeling about this class was I was very nervous because I did not know what wicked problems exactly were. However, after taking class day by day I began to open up and learn about such dreadful topics about wicked problems. Mindfulness practice played a huge role in helping me develop humble and compassionate responses to wicked problems. It helped me realize that being in peace helps you feel pleasing and more aware of your surroundings. Therefore, I believe the whole world deserves to be at peace and be able to be aware of their surroundings as well. Not only just the people, but the world itself. Our world is made so beautifully. Why do we want to keep harming it and making more wicked problems? If we commit to standing up to make a difference our world will be a more superior place.

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if there’s a problem there’s a solution

We see it every day, it is on our social media feed, it is on the news, it is in the papers, and it is talked about all around us. Do you scroll past, flip the channel, change the subject, or do you engage? What is it you may ask? It is the wicked problems going on in the world, it is no secret to us that they are going on around us and most of us just ignore them and go on. If we all just ignore them will they get better? No, the answer is quite obvious and we can put an end to it but living more sustainable it will just take the time and the effort to do just that. Before I took this course I was like everyone else and just kept on scrolling. I did not want to take the time to read the post or the article on my feed. DHM opened my eyes to the reality that was standing right in front of me. 

Wicked problems are not easily described. There are so many things it can be, for example, the most commonly known problem is pollution. Everyone knows it is going on, but does that stop us from using the products that create it? Most of the time no. There are small changes you can make to your everyday practice to become more sustainable and not cause more damage than there already is. An example of this could be to recycle. On our campus we have access to recycling everywhere, every trash can has a recycle bin for plastic and bottles right next to it, in the dorms they give us recycle bins along with our other trash cans. We can’t use time as an excuse here because they give us the opportunity and it doesn’t require any effort from us. It’s just an easy change.  Not only that but there are 10 recycling centers around Stillwater, which is just an easy way for us to start a more sustainable lifestyle. Wicked problems may seem easy to fix at first glance. They should be, but it could not all be done in a day, it would take years for us to undo the damage that we have caused. 

     Over the course of this class, I have learned some things I never even considered before. I never would think about problems going on around me. So I can not expect everyone else too. In this class, I learned inner mindfulness and how to practice it and I so learned of ways to practice sustainability. In class, we meditated in class and we were asked to find a daily practice that works for us to use outside of class as well. I have been practicing meditation before bed each night in order to have a night of better sleep and wake up more refreshed the next morning. It took me a while to find a way to work this into my schedule and was having a hard time focusing. It was not until we were in class one day and my professor told us to make it part of our schedule instead of trying to work it in, so that is what I did. Another thing in this course is a way to live a sustainable lifestyle, since the course has started I started practicing recycling and I started researching brands before I buy from them and only have been using cruelty-free and organic brands for my food. I stopped buying from cheat alternative shops online such as Shein that promote poverty-drawn sweatshops. After we talked about sweatshops I did some research on most of the name brands I was using and most of them were not good for the environment whether that be pollution, sweatshops, or tested their products on helpless animals. I now have made the switch to cruelty-free products and I am making the transition to do my part in becoming more sustainable things I never considered before this course. 

Sustainability can be defined as the capacity to endure in a relatively ongoing way across various domains of life. This simply means what we do now affects the generations to come. The way we impact the Earth is affecting how they live on it. Change is necessary, we are the generation to fix it so the next generation is taught to take care of the Earth. I believe that if we all work together and not against each other we can solve maybe not all but most of our wicked problems in the world. There are many good solutions to the core problem, but the problem is that they are all short-term and insignificant. These suggestions would help with some aspects of the problem, but in order to address the problem as a whole, we would need to present every viable solution, and then make a decision that might either fail and make things worse, or solve the problem. There are many wicket problems in our world that we as a society are completely clueless of because we are too engrossed in our own selves to even look up to see what the rest of the world is going through. It’s not a hard change we just have to wake up and do it and get out of our little bubbles and fix the problems that we caused.   This class taught me many things I feel like I was meant to know and new practices I did not realize would help me in my life overall. I use my new practices every day and have worked them into my own routine. I practice my mindful meditation at night, before this class I never considered meditating I did not know the benefits of meditation and have never thought about using it. Working it into my schedule was not easy for me at first because finding a time between work and school was difficult but once I decided to do it at night it became easier for me to participate in it.

The adjustments I have made in my life have really opened my mind and heart and of course my body to the world. I now know I must take care of myself and the world around me in order for the generations after me to do the same. We need to be spreading the news more about mindfulness and sustainability and not just keep scrolling past the post. These wicked problems are real and they are not going away unless we do something today! This course opened my mind and I can see that if we spread the word now we can make a change before it gets worse. Like I said in the beginning, and now that I have got my point across, would you still scroll past the post? Would you still turn to the next article? Or would you maybe just read what they have to say or interact with the post so it makes it to more people and spread the word. Maybe you could share it to your page or put it on your platform so others can see it, little things to spread awareness will help. We are all in this together but we all have to work together to make the change.

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