The World And Its People

The world is full of problems and insecurities. Its population is made of beings that have used its resources to help enhance their own lives, but by doing so, completely disregarding the planet’s capacity. The planet has been used and used to the point where it cannot continue to sustain the population and their needs any further. That’s the basic idea of this course, showing the problems with the human relationship with Earth, and how it could possibly be fixed. A lot of issues were discussed in this course: pollution, waste, overuse of recourses, etc. Naturally, I found them all be interesting and I found myself wanting to know more about these different wicked problems. This class was eye-opening for me in the sense that I didn’t realize just how poorly we cared for the planet. I also didn’t realize to the capacity of how poor condition the world is in and that we’re in the final minutes of causing irreversible effects that we’ll eventually have to learn how to live with.

With this course, I learned that my ways need to change. I need to do more research into the brands I’m buying from and supporting, as well as how to make my life more sustainable and not add to the huge amounts of pollution and waste we already have on our hands. Of course, as someone who can’t afford much, and being plus size on top of that, my options are already extremely limited, but I hope that’ll change in the future, and I hope to bring that change as well for myself and others. I also learned that the wicked problems we discussed don’t contain any real or proper solutions when it comes to fixing them. Creating a solution would only cause more problems in the end, and not everyone would agree on the terms of fixing the issues at hand. Wicked problems need extremely creative and crafty solutions, as well as one most can agree will be for the better and the benefit of others.

In the future, I would love to learn how to create different solutions to solve the wicked issues and try to end them for good. I want to understand how much time we have to fix things if we still can, and to solve this puzzle to the best of my ability. It would be extremely difficult, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try and attempt. I love the different ideas of erasing fast fashion and collecting clothes that are versatile, as well as different methods to gain power from reusable resources such as wind and solar power. We need to find these solutions while also trying to maintain our similar lifestyle, which I believe can be done. I don’t think we’ll have to live a life of complete frugality if it’s achieved correctly. Solving wicked problems is a very difficult task, and it cannot be placed on any one person’s shoulders, but if we all gather and put our ideas together, it can be possible and it can be done. We need to do everything in our power to try and reverse these effects that we have caused and to change our inevitable future for the better. There are some things that cannot be fixed by our hand, but with time, we can find keys of how to repair these damages we have created.

Lastly, I want to discussed of what I can do to help influence my own circle. As I am just one person, there isn’t much I can do when it comes to world-changing abilities, but I can help others I know to rethink their own ways of life and just how poorly they could be impacting the environment around them. I want to show other’s I know what littering does, as well as using large amounts of energy or gas. Many people, like me before taking this course, don’t even realize the type of damage they do to the world, and someone needs to shed the light for them. The biggest reason why most don’t realize is due to the secretive nature of the mass media when it comes to trying to cover these problems up, as well as many large names saying “global warming is simply a hoax”. There are many false facts roaming around, and many believe these to be true. All I can do is try my best to share with others the true nature of these issues and why they’re such a big problem. I hope I can influence my circle in a positive way and help them to spread information and influence their own circles when it comes to dispersing this knowledge.

Wicked problems are truly wicked in nature, posing trouble and making it almost impossible to come up with an effective solution of how to somehow mend it. However, if enough people spread the word and information of how poor the Earth’s condition truly is, then maybe we can find more and more people to try and help our cause. We need everyone who is willing to be involved come up with ideas and solutions of how to rectify this situation we have put ourselves in over the span of centuries. Any small idea is useful, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Everyone needs to put in their effort to change what we’ve caused. Industries need to change, policies need to be changed and new policies need to be implemented, It won’t be easy, and it won’t be achieved over time, but we need to be willing to do whatever it takes to restore the Earth to a better and proper condition so we can continue living here happily. This planet is our only home, and we need to take care of it. It’s truly so beautiful, and our works should be used to simply enhance it, not destroy it. We can change our ways and make this world a better place over time, all we need to do is try.

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Ways Forward

I’ve learned a lot through my Wicked Problem class. It has taught me that i’m new very little about this world. I was in my own little bubble and nobody could get me out of it. It’s shameful about how less I knew. To be honest I didn’t care about world disasters because none of this affect my life. The knowledge I learned in this class was that the end of the world is near unless we changed it. From the beginning of this class we watched a documentary about how it’s up to us to fix and mend our world before we go into catastrophe. It really opened my eyes to all these things I was oblivious too. Like how we are burning through too much fossil fuels and energy. This class really made me take a step back a look at the world around me. I’ve also had my friends step back and take a look arounds them . Mindfulness helped them through a lot of school work. Many of people in my class knew and I did not. I did not know that It would become an eye opener to a person who was completely oblivious. Not gonna lie though I felt really stupid in this class for not knowing. Clothing is slowly overpopulation the landfills. Using too many resources to fast. Burning through energy. I was also unaware about how bad natural disasters happen like acid rain, dumping waste into oceans, wildfires, flooding, warming seas, and arctic melting, soil erosion, fish going deeper into the ocean. Climate will never get better unless we do something about it. That’s just a few of them many have happened. I was also shocked about how the government has the resource and technology to help but they aren’t because they can’t agree on anything. Shouldn’t they all come to an agreement or at least try each one of these ideas to see which one works more effectively. Ultimately the president should be enabling something to help with the world. The most shocking one for me to hear was how the landfill was full of wasted clothes and textile. I had never knew that clothing over waste was such a large thing. It has been a trend to thrift shop and flip clothes around. Also the oversaturated companies that use the consumers weaknesses to there advantage. We’ve read about different arguments on how to save the world and different viewpoints on how authors would do it. but it seems that many people can’t agree so we aren’t really getting anything done. What I wish we would have spent more time on was the arguments I wish we could have went over it as a class and did some discussions then answered the questions. Those were hard to read and to comprehend. I’ve liked that we did go over a little bit of it in class but it wasn’t the best for learning. Also drawing out popsicle sticks was not good for my health I had so much anxiety every time my teacher mentioned drawing from them or just jingling them. I was panicking so bad that I was sweating, and having break downs. Definitely not my favorite, not the class for me. My heart would start racing thinking about attending. Some Major takeaways were looking to find sustainable ways like using our resources we already had, fixing the little problem before the big ones, Reading and comprehending, teaching others, discovering different viewpoints, Learned about Infographics, and finding solutions. I wished we could have used more in graphic and stuff like that it was fun. I think I would have learned and comprehendated more if we used something like that. Some solutions I am gonna start using is thrifting clothing and turning old ones into new ones. letting friends and family know and try not to buy from fast fashion stores. Fast fashion stores I never knew was bad. But after taking Wicked Problems I realized that fast fashion leads greatly to consumer disposal. The main reason I think people buy from fast fashion places is because it’s cheap and not that many people have the money to buy sustainable clothing and stuff. Also fast fashion stay on top of trends were as the other stores don’t really. I always wondered why people went along with trends. Making u your own style is was cooler. Thrift stores nowadays are so picked over that people don’t want things that aren’t in trend. Also thrift stores barley sell any of there stuff. I shall look keep informing people and do my best find better ways. My ability to impact people isn’t that. much from the small group of people I know but at work i’ll try to spread the word and get people talking about it more. and recycle more also to donante. Having our generation be the ones to have to step up and fix the mistakes of those before us is a lot of pressure but with how our generation is today I think we will be okay because we have a lot of fight in us and aren’t afraid to speak our minds. A way I think helps sustainability is this app Depop and lets other people sell their old clothings also people making their old clothes into new things. The change our generation is gonna make it going to be the turning point in the right direction to society. Nobody could stop us. Another major takeaway is the mindfulness practices. They really helped me relax and be in the moment. Probably one of my favorite things we did. I already colored before but using coloring and focusing on nothing else going on in life. I think that everybody should do mindfulness practices especially college students because our lives are always moving fast and we momments to just be still and enjoy the moment. Mindfulness practices could also be used by government officials and scientist, so people can agree on how to fix the environment.

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Final Thoughts

Wicked Problems of Industrial Practice has really taught me so much more than I ever expected it to. We were always encouraged (and almost forced) to interact with the learning community in class. This brought me so much more knowledge about many things. Firstly, I was able to see multiple perspectives on every single issue discussed. Everybody in our class seemed so smart and knowledgeable about topics and this really enhanced my learning experience. The professor could just put her PowerPoint up, ramble on for an hour and a half, and leave me learning nothing. But instead, she guided a conversation of many issues throughout the whole duration of the class. This not only made me pay attention, but also helped engrain the thoughts of others and content into my head. On the first day of class, it was explained to us that we would have to participate and half to talk in front of the whole class. I am not going to lie, I wanted to drop the course then and there and I dreaded going back to the class the next week. But as time went on, I really started to understand how beneficial this was and started to hate it less and less. I also was really dreading the breakout rooms because I knew I would be paired up with people that I did not know and have to talk to them about what I thought, which wasn’t much in the beginning. I started to enjoy these breakout rooms more throughout the eight weeks because we started to get place in groups that were specific to our major. This made me more comfortable and actually made me feel like my input was worthy. Things I learned from the forced interaction that were more specific to the course content were different views on climate change, global markets, poverty, fashion, and the economy. I found it very helpful that when it came to our pre class readings, half of the class would read the “yes” argument and half would read the “no”. We would go into class with formed opinions due to the article we read, but hearing the other side speak on their opinions helped me to see more than my side to the problem. I believe that this is a major skill that everyone in society needs to pick up. There are obviously many different views in society, but if you can educate yourself on what you believe and then engage in an educated discussion with people of opposing views, you are really able to see both sides to an issue and be less biased. When it comes to things that I wish that we had gotten more time to explore with the learning community, I would say those would be the movie we watched, The 11th Hour and major focused topics. In our last class meeting, we heard from every single classmate about what we enjoyed and took away from the movie. I wish that this had been a more in-depth conversation because I enjoyed hearing everyone’s different perspectives. We heard about the town of Perry, Oklahoma and their struggle with opposing views on electricity. This helped me apply the movie to real world issues. I also wish that we had engaged in more major focused activities or breakout rooms. We started to do this towards the end and with the activity on the Paris Climate Agreement in relation to fashion and I feel that this also helped me engage more in the activity. Overall, I enjoyed the learning community atmosphere of the class and believe that it truly helped me learn something. 

My first takeaway from this course would come from watching The 11th Hour. I was very unaware of the world around us and quickly became very anxious of the fact that the problem of climate change is much bigger than I could ever imagine. The film honestly made me scared while watching it. I was never aware that consumers, the industry, and the government were all such a driving force of climate change. My favorite things from the film were when they talked about taxes and the consumer “vote”. It never once crossed my mind to lower income tax and raise tax on renewable resources. This is really cool to me because it all evens out, there are no taxes being added, they are just being allocated towards more efficient goals. The consumer “vote” stuck in my head because I had never thought about this before. They talked about how anytime you pay for anything, you are basically saying that you support everything the company stands for and are enabling them to do these things. When you buy from unsustainable companies, you are just further encouraging unsustainable goals. Another takeaway I have from the class is how my field, the fashion industry, furthers the problem of climate change. There is so much waste being produced from materials and I never really thought about this. For the final infographic assignment, we were paired with a group from our majors. My group chose to focus on the problem of sweatshops. I learned that this not only adds to climate change, but also encourages unethical work practices. I soon figured out that this is a wicked problem for many reasons that I had never realized before.

Problems that I am taking away from this course that I want to learn more about is the governments effect on climate change, how poverty affects global degradation, and fashion and sustainability. I really enjoyed learning about how the government plays such a large role in climate change and want to learn more about this because I believe that that is where change really happens. Once you can get the government on your side, things start to happen. I also want to learn more about how poverty affects global degradation because I never realized that this was really an issue. We got to learn more about it in class, but I want to know more. I also want to learn more about fashion and sustainability because that is related to what I want to do in the future and I believe that if enough students in fashion right now can get a grasp on this issue, we will begin to see change in the future.  

I believe that I am fully capable of impacting positive change in my circle of influence. I think that after this class I have become much more aware of the world around us and much more educated on many issues. I have already began talking to my peers about what I have learned because I feel truly passionate about it. Once you get people talking, change will happen. 

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The last and final blog post…it is so crazy to think that just about 8 weeks ago I came into this class with little to no understanding of the issues our world was really facing, and now I have a whole new understanding on ways I can help diminish the carbon footprint being left behind. I had absolutely no idea what a “Wicked” problem was, and no idea the light this class would shed on how much our world needs our help. We face situations everyday that put our world more and more at risk and in order to find the best solution we have to be able to understand the problem and analyze it from all angles. 

The learning community this semester was absolutely amazing. I think all of us were able to build on one another’s input and ideas, and it created a very natural flow within the learning environment we know as zoom. I am a visual learner, so being online has been a big struggle for me this semester, but with the interactiveness of this class and being able to work with other students has really helped, and although this semester was bizarre and not what we are used to I think being able to lean on each other’s understanding helped solidify my understanding of the material being covered. I really enjoyed the breakout rooms and working with my team on the infographic project. The infographic project was a fun and interactive way to bring more awareness to one of the many big issues in our world today. 

My biggest takeaway from this class is that of being mindful and practicing mindfulness. I guess I thought of mindfulness as a way of taking my mind to a different place to distract myself from what was stressing me out, and with everything that has happened this year I have definitely put mindfulness on the back burner.During all of this craziness that 2020 has thrown at us I realized I kind of lost myself, and with the mindfulness practice that we have done in class I have taken a step back and looked at the kind of person I am and the kind of person I want to be.

It is so important that we as humans are mindful about what is happening in our world, and we need to make sure that our actions day in and day out reflect that mindfulness. Thinking back to before I took this class I thought a lot of the global warming, save the turtles, recycle, etc… were more for publicity than for the actual benefit of our world. It’s sad to think that that was my mindset, but I was never provided an opportunity to step back and truly evaluate the big issues at stake. Earth is designed to adapt the same way the human body is designed to adapt to its surroundings however with the way that we are running our world right now and it’s causing issues that are becoming irreversible. The eleventh hour movie was a very eye-opening educational opportunity. The topic in class this past week was the final hour of the 11th hour movie, and we discussed as a class what steps we could take to be able to take action and start taking care of our world, our home. We are in our final hour before it will be too late to fix these issues. I plan to take all of the material I have learned about sustainability and put that into practice. I want to be part of the chain reaction that helps restore our world into what it is meant to be. More than half the time we are all wrapped up in our cellphones on social media to even realize what is happening outside of the little box in our hand. If we paid half as much attention to what is actually happening in the real world as we do to what’s going on on social media we would actually be able to make a difference, and diminish our carbon footprint. I really want to take all the material that I have learned from this course this semester and just run with it. I want to keep learning about it, I want to keep promoting it and I want to let other people that may not be aware of what’s happening in our world aware and how they can help as well. I think it is so important that we as the human race start practicing what we’ve been preaching for years, because this is it. I loved practicing mindfulness in class with meditation, because it helped me escape all of the stress and chaos that this semester has been and brought me to a moment of peace and tranquility that I think we can all use from time to time.

In conclusion this was one of my favorite classes I have taken at OSU. The way the learning material was presented made it easy to understand, and Dr. Armstrong made sure to be as interactive as possible despite the unprecedented circumstances of this semester. From practicing mindfulness to identifying wicked problems that surround us every single day I will be walking away from this course with a much larger and stronger understanding of what is happening in our world. My perspective has grown and my horizons have been broadened about what I myself can do to help our environment, but also what I can do to help myself. Through the mindfulness practice I have learned that I need to step back sometimes and look at the bigger picture. Now that I have a better understanding of the real issues our world is facing, I am looking forward to being more aware of what is happening in our world and doing my research to make sure I do my part to help. Here’s to a new and better understanding of a sustainable future. We are in our final hour and it is time to take action. 

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Start Making a Change. Today.

Wicked problems are not going anywhere and they aren’t discussed enough. When taking this course, I knew that there was going to be a lot of heavy debates and discussions. Maybe even some disagreements. And that kind of worried me to the point of is this class really worth the hot water I was going to set my foot in. To be honest, I did have some pressure throughout the whole course and yes, it was difficult. But so were the wicked problems at hand. My learning community was very diverse and with class discussions, I met all kinds of people. We were all able to enhance each other’s window of brainstorming and generating ideas as well as understanding what  a wicked problem is. Interesting thoughts arose in class discussions that opened my mind to even more possibilities and future solutions. The knowledge of just realizing that wicked problems exist is the first step in order to solve the issue, and even doing so is difficult because of how serious trouble the world is in at this very moment. It’s worrisome and people have yet to acknowledge the issue and act on it. My peers in this class come from very different majors but we all have a shared interest in what this world is capable of, such as slowing down global warming and switching to more sustainable options. The break out rooms that I was moved into with different people were very interesting and much needed. They’re have been times that no words were exchanged. But we are all in this class to understand a global issue and that’s enough to start taking action. The interactions as a whole class would be my favorite times. People are naturally shy and that’s okay. I’m a very shy student and I don’t take part in discussions with serious problems but that doesn’t mean I’m not passionate about the topic. I keep watching everyone else share their thoughts, I listened with open ears, excited to see what others had felt towards the situation. And when ever I talked, everyone else would listen and build on that same thought. It may take Dr. Armstrong a few popsicle sticks to really get students to engage but there are students who were willing to share regardless.

I wish I was able to feel confident in what I say. There were many times that I couldn’t speak fearing it may be based off of incorrect info or that I would see a laughing face in one of the zoom cameras. But it was my own inability to share what I felt strongly with the matter of world issues and constant production of waste. I needed more time to get used to this class but considering that it’s only eight weeks of a few hours on Tuesday evenings was pretty hard to get used to. There was also a couple of times that people within my group would be absent and within the eight weeks, it was time sensitive. My group ended up making it work and I felt proud of our work and time together as a group. The takeaways of this course mostly took place in the subject itself. I knew that this world was self destructive and I knew that as human beings, we are capable of reversing the damage we had caused. But who would want to change into a sustainable, healthy world when what we got is “good enough”? People aren’t influenced by what science and results have shown that proves our world is dying, at least not easily. There are for sure plenty of videos that upset more people today then it did in the past and I know my generation will do better. It’s not a choice anymore, we will do better. Or there won’t be a world left. It’s only a matter of time now that we all decide to come together and change how we live, change the way we reduce our trash, change the way we consume energy and resources. As much as I wish I could say that there is time, there really isn’t. There is not enough time for us to do a full turn around because so much has happened over the past centuries. And we are running out of time just realizing it now. We have to change, there’s no more time to think. We need to act as soon as possible.

The fashion industry will be my main goal in the future. I am studying fashion, specifically design and fashion production. So I’ve been learning how to minimize fabric scraps and how there are designs that are zero-waste designs when making certain kinds of garments. I came across this type of design while studying with my fellow fashion design peers about the matter at hand. The impact of numbers can affect is true, the more minds and hands that tactile the same problem will make an even greater change. My fashion friends and I have discussed of what and why we decided to become a designer, and fashion design is important as the fashion industry is a growing problem to the wicked problem of waste and pollution. I also know that with the support of many and shared interest, there will be a more sustainable and healthier side to the fashion industry as a whole as well as use the power of influence and branding to promote sustainability to consumers. It’s the positive change that will make the biggest impact on the lives as well as the benefit for the environment. The fashion industry is a wicked problem, and just myself and a few other designers within my graduating class is not enough to influence this change but we can spread the word and create a number that will make that change happen. Zero waste designs are already taken into place but people aren’t aware of this intelligent idea and that’s why fast fashion is still the way for consumers to easily get and throw away clothing at a damaging rate to the environment. But after this class, I will encourage others as well as improve my confidence in my ability that change is what needs to happen and it will happen during my lifetime. This generation is going to be the generation that saved the earth and eliminate the need to live off of over consumption. We can do it. We are more then capable and the world needs us to start listening and acting.

I’m going to wake up and start my day with one goal in mind. And I’m not going to let another day pass me by. Life may be the longest thing we do, but I’m sick of wasting my days doing nothing.

What about you?

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The Final Ramble

Over the course of the past 2 months I have learned quite a bit about sustainability and fashion. I had no idea of what to expect. I come from an engineering background, so I was interested in diversification. This helped me to understand aesthetic design much better just form the peripheral material. I learned part of the philosophy of this field. I found it to be an interesting experience. I found myself lost in certain spots of the course. I did not understand many of the industry references. For example I did not understand the references to rayon. I’m still not entirely sure what the issue is. I found that much of the references would have benefited from a bit more detail for the non-DHM students. 

I found a new appreciation for sustainability from this class. Before I found many environmentalist arguments to be subpar. I found the origins of major climate activist organizations troubling. Many were started by former soviet politicians, and so the movement always stank of Marx. After reading some of the articles and literature in this class that come from an area outside of the centralized economic sphere, I found myself seeing better solutions to issues that were real. I also found that this issue did not just belong to misanthropes who found sub-species of sub-species more important than human beings. There were sensible arguments with a people first attitude. A range of voices were shown to me through this class. 

I found that the term wicked problem is an issue unique to the social aspect of life. Most issues have fairly definitive and concrete methods of resolution. However, the social sphere does not. You constantly risk violating one group’s rights. For example, pollution in the 3rd world is a huge issue, but do we really just strip them of their sovereignty? 

What about the issue with Nike? They donate to black charities and give these social movements millions in free press. However they rely on wage, and in some cases literal, slaves to make their products in China. There is also the issue with many areas in China with open segregation against black people. Not to mention the environmental impact that China has on the world. What do we do? If the US was to tell Nike they cannot use China, then they will just leave the US and sell to the rest of the word. There is not really a way to win in this situation and the hypocrisy of these major corporations will stand. I’ve found through this class it is often a question of ‘how much?’. 

Despite this new information I still believe that the only place change can be meaningfully and morally implemented is on the individual level. For example I don’t buy Nike if I can help it. I don’t over consume when possible. I try to be an example of what I want the world to be. I do my best to educate myself and those that wish to know what I know. I have found that these are the best ways to influence change. 

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Last Reflections

Throughout this semester the types of knowledge and experiences that I was most able to enhance are the knowledge about all these wicked problems that I had no Idea were wicked problems, such as climate change, which I didn’t think was real until this class had me looking at the facts and patterns over the course of the past years. Upon looking at the facts and learning about climate change in class I would like to do my part in helping to change the course of climate change. Another Wicked problem I learned about that stood out to me during this semester is sustainability. Another experience I will take away from this class is learning about how harmful current products of interior design can be to the environment. The major takeaways that I took during this class was learning and talking about organizations such as LEED, which is an organization that is utilized for rating green building, and learning about how to meditate and relax.I have found the use of meditation very useful for calming down, de stressing, and reflecting. I plan to continue the practice by meditating on my own everyday as well as trying out yoga classes. The fall of Easter island is another topic that I was really interested in. It also made me compare what the people living on Easter island did for their society to fall so fast, and compare the similarities between how they utilized the environment to how we as a society use our resources.

Another experience that I learned a lot from during this semester is the pre discussions we were assigned to read and write about before class. During the pre discussions I learned about things that I wouldn’t have even thought about such as the fall of easter island. Had I not been assigned to read about the fall of Easter island I would have had no knowledge of the event, and never would have been able to compare how the people of Easter island used up the island’s resources, to how we as a society seem to use our resources constantly and like they will never run out. I also really enjoyed the usage of breakout rooms in zoom. I loved the chance to talk with fellow students about the problems we face in society as well as solutions, and then discussing them as a whole class.  Things I definitely want to learn more about in the future, and utilize in the future is the information I learned through participating in the infographic project. Through this project I learned that there are products that I can utilize in interior design that are healthier for people, and the environment, such as using plant based paint instead of paint that contains volatile organic compounds, and the use of drywall that Is better for the environment. I also want to learn more about how I can reduce my habits that may be harmful to the environment, and how I can change those habits.

Furthermore I have also been doing my own research about how I can change my habits to lessen my, and the people around me carbon footprint. Since quarantine I have been biking to a lot of places instead of using my car and plan to continue because not only does it reduce my carbon footprint, it’s also been great for working out, and my overall health. I have also been looking up recipes and tips for eating that will reduce my carbon footprint such as eating less meat and more fruit and vegetables, and saving leftovers when I eat out instead of throwing them away like I would typically do. My family and I have also been recycling and plan to continue. My sisters and I also paint a lot and have switched to ordering paint that is less harmful to the environment from a site called natural earth paint. We have also taken the time to learn how to make our own paint from a blog called simply living well. We use water, clay, and spices to create our colors and have had fun doing this together. In the future I plan to help people choose products and make choices that are healthier for the environment. I also plan to continue to do research on changing habits and creating new ones to lesson my carbon footprint as well as the people around me. This class has really opened my eyes to the problems in society and has helped me want to create healthier habits for myself and the people around me. I have really enjoyed being a part of this class and learning about the wicked problems we face as a society.

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It All Comes Down To This

Throughout this semester in Wicked Problems I have learned so much about how the world functions. The functions of the world are primarily made up of non-sustainable ideas. The ignorance a typical person has towards the emissions of production, lives are put at risk in production, and the environment is rapidly declining. The people of the world must understand what is happening through production of every item they purchase daily. Even things as simple as purchasing a shirt or turning on a light have a huge impact on the environment. Things will not change unless someone takes a step towards change. Change can start just through one person making a difference within their circle of influence. This change can be met by many other people who strive for the same cause. This has been seen throughout history and through many movements. Change is possible, it just needs to start. Luckily, my generation already has a leg up. The generation before us has already started talking about the environment, researched the effects of unsustainable practices put in place before them, and have started denouncing these acts. My generation has the key to environmental sustainability. We grew up hearing about global warming and changes in the environment throughout our most influential years. During these years we may have doubted the change, or we may have accepted it and started making a change right away. Our families may have been against the idea or our families may have been for it. All together there is no denying that climate change is real and that a step towards sustaining our future is necessary. My generation is made up of the next leaders in the world. These leaders will have the chance to push sustainability toward the top of the list where it needs to be. WE must work together to accomplish a similar cause. There is no place for ignorance anymore. Ignorance must be stomped out by spreading sustainable practices throughout our city, state, region, country, and the world. Each of these can be accomplished by one person lighting a fire in everyone else. The climate is no longer up for question, it must be sustained. Personally I am willing to make this change. It all starts within oneself to independently think and aspire to be greater. This greatness may start as simple with what you purchase. Purchasing items that are sustainably grown, produced, shipped, and sold are the best options. These products may be more expensive at the time, but they are the future of products and must be cherished for what they are. The purchase of energy becomes a little complicated as clean energy is not as easy to come by as many may think. Sure it is simple to put solar panels on top of your future home and use less grid energy, but these solar panels are not made with sustainable materials. Solar panels are some of the least efficient energy producers and are produced with just as toxic materials to the environment as coal, natural gas, and oil are releasing through power generation. The cleanest type of energy is at the moment is hydro energy. Hydro has issues of itself by mainly being produced through dams. Dams have their own issues in environmental impact and cannot be placed everywhere to allow for everyone to use it. Sustainable energy must be carefully thought of and decided. There is no exact solution for a perfectly clean energy source. During my college years I am studying sustainable design in the architecture world. This has lead me to promise myself that I will create cleaner building that will reduce the need for energy and be constructed of clean materials. Industry is the largest consumer of energy, commercial buildings come in next, then residential. Commercial buildings can be made to be more sustainable through less energy use and material sustainability. The best way to do this is to start from the beginning. Have a purpose to create sustainable buildings and do it well. Some of the most sustainable buildings are those that have been reused. This recycling of buildings not only recycles materials, but also allows a designer to have a second chance at making the building better for the environment. This is a step all architects should be considering. How can we make buildings better for the environment? We start to make a change towards sustainability and strive for that goal. Industries will follow in suit as we continue toward sustainability.

Within the wicked problem course I am pleased with what I learned and how passionate about sustainability I have become. I wish we could have done more research about specific topics in our future fields. I personally did some research about steel production within a group, however I wish there was more time to research a topic that is more interesting to me. Sustainability cannot be researched all in eight weeks, I understand that, however I wish there was more time to research and plan for a better future. Wicked problems covered a wide range of topics including industry, interior design, and architecture. I would love to learn more about my specific field of architecture and learn about how each part of a building can be more sustainable. These things I will apply best in my professional life. I appreciate learning about other topics such as industry to be mindful of when I purchase items throughout my daily life. I will be applying many course topics in my daily life and look forward to a sustainable future of my own. It all starts with a change and that change starts now.

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Any Last Words?

As the class comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on all the many concepts and new ideas that have illuminated my journey through Wicked Problems of Industrial Practice. The class explored the many facets of how environmental issues are diagnosed and what makes the truly “wicked.” Concepts of sustainability have not just been taught but truly nurtured as well as the ability to actually address those concepts and adopt them into a plan for action. This class brought together designers of broad and wide backgrounds together to grasp how to truly define those concepts of designing with humility. This means that instead of having the belief that a designer’s plan will completely address an issue, designing with humility means that designers design with the intent to always innovate and improve. Designing with humility was a completely new concept to me when I first started this class but it has now been indoctrinated into my approach to not only professional but also personal design concepts. In this sense my biggest area of enhanced knowledge has been my design philosophy.

An architectural approach to design, while elaborate in it’s own sense must be modified to include a more modest approach. This may initially seem contradictory as architecture is a process of elaborating an otherwise vernacular structure into a piece of art, but the opposite cannot be more true. A design of humility is a design lacking overzealous ambition, not lacking beauty or elaboration. In truth, humility perhaps requires more of an elaborative approach in order to continue addressing future wicked problems. If a designer doesn’t elaborate on a wicked problem before addressing it, more problems typically arise as a result of a short-sighted solution. A critically examined plan will elaborate on specifics so that unforeseen problems are no longer unforeseen.

I wish I had gotten more time to explore the concept of mindfulness and practiced it more often after completing our assignments over it. The introduction of a new way to organize and calm my day was greatly appreciated and I plan on extending my knowledge of the concept by continuing to practice meditation. While there are many forms of mindfulness, this is the most common and worked the best for me during the fall semester. This exercise in mindfulness helps with connecting to nature in ways too serene to be commonplace in a bustling world, numbed to nature. I believe it to be one of the few helpful things in helping with anxiety this year for myself.

My biggest takeaway however from this course was not the curriculum at all, but instead the discussions and conversations had during class. Many conversations and class discussions allowed me to interact with a multitude of other opinions, both agreeing and disagreeing with my own. These interactions allowed me to further my own thoughts on environmental issues as well as the solutions to those issues. I found out that my solution may not be the same as other students in priorities or strategy. This type of diverse thought process challenges and only furthers knowledge on sustainability and allows me to think about which solutions are the best to fully as well as realistically address wicked problems.

One such excellent conversation had recently focused on raising taxes on oil and natural gas in order to deter consumers from overuse of non-renewable resources. This solution was met by surprising amounts of criticism from other students in the class however, which started an excellent conversation into what a better solution would be to address oil and natural gas. The student who criticized the solution was concerned about raising taxes on towns with poor economies and the negative effects that will play on their lives. This was a point that I had not thought of as when I usually think about sustainability it usually helps people instead of hurting them. This was something that was very controversial within the discussion group and raised a lot of questions but was ultimately an issue that ended on a positive note as well. If anything both sides of the conversation had a chance to better understand each other and walk away with more knowledge of the issue.

One problem that I will continue to  be thinking about is the solution to the issue of oil and natural gas companies and the dependency many economies have on this industry. In Oklahoma particularly this is a hot button subject due to one of the main sources of income in the state being oil and natural gas. A large scale conversion of this industry to renewable energy is an important step towards fixing the environmental crisis caused by fossil fuels dominance in society. 

A strong point made through this class is the potential for personal actions to change the world. Through the semester, the class has been introduced to multiple organizations that fight for the environment and all of the natural systems that humans rely on for survival. These organizations and movements started with one design plan to address an environmental problem in society. This design plan had to be organized from the start and address every part of the problem. It was encouraged throughout the semester to draw inspiration from these sources when thinking of ways to affect your own personal sphere of influence and create positive change.

As I reflect one final time, I can’t help but think of my ability to not only become active by personally reducing my plastic use but also in larger ways. The Stillwater community has large issues with recycling and often gets overwhelmed. This is a problem that creates more waste in the long run and creates an even bigger issue that was originally conceived. By becoming more active in the sustainability department of Campus as well as contacting City Hall, I believe that I will be able to make much needed change towards helping my local community have the ability to recycle and reduce waste thrown into the environment. This is an obtainable and possible goal that will require time and work but I am very interested in doing that before I am able to become an architect and focus on sustainability within a professional scope. Whether or not I succeed, I have tools and information from this class to use that I did not before and have fully enjoyed this experience.

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What I’ve Learned- Final Blog

These past eight weeks of chaos in this crazy time I have been enrolled online in the Oklahoma State course, Wicked Problems of Industrial Practice for Design Housing Merchandising students and I have learned quite a bit. Despite not being one of those design merchandising students, and despite the madness of the times,  I have learned about the course material as well as various problems we studied,  about the people I have worked with and how their mindsets work. I have also learned about myself and how my own thinking can be beneficial as well as harmful to the world around me. The type of learning we did in this course involved a lot of small group discussion and breakout rooms, in addition to meeting as a whole class, and I think that doing so made this course an incredibly beneficial as well as thought enhancing experience. Even within my own info graphic project group, we all had very different ideas, opinions, life experience, and ways of going about things that gave us a chance to learn from each other. It was really incredible to get to hear out, as well as learn from , my group members  and other individual’s opinions and perspectives on multiple wicked problems that were discussed throughout the course. In addition to learning things from my fellow students, I have taken away knowledge of several things from this class itself, but I would say the primary thing that I have learned is that wicked problems, if they are truly wicked, have no single or perfect solution. They have many solutions and none of these solutions are the end all be all for that problem. I would like to say that coming into this class I learned the cure to cancer, learned how to resolve all global as well as local conflicts, learned how to end poverty, and learned how to undo man’s effects of global warming, but I did not do this. Instead, I came out of this class with a greater understanding of the breadth of the complexities of wicked problems such as these and many others. I now understand that the problems that truly plague humanity as well as our planet are understood in many different ways by different groups of people with different interests, and the solutions to these confusing problems are viewed in the same way- there are numerous varying solutions for all these wicked problems and there is no one size fits all. 

After working on this group project info graphic for multiple weeks, I realized there is quite a bit more I would like to learn about a few of the topics that were covered in class. One of these is the problem of plastic pollution that my group and I created our info graphic over and I would like to better understand what I, as an individual, can do to help keep the plastic pollution out of the ocean, waterways, landfills, etc. Another thing I want to understand better is the fundamentals of global warming and the multitude of possible solutions and approaches. The final thing  that was discussed throughout class time that I want to understand better is the idea of cap and trade as a solution to multiple pollution issues. It is a concept I have never fully understood so I would like to learn more about cap and trade as a potential solution as well as how this is regulated by the government, so that I can better understand how we can use this concept in the future to help solve our numerous pollution issues. On the other side of things, although it is often difficult to see, every individual has the ability to have a positive impact within their personal circle of influence. I realize that I have the ability to make waves, even if they are small ones. My primary example that I like to use on how one person can make said waves, is the time I convinced my grandparents to start recycling. After just a few weeks of recycling everything from paper to glass, it was going very well and they felt they were making a positive impact alongside me, so they started talking to their friends at church and some of those families started recycling too after we talked to them. I am at University where I am becoming further educated and, now that I am at college, as well as have made many college friends, my circle of influence is even wider, so I can further make an impact on the world about the things I very passionately care about.

Overall, I have greatly enjoyed this course and all that I have learned from it. I feel that coming out of this course I am a better communicator, a more mindful thinker, as well as a more passionate person. I learned so much from my peers who were nothing but kind and wonderful, I learned so much from my professor who was very patient, kind,  and has great taste in music, and I learned a lot from myself- once I was able to take a deep breath and a step back to be grounded. I will continue to practice trying to be a mindful individual and meditating so that I can make a positive impact towards solving some of the wicked problems within my own field. I can also continue to strive for spreading positive influence within my own circle of influence so I can spread the ideas that are most important to me, while also being open to other interpretations of wicked problems as well as other people’s ideas for solutions. Going forward I will carry this fundamental understanding that wicked problems are not a one size fits all when it comes to understanding them as well as finding solutions, I will also carry the understanding that to go about solving any of them, we need to look at these things from multiple perspectives and do our best to accommodate all of the most significant ones.

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