my sustainability journey

This week’s topic has really opened my eyes to many global and environmental issues that are happening in the world right now as we speak. I have always been one to care so much about our environment and always went the extra mile to participate in beach clean ups, donations, buying reusable bags, etc but it was not until the last year or so when I got more involved with watching the news and keeping up with our government plans that I realized I did not know enough and the extent what our world globally is going through. After I became so interested I begone doing my own researches and looking up recently posted articles by people all around the world that I could not find on the news. I was shocked with some of the things I read and I could not believe these stories and issued were not “news worthy” because to me, everyone should be hearing more about climate change, global warning and the things humans are doing that keeps damaging out earth. This week during our class we were paired into groups and asked to come up with something that we believed was a wicked problem and my group came up with its own and I figured a lot of groups would have some of the same answers, things that are the most talked about, for example, fast fashion, water pollution, air pollution, etc but after reading everyone else’s post, every topic was so different. Myself, who I have always saw to be very into helping the environment was not aware or educated on majority of some of the problems and issues my classmates wrote. And that really opened my eyes and I realized just how much more there was going on in the world that I had no idea about, getting to know some of my classmates and hearing their thoughts and what they are educated on made me realize that each student and each human are different in many ways and pay attention to different subjects that interest them. For instance I am a fashion major so the first wicked problem that came to mind when given that assignment was fast fashion, because that is what interest me and that is what I learned about the most in my classes. But other students with different majors and interest had different first responses than me and that made me realize that we are what we know by what we surrounded by and the type of learning environment that we are in. I like being in this type of class because it gives me insight on other people’s minds and thoughts and hearing from other students that are just like me talk about various and different problems that are going on in the world that should be talked about more educates me and others to be mindful of those issues and to spread awareness. I believe this class and other sustainability courses are important to universities. 

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Towards a Sustainable Future

One of the biggest takeaways from this course is that it is going to take everyone to save the environment. It’s going to take every mind thinking of anything and everything we can do to stop polluting the environment and start saving it.  Like was said in the 11th Hour, the human race may die off, but the planet will be fine, it will regenerate. By getting everyone to start working towards a greener future, there will be a future for the human race to look forward to.  Another takeaway from this course is that the solutions we come up with now are not going to be the permanent solution. As we learn and understand more about climate change and global warming, the solutions will also advance and get better. But that doesn’t mean that we should give up and say ‘that’s the next generation’s problem’ like has been said so many times in the past. I really enjoyed getting to discuss all of these topics with other students that have the same mindset as me. It really helped me to further understand the subjects getting to hear what other students understood from it and questions they had about it. I think the biggest thing I was able to bring to the discussions in this class is the perspective of an architect. Because the majority of this class was design and merchandizing students, explaining the view from my specialty helped me the further their knowledge on the topics discussed and to see that, like it stated in the beginning, it will take all specialties to work towards a greener future. One thing that I didn’t get the chance to share about was the sustainable opportunities on campus and the USGBC (United States Green Building Council) student club here at OSU. This club is relatively new on campus, so many students don’t know about it. There were so many students in this class that seemed very passionate about sustainability and I think they would really enjoy becoming a part of this club. Some of the opportunities that this club has to offer is cross discipline sustainable design competitions, LEED Certification study groups, real world experience with designing sustainable projects, and more. Despite not getting the chance to talk about this club, there are some other things that we did talk about in class that I want to learn more about in the future. One of the topics specifically is whether poverty works for or against a sustainable future and how we as designers can ‘attack poverty while improving the environment.’ This topic is something I was interesting in before we even talked about it in class, and when we did it furthered my interest in it. My goal as an architect is to really make a change in the conditions of people in poverty all over the United States and maybe even all over the word. There are so many empty and/or abandoned houses and buildings across the United States, but there are still thousands of people living on the streets, homeless. Another topic that I want to continue to learn about now and in the future is how to design buildings to be greener while being budget conscious and available to the public and how we might regulate requiring new building and homes to follow specific sustainable guidelines. This is an important topic to me because it is a problem that is almost specifically targeted towards my future occupation. As more and more people begin to realize what is going on with the environment and that it is our own fault, they are going to want to start doing more things about it. By learning about these things now, I will be able to help other people learn about them and implement them into their existing homes or buildings.

                I think overall I will be able to impact minimal change in my circle of influence. The biggest impact I will be able to make is on other students, both older and younger, in the architecture program here at OSU. So many new students don’t know about sustainability and that it is even an option to study it and take courses about it.  By helping the make it more known that these types of courses are offered, I can help to open the minds of so many more students to looking towards a sustainable future. The other impacts that I have in my circle of influence include the USGBC club. I am the secretary of the club and one of my closest friends is the President of the club. Through this club I will be able to help more students get more excited about sustainability through projects, competitions, and other school sponsored activities. I think that I won’t be able to make that big of an impact on my most inner circle of influence which is my family and roommates. My family is very steadfastly on the said that global warming is not as big of a problem that everyone is making it out to be because we have no idea the kinds of changes the earth went through before the human race existed, so we don’t know if this is natural or if we are causing it. I have tried to change their minds, but they are very stubborn. I have been able to get them to start recycling and trying to use less disposable things like plastic cutlery, plastic cups, to-go cups, etc. I believe that this is a very big step in the right direction for my family. As for my roommates, as college students who don’t have very much extra money it is very hard to prioritize living more sustainably when you are just trying to survive the rest of the semester and a pandemic. We try our best to bring our own bags to the grocery store, use reusable cutlery, plates, bowls, and cups, and we try to minimize our waste when cooking.

                Overall, I really enjoyed this course. It opened by eyes to problems and solutions that I had never even thought of. I especially liked having the class split and read two different sides of an argument and then get to discuss those sides in class.

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A Lot Can Change In 8 Weeks

When I first started this course I really didn’t know what to expect and how this class would be something I needed to take for my major, but then I realized how it actually was a big part of my major. This class was one of my favorites that I had throughout  this semester. It was really eye opening and I learned many more things about how we can help the environment and what impact we have on it. As an interior design major it made me realize what things you need to be thinking about during projects and how your work might affect the environment. It is important to know what you are doing to make sure what goes into the project won’t leave a harmful effect on the environment. AFter hearing about everything in class and also through other students and the 11th hour movie, it made me change my mindset on a few things. Although I already knew about a lot of these things I learned even more and it went into depth about what I already knew and it was very interesting. Not only was the topic interesting, but overall the class was fun to engage in and enjoyable even if it was through zoom it still opened up many conversations. I was able to contribute my opinions and thoughts as well in breakout rooms. We discussed different possible ways to answer the questions that went along with the readings. I don’t think there is anything I would have said if i could, but the readings were also very interesting to read. We learned things about fossil fuels to fashion and then design. I think learning about both sides of the arguments for each topic was helpful as well to see what best way to see the solution on these topics. It was very insightful to understand how much of an impact things like fashion and buildings really have. Something that really made me think more about what is happening was the eastern island article we read. It’s crazy to think as fast as they brought it to life is as fast as they destroyed it. I think that we won’t actually start changing things here until we see it for ourselves what harm we are putting on the environment. It made me realize how fast things can change, even if it is possible I don’t think it will happen because many changes are being made already.

Working on the final project was actually fun and a great way to communicate with people in an online class. It was a struggle because it was online, but we made it work. The topic we chose was very intriguing and it made me enjoy it more that we got to choose what we did it over. It also led to many solutions to use in our field to help see a sustainable future. Some solutions that we found were things like, using products that are long lasting and reusable. We found many more with our group project and we were able to put it in our infographic. It also made me realize how difficult these solutions can actually be. It’s not as simple as it may seem and needs to be thought over carefully to find what exactly should be done in the situation you’re in because you never know what that could be.

After doing all of these assignments and learning about how to better the environment it made me realize what I can do and how to tell other people what ways they can do this too. It is good to be able to be aware of these kinds of things and then teach the people around you about the issues we are facing. Not only can I influence people now, but I can also influence other interior designers around me to be able to know we are using the most sustainable materials. I think something that really stuck with me in this class was starting off by making small changes. We can all contribute in helping the environment and it can be as simple as transportation and recycling. I realized right now we might not be able to make as big of a change as we want to, but eventually a lot of what is affecting the environment is the industry and eventually we will be a part of that. We will be able to have a say with what happens and be able to change things. Even if it is a lot of pressure it is important to at least start somewhere. It is not something that will just happen shortly overtime, but it is something we really need to think about as designers and how we can find solutions to these problems or how to fix them. Designers can make a huge change when it comes to this and it is important to participate in sustainable design. As a designer I would like to learn more about these things and what ways I can help. I learned a lot from it already and I want to continue to learn about what I need to do as I go along. 

Another thing we did in the class was to practice mindfulness and we did this by meditating, it was very relaxing and a way to have a break from things. It was helpful to do before we started going into what we talked about that day because it helped me be relaxed before class and helped me prepare better. This was something else I can take from this class and realize how important it can be when going through a stressful time. It wasn’t what I expected, but it ended up being a good thing. After everything in this class I think I can take a lot from this class and use it in the future. I want to make these changes even if it is challenging. I think we can all be able to make small changes that fit according to our lifestyle, if you can’t do one thing try alternatives to help the environment.

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A final reflection

In this class I contributed information on the topics we read about usually I tried to look at certain aspects or perspectives that the articles put on the back burner or subjects that could affect the way the topics were perceived or results. Even though I may not have contributed the most during this class I feel that I took a lot from this class, the other students did contribute greatly to how I took in the information. In terms of if I wished I had shared more information during this class I would have to say no I feel I stated the most important topics that I thought of, if I ever want to share any information about the wicked problems in the industry I will try to be more active in the community to try and help find creative ways to solve this problem. But if I had to think of one of the topics that I could have brought more to the class it would have been on the Eleventh hour film, I was interested in talking about the mycelium functional cycle and how they have been trying to work with biomimicry to make a sort out natural occurring fungus that would help products biodegrade in a safe manner, or how we need to focus on mimicking how nature works in that things must decay for other organisms to thrive create a full cycle so that we work with our ecosystem rather than against it.The major takeaways from this class are first and foremost that problems are bigger than just one person that it is going to take everyone, especially big companies and the governments of the world to enact regulations or keep an eye on companies to limit and restrict types of pollution. The design industry is a major player in plenty of ways when it comes to pollutants and degradation of products, since design is used in just about every company and place in the world from architecture and clothing to small things like packaging and labels everything is designed, produced, printed at every step with each of those there are machines and bits that go to waste. The last main takeaway is the mindfulness practice, This practice that we were assigned over the weeks helped show me how to be more aware of the problems around me while being more self aware of my actions and how people may perceive things differently than how I intended it to be. The times and amount we were given to do over the weeks may not have been achievable due to some unexpected events that occurred over the week, but none the less I still tried to practice as much as possible and I think they were helpful for me to destress during this hectic time with covid and moving from campus. One thing that I would love to learn more about or potentially work in would be the “geothermal buildings” or that in terms act like trees where they take in CO2 and emit Oxygen or that they take in renewable energy like heating from the earth and generate electricity for the buildings, they usually produce about 90% less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The mycelium spore cycle which is about how fungus decays naturally occurring plant life and such that we should develop our products to be compatible with the mycelium so that they can decay without releasing to many chemicals into the ground, this concept seems interesting in that there have been plenty of prototypes on the design function especially in alternatives for styrofoam a fungus that has similar properties of styrofoam in terms of strength, but they are biodegradable which is the main purpose to replace styrofoam, a problem that could occur is that the packages make there way into an ecosystem that does not contain that certain fungus so we do not know how it could affect those ecosystems on a small or large scale. The mycelium and geothermal/tree mimicry buildings are great concepts that could be implemented into current standards but it would take a hefty amount of time to implement across the world, and companies and the government have to much to gain from keeping the oil and gas industry, let alone the stir it would make in the job place especially in states where plenty of people rely on oil and gas jobs. In my circle of influence I think the way I will impact will mostly affect my family that I currently live with and the friends that i contact daily, the ideas about how we can change our habits will be the biggest impact I can get them to make since most of the people im close to are not in business with big corporations or work in design fields. The Mindfulness practice and other forms of meditations I have pushed for them to attempt and see if it works for them since I know the covid situation has raised tensions and caused them to stress over small things more so I have been trying to ease tensions by trying to help them be calm and think of how others are being affected  by the pandemic financially and mentally.

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Thank you.

This course was the biggest attribute in keeping my sanity these last 8 weeks. After coming off of a long dreadful quarantine I was anxious to discuss the real problems of the world. During quarantine a lot of us were able to see what is really going on in the world, we had 20-20 clear sight of our surroundings. This goes for our society and our environment. For me, I had an awakening of nature around me and the capacity of us as beings. Spiritually, I felt at peace yet I couldn’t enjoy it because of the war around me, and in our society. So, when I started my classes I was thrilled to have a class that discussed the urgent problems we are facing that desperately need our attention. I think everyone should be in a course like this that keeps us informed and educated on imminent problems we are currently and will be facing. I learned so much over this course about sustainability, globalization, our effect as consumers, and the effect of the industry. When we first started this course we discussed the lost civilization of the Easter Islanders. Ultimately they killed off the land to the point of it being inhabitable until they turned to barbarism and collapse. That’s where I see us today. Many people say “we’re killing the Earth” and we are, but we are really killing ourselves. The earth will adapt with or without us. And that’s the point of devastation I see us headed towards. We live in a world where our president doesn’t even believe in climate change; how did we get to this point? As told in the eleventh hour, 10 years ago, it is the eleventh hour and 59 minutes. Which leaves my generation to fix all that has been done. From my perspective it’s irritating knowing that long generations before us have known of the consequences that are coming but now at the last minute it’s up to us 20 something year olds to save the world. No better generation is better than ours I guess! You asked us in our last session together, how that made us feel or what we had to say to that. And honestly it keeps me awake at night. I feel this overwhelming weight of the world on me at night, and sometimes it leaves me waking up angry, at everything. So by trying to fill that i tried kicking all of my non-environmentally friendly habits to the curb, my friends habits also. For a little bit I felt better about myself and my very small contribution to the world. Then, I go to class and read about the industry’s real impact on the earth, and then I feel defeated again. Like there’s so many problems to handle, and that’s what makes it wicked. There’s not just one solution. It can’t take just one person, and I know that, but it doesn’t make that weight any lighter. I learned alot about myself through my learning community. At the beginning of this year I told myself I need to work on my patience throughout every aspect of my life. Patience with myself, my thoughts, and others. Learning to consider an opinion even if it’s not my own. Learning to really listen and understand as I would want someone to do for me. In doing so, I often changed my opinion from the start of class to the end. By discussing in class, I learned how to discuss topics we go over with others outside of class naturally. It usually starts with “Well I read in my wicked problems class…” and then I back track with them over what a wicked problem even is and then loop back to the important stuff. Nevertheless, I was able to actually have these conversations and have the knowledge to back up what I’m saying. Being a 19 year old female I don’t have the best credibility in some eyes, but I hope one day they’ll listen. We are the future and I feel obliged to take that on and apply it to my career. I want to redesign the future. I want everyone to rethink nature, and their role in it. As future designers we have a chance to recreate production, fashions, and materials. Whether it’s normalizing garden lawns or making a chair out of paper, I feel like the opportunities are endless. I wanna learn about it all. I wanna figure out anything and everything we can do to fix this shit. I want everyone to know that we can. I thought alot about my environment and how I’ve been feeling as though it’s toxic. Like I need a breath of air from a different city, because I feel drained of my creativity here. More specifically, I’m completely uninspired by my surroundings. Waking up angry at the world. But I realized I have an opportunity to inspire those around me. I believe you should always leave something better than when you found it. Before, I lost hope in the world, I chose to have hope in myself and my ability and my aspirations. I can’t fix it all but i wanna try. I want to create inspiration from my hope, from myself. 

I want to thank you for these last 8-weeks, you have tremendously impacted my journey more than you know. This class was my safe-haven and I’ve thought of how uninteresting the rest of my semester will be, but I’m going to use this to completely indulge myself into my education and take everything I can away from this experience here at Oklahoma state. I will continue to practice my mindfulness and meditation. And I will also continue to try to save the world one step at a time. 

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Our future… What Does it Look Like?

Before I started this course back in August, I had no recollection of what a wicked problem was or why a problem was described as wicked. This class has educated me on the realm of what a wicked problem is and how to identify a wicked problem. This world has so many wicked problems to solve and I have come to learn that there may not always be just one solution to the problem you are trying to solve. For it being only an eight-week course, I was baffled at how we were going to learn that much, but I have been pleasantly surprised at all the knowledge I have gained. I can proudly say that I know more about sustainability and wicked problems and I have a newfound passion for learning how to live life more sustainably.

            I was already aware of how terrible our environment has gotten, but this class really opened my eyes at what really is happening with the world. One thing I was able to share with the learning community was my knowledge on product waste in the fashion industry. I know that clothes are constantly being created and designed and old clothes are going to waste. That is why I am such a big advocate for thrift shopping. In class, during a discussion over the movie, The 11th Hour, I was able to emphasize the need to reuse and recycle old clothes. One thing I wish was brought up though, was food waste. There is so much food waste in America alone and it is concerning. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount of food waste increased, because people were not buying the food from the farmers quick enough. Farmers were losing business and food was being thrown away because it was unable to be sold. There are so many animals that get slaughtered for their meat to go to waste. We need to find a solution that will slow down the rate of waste from mass production, while ensuring animals are not losing their lives for no reason.

            There are many other things I would like to learn about in the future as well. First being, plastic use. There really is not a way around using plastic, so how can we make a cleaner environment without getting rid of plastic? Truly, there is not a way to get rid of it, but we can reduce it. I want to learn how we can reduce it efficiently and effectively. Another thing I would like to learn more about would be harmful chemical emissions that are released into the environment. What releases these emissions, what emissions come from what actions, and how can we reduce these harmful emissions? Emissions are one of the most damaging pollutant to the environment. Air quality is extremely important for humans and human interaction could be the leading cause to our depleting air quality. Another thing that troubles me, is the idea of climate change. Climate change is obviously real, but what is not completely apparent is what causes it. I believe that it is mainly human interaction as well, but there has to be another factor. I find it abnormal that it can be eighty to ninety degrees in October, when it is normally way cooler than this. I believe this is an example of global warming, but people do not seem too concerned about this. As much as I love that warmth, it is not okay for it to still be eighty in October and this needs to be observed. I would like to learn more about what affects these concerning conditions and what we can do to slow down and reverse climate change.

            The majority of my friends are also curious about many issues that occur in our everyday lives, but I still know people who are not motivated to know more. This is alarming to me because it is our future that is at stake here. If we do not take a hold of our lives right now, who knows if there will even be life by 2030, 2040, or 2050. I always want to strive to be a positive influence for change, especially with my friends and family. I feel like half of my friends and family recognize and care about the issues at stake here, while the other half of my friends and family could not care less. I want to be able to share my knowledge of wicked problems with my friends and family in hopes they listen and become as motivated as I am to make change. We need to do something about the environment now and we all need to take action together, because it doesn’t help if one person is doing things to contribute to a positive change, while another person is doing things to contribute to the problem.

            In conclusion, I want to emphasize that now is the time to change. Deciding to do something or use something is the same thing as a vote. When we do the things we do, it is like voting and saying that you approve of the products effects, whether they are positive or negative. Something I will take away from this course is that wicked problems will always be something in our life, so we must learn how to address them and how to take them head on. They will never go away, but we can always work as a community to reduce the amount of waste and pollutions we create. Maybe one day, we will have a cleaner environment, but that is going to require a lot of work, with a lot of solutions, and a leader in our country who recognizes the issues at stake, who strives to improve our living conditions within the environment. Until then, we have to do our own part. Living sustainably is something we can all learn and gradually approve upon. It is not easy, but we can achieve a cleaner environment once we are all on the same page.

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Moving Forward

Wicked problems in industrial practices has been my favorite class from the beginning. I took a small fashion course back in high school so going into this class I felt as though I knew most about specifically fashion pollution, however that couldn’t be far from the truth. Since completing the course, not only have I grown in knowledge in the sustainability department, but I have also grown to practicing mindfulness. I have gained so much information these past eight weeks through all the wonderfully welcoming class discussions and reading others blog pages. I truly cannot wait to take this experience into the fashion world and create a more sustainable earth environment. With the little time we have left, we need as many people to strive towards change. Being informed of these wicked problems and issues in these past eight weeks has seemed to affect everyone in the course, and everyone seems eager to change our world and industrial practices. 

Starting from the very beginning, the 11th Hour film introduced me to just a slice of what the course was going to contain. I knew that the earth has been damaged for many years now and obviously I strongly believe in climate change. However, I was unprepared for the countless issues that we are facing and continuing to practice in the industrial field. It was borderline disgusting and underlining disturbing what I saw on the screen. When discussing solutions, each and every person that was interviewed said that the first step is always awareness. You do not need to be an industrial worker or have a passion for eco friendly beliefs to make an active difference relating to the issue at hand. Awareness and research go incredibly far, spreading awareness will go even further. Keeping the little things in mind, such as electricity and water use, and know that they can accomplish wonders when limiting energy usage. Spreading awareness with the small changes will involve others to do the same. Big changes need small starts. 

I’ve said this in a previous blog post, but I have practiced mindfulness for some time now. Though especially during these past eight weeks, my mental health has been much, to put it simply. With some courses online and others in person, the pandemic, moving out of the house, college payments, unemployment, and the falling out of some friendships, this semester has been extremely difficult to get through. Many of these variables have certainly weighed me down, however having the weekly meditation sessions have helped my mental state, even if it is for the time being. Having the sessions starting at the beginning of class definitely helped me breathe throughout the class discussion and I felt more comfortable speaking and adding to the conversation.

I truly wish that this was a longer course. I feel as though there are far more topics and discussions waiting to be had regarding the umbrella conversation of sustainability. Going further in depth with this topic and really digging down to the disturbing and gritty side of this discussion is certainly something that this quick class would never have time for, but I really wish that it did. I was very much interested in most of the discussions we had in class, and I will certainly take that into the working world, to put it simply I just wish that there was more. Or at least going into further depth with the topics we talked about instead of briefly touching them. Of course, I will be continuing to pursue my own research on the issues at hand and our planet’s overall health. Climate change is affecting us all and we only have so much time left to enforce change. The earth is not a healthy place but the little changes we make can make it sustainable for future generations, we just need to strongly begin.  

Every previous generation enforces the upcoming one to fix their mistakes. Unfortunately, my generation is now being forced to fix not only the previouses problems, but generations before them and generations before them. Generation Z has continuously been given more and more tasks to complete and resolve, not only do we have to do so but we have to finish this on a time limit. We don’t have much time left to act, and though it is true that change starts small, the earth simply doesn’t have the time. We put forth ideas and solutions but they are immediately shut down for numerous unrelated reasons. I know that I am unable to change the previous generations opinions, however we are getting dismissed right off the bat because we are the new generation. We need to act now or nothing will ever be done. The next generation will feel and experience just as much if not more stress if we don’t do something. Spread awareness, save energy, do as much research as you can and act on it. Start off small and be sure to continuously grow from it. We can’t just continue living the way we are and we most certainly cannot be dismissed from a generation that hasn’t grown up in the world that we have lived in our entire lives. This entire planet cannot be another Easter Island. 

To wrap things up, I truly did love this class! It has most certainly opened my eyes in such a way that I will carry with me in whatever career field I find myself in. I will definitely be applying this information wherever I go and will continue to stay up to date on the wicked problems in this world, as well as the other aspects of countless issues in any industry. Creating a new environmentally friendly and sustainable way of the fashion design industry is what I strive for and I cannot wait to read other classmates’ blog posts regarding where they will end up and how they will apply all this new information in their departments. Hopefully, everyone was just as guided as I am by this course to speak out about these issues and create solutions, thus making this world more sustainable over time.

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Changing Perspectives

Wicked Problems has been a very eye opening class for me. I have thoroughly enjoyed discussing the problems we face as a society. To be honest, I have lived in a very sheltered area. I come from a wealthier family and some of the problems, like poverty, I have had no idea how they really worked. It has been very interesting to say the least to learn about such topics. One of my favorite wicked problems we have discussed in class has been over poverty. It was difficult to hear about the challenges some families and/ or people faced, because you would never think people could live that way. It has opened my eyes to so much, and it has  inclined me to help others more often. I have also come to enjoy the time we spend in class to meditate or have quiet time. I have never been one to do this before, and with everything going on in the world now, it really helps keep me calm most days. I have also started this as part of my daily routine. I begin my day with fifteen minutes of quiet time, and then I pray. I have never been one to do this, but it has helped me grow and develop as a person since beginning the first couple of weeks of school. Another topic that has been on my mind since taking this class is my imprint on our Earth. Again, this problem has been mentioned to me before, but I have never thought deeper about the issue. I have now started taking better care of the environment around me. Seeing how quickly we have industrialized our forests and wildlife has really shocked me. I never knew how bad we were hurting our world before really reading the articles in class or watching “The 11th Hour”.  I believe we can change our ways if we really wanted to, but so many people, like me, are/ were uneducated on the subject at hand and truly have no idea how bad we are hurting the Earth. If we all collectively came together to help alleviate the harm we have put on our environment, we can hopefully fix the issue. Another problem along the way could potentially be how we try to “fix” what we have created. There is potential to harm the environment more by trying to reverse the effects from this so quickly. One of the main causes of our environment’s decline is due to deforestation. It’s prevalent in the Amazon and in other parts of the world. Deforestation is the clearing of trees and wildlife in the area to build or industrialize a specific area. Where I am from, most of the area around me is still rural. However, if I were to drive ten minutes, I would be in a heavily industrialized area. What interests me is how my town has put laws in place to keep our town rural. It’s important to the people in Argyle to remain small and to preserve our way of life and the traditions revolving around our school. Our town carries itself on our small town-homey feel and close-knit community. Coming from a big school before moving to Argyle, I really flourished in a small town. I feel like there is a need to have smaller towns and rural areas. It is nice to have everything so close, but heavily industrialized areas like Dallas can be overwhelming and many people end up homeless in these areas. Even throughout Texas, many major cities, like Houston, there are so many people living on the side of the highway or seen begging for money and food. It has always hurt my heart to see others struggle like that. But as I have learned through this class, it is sometimes hard to break the vicious cycle of poverty and to put yourself out in the world. There are even differences between the issues those living in poverty face in rural areas, and in urban areas. The issue of those living in urban areas are overpopulation, overcrowding, and pollution. Those in rural areas have problems directed more towards lack of resources and opportunity. Most of the time those in rural areas migrate towards the city when they do not have any other options. This causes an even bigger problem and adds to the pollution, overcrowding, and overpopulation. Another topic we discussed that interests me is the rules and regulations behind sustainable living. My major is interior design and sustainable design is something I will be seeing a lot of in my future. I think it is important now to start building set rules and regulations that are all the same for sustainability. After reading one of the articles given to us, I took away that not all set rules are the same for sustainable building. I think having the government put laws in place would help keep a consistent basis on sustainability. I know it is becoming more common to build in those set ways, and contractors have specific steps to follow to insure that what they have built or remodeled is in fact sustainable. For instance, my dad remodels homes for a living. He has always discussed the different challenges he faces with me so that when I do enter the field I have some knowledge and sense of what to do. In the past couple of years, he has started getting into commercial construction. Sustainable building is sometimes difficult to follow but in the end both parties benefit from it. Since I was a little, I have always gone with my dad to visit his job sights and I have always had a passion for interior design and remodeling home. I hope to finish out my major and to also minor in marketing or construction management and to work alongside my dad. I like to think I have a good eye for design and I hope to one day help others feel comfortable and at home in the spaces I design in for them. This class has really helped me evolve my ways of thinking and made me understand the bigger problems we face outside of our bubble we live in. I hope to be part of the solution one day.

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A Lifetime of Artistic Thinking and Getting Organized.

I have grown up around creativity my whole life with my mom being an artist and my dad working in the construction industry. I have been accustomed to the creative way of thinking since a young age. My mom was always doing art projects with me and teaching me all kinds of things from her years in high school and college being an artist. I know the color wheel by heart and so many painting techniques that it hurts my brain to think of all of them. Though I do know all of these, I have always been an abstract artist. I look at things in a way and then they come out in a whole different thing on canvas. In this course, I have learned that sometimes you have to have a different perspective of thinking, just as my mom taught me, to come up with different solutions to a problem. Many of the wicked problems that we have discussed throughout this class need special solutions and even if they don’t have solutions, they need special types of thinking to attempt and make the problem better.

I think the biggest takeaway that I have from this course is that not everyone thinks the same and it takes all different types of people to make the world run. I learned this best during our class discussions. I always enjoy class discussions because it gives me an opportunity to listen to my classmates and get a gauge on their beliefs, what they think, and sometimes even where they are from based on their response. Even in our group projects, I learned about the people in my class. One of the girls in my group, I learned that I had actually known her for quite some time before being enrolled in this class which was cool to figure out. Knowing her gave me a sense of comfort and helped me work on the courage to go to class. They have also taught me a lot about time management and how they schedule their days according to classes and assignments due. It has helped me a lot because I have never really been an organized person. It has taken me a lot of work to get myself together throughout this first semester and I am still working on it. These girls and this class have really helped me. 

I think the major takeaway that I have gotten from this course is how to listen to other people and their opinions. Being able to comprehend and take what other people say into account of what I say has been a lesson learned. I have always been a strong opinionated person. I like to state my opinion and know that when I state something, people are listening. It has  been interesting being the person on the other end. I remember one discussion we were having, we were talking about rural versus urban poverty and the discussion of farms came up. Coming from a farming community, I know a lot about this topic and it was interesting to hear what people, who have lived in the city, think of farming. Nobody said anything bad and that is not what I mean. I mean that from what my classmates said, the agriculture industry has had a big impact on everybody’s life. In the United States, only 1.3% makes up the farming industry which obviously, is not a lot. As we were discussing in class, many farmers go into poverty because they do not have the resources to keep going with their business. I wanted to say in the discussion was that many farmers go into poverty because of either a multitude of rain days or drought, which both cause the crop to not be able to be harvested in time. This drives them into poverty because when the crop is not harvested, it can not be sold. 

I am taking many things away from this course. Some problems would be poverty, many environmental issues, and the most interesting discussion was about the culture of Easter Island. The problems with most poverty cases is that most are self inflicted. The difference between rural and urban poverty is that rural poverty deals with farmers going into poverty by crops failing, farms being destroyed, and the sales of crops decreasing. Urban poverty deals with people losing their jobs due to larger companies crashing. Environmental issues revolve around pollution, forest fires, and fossil fuels. Pollution could be stopped by being aware and noticing how we can stop discarding trash in the wrong way. Forest Fires are a lot more aggressive than pollution. They are harder to stop and control. Fossil Fuels are an issue due to too much carbon dioxide being released into the air. Also, more fossil fuels are being used too much and causing them to run out. With that being said, I believe the human race should care more about the country they are living in. Treating the country with more respect is a much better option for each individual. 

I would say that my ability to change the circle of my influence is very high. I always tend to bring a positive attitude around any group I am around. No matter if I am with my friends or if I am with a group I don’t really know. I feel like that in general really brings a change to my influence on people. Speaking in terms of my influence on the world, I try many things to help out. I am joining the AirForce, and hope to protect the United States with all that I have. In conclusion, being a positive person helps out tremendously. For me, a big example of positive people in my life are the girls helping me get through the class. I came a long way from home and I was super nervous. The girls have helped me overcome obstacles this class has thrown at me. They also are always there to take and make assignments more enjoyable. 

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I Took the Class, Now What?

Introductions are hard but saying goodbye is even more difficult. It’s strange to have a class end halfway through the semester, but it gives me a benchmark to look forward to. I’m halfway through this task, what can I do with my new time? Solve the world’s problems? I’ll work on it. I’ve taken the class, now where do I go from here?

This course was so fun to take, even through distance learning that can be difficult to pay attention to. In this class however, I felt super connected with the course work, with my classmates, and Dr. Armstrong. Maybe it was the necessity to show our cameras so we have to look attentive as well as being so. Maybe its the fact that Dr. Armstrong called on us, and we had to be ready to answer to the best of our abilities. It became like a game to me; Ooo who is she going to call on first? Is it me? How should I answer? What should I start with? It made it very compelling to try and answer the questions whether I was called on or not, it was refreshing for an online class. 

It was really engaging to be able to interact with classmates on calls as well. Discussing the topics and hearing different perspectives of my peers was so interesting and I looked forward to it every time. I tried to contribute as much as I could at these times when we were in breakout rooms. I tried giving my opinions and perspectives on things as clearly as possible. It was nice to have a time where we were encouraged to share. That was sometimes challenging though when breakout rooms would have people who read different articles and are coming in with a different viewpoint than myself. Despite this bump in the road it was still fun to give my points and try to explain them and agree with some and then listen to other people’s points and try to learn from my classmates to see how the other side of a coin is being dealt with. 

If I was ever in a group with people I didn’t know very well I would try to be really friendly and let everyone talk and make sure to listen to them. It’s not a group discussion if someone stays silent! Plus, it’s never fun to be forced to keep your input to yourself when the whole point to it was to share and learn from each other. Encouraging others to share and making sure to include them is sometimes the easiest way to make friends, and I’m so happy to say that I’ve made some really good connections with people through this course. 

I wish there was a little bit more time to discuss with Dr. Armstrong. There was one or two instances where I wasn’t super clear in the subject matter and it definitely reflected in my reading assignments. But luckily, there was enough time when coming back to the group to clarify things and classmates were always ready to explain things to me in a different way. I wish I could have had more time to explain rural poverty, as some of my family members were ranchers and had to think about these things and live through them. I feel like I could have given some real world insight to the topic and maybe find some different ways to see into the problem. 

After this course, I now have so much information about what makes a wicked problem a wicked problem. Now I know why someone doesn’t just “fix” the problems we have in the world, it’s much more complex than that. I think that’s the most important takeaway for us to have. Part of solving a problem is understanding it and being able to explain it to others. There are so many folds of an issue it takes knowledge to get into the folds and fully comprehend it. Even a problem that seems like such a simple fix like pollution. “Just stop polluting!” right? WRONG. 

There are so many variables that go into a wicked problem that the idea of it having a cure all solution is prosperous. It is both enlightening and disheartening that this dynamic takes place. It does open up the opportunity for so many different creative solutions for those variables. In our infographic problem, my group specifically, I did my panel on solutions to textile waste. There are so many different ways that people are trying to do. Fermentation, recycling textiles, water purification, it’s all so interesting and so niche but so very important for environmental conservation. I really wish the course focused a little more on what is happening already to combat these wicked problems but it is a smart thing to do, by not teaching about it. 

It encourages the students to do their own research outside of class. I think I personally will be doing research on textile recycling, and tracking where the waste ends up. I didn’t fully understand that the U.S.’ second hand clothing ends up in other countries, disrupting their economy as well as their own second hand clothing industry. The track is fascinating and I can’t wait to see what I find in my own research. Maybe I’ll be one of the people who ends up helping this problem. 

I’m glad I took this class. I’m glad I was given the opportunity to take it too, especially when you think of the time we’re living in. It might be the 11th hour, at 11:59 but it also feels like we’re pressed even further for that time limit with the current global situation. I hope that humanity can work together to combat our mistakes, and take the logical and felt out paths that we’ve devised to take on this goliath of a wicked problem. I’m excited to share my new knowledge with the people around me. I can share with my roommates how recycling things is more important than we think and what to do with clothes before they throw them out and explain how investing in “long lasting” options are worse than the beginning product. That fact was new to me too and I’m going to be looking into different, more sustainable routes to take around that option. The class made me more conscious about my existence in the space I take up so I want to leave the space I inhabit better than I found it. 

We coexist with the world, and right now we are it’s parasite. I hope to change my own personal ambitions and hopefully inform others so they will want to do the same to where it benefits the world, as well as myself. I’ve taken the class, now where do I go from here?

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