I can’t believe today was the last day of this class. Walking into Wicked Problems, I didn’t actually know what to expect. Now, it is hard to believe that this whirlwind class is over. On the first day of class we watched the first part of the 11th Hour. It was pretty terrifying. Before Tuesday, September 13th, I was not aware of all of the wicked problems my world is facing, and how much I personally have been contributing to the chaos. So that is where it began: awareness. There is no more room for excuses.
Digging deeper, we discussed an abundance of wicked problems such as environmental degradation, textile waste, pollution, and more. As we learned about some of those concepts that seem irrelevant to the average undergraduate student, I tried to make connections between me and these bigger issues. Listening to my fellow students I learned about different opinions on each topic, and also how they relate to us as a generation, and individuals. I was surprised with how much I felt the need to contribute to the conversation, as I am normally soft-spoken in groups. However, these wicked problems, and the issue of the inevitable collapse of our world as whole if we don’t change something, have stirred something in me worth talking about. This isn’t a silly “go green!” class where we tell each other to use less paper and move on with our lives. I really felt like I took something away from this course and in doing so will put what I have learned out into the rest of the world as well.
Something that really helped the class, and me especially, prepare for discussions was mindful meditation. Although I was skeptical at first, I have seen its effects in this class and am excited to incorporating it in my routine. I didn’t enjoy sitting still for the average meditation, and think that perhaps that style is not good for everyone. In a class the size of Wicked Problems, there will always be at least one person like me who it physically and mentally pains to try and sit still and be quiet and focus on something such as the sensation of the floor or the breath in my lungs. I think perhaps in the future the class should incorporate more variety in mindful practice. Whenever we did the walking labyrinth meditation, I was able to more fully see the benefits of mindfulness and could focus and really gain perspective. That being said, I would have liked to see more variety in this so that each individual had the opportunity to get the most out of it. However, I still think it helped the class prepare to learn and listen, and it helped me clear my mind in order to get the most out of the course.
Some of my major takeaways from this course included the concept of green building, something which is very relevant to my field, and also things such as carbon tax, and tax on fossil fuels. I liked wrestling with the ideas of how to actually help the problem. On most environmental issues, I leaned to the side of putting incentives out there to help people promote sustainability. I liked this idea because it doesn’t force the public, which never ends up positive, but at the same time gets the job done. I believe that people would do the right thing if they were aware of the bigger issues. And much like myself before this class, people are just not very aware. I believe that the free market can work, but that the ultimate solution isn’t in any one polar side. It will take a mix of ideas from a mix of people. That concept is something I really took away from this class: the concept of being open-minded and mindful. It has been beneficial to learn new perspectives and try to meet in the middle with others in this class.
So here we are, the last class is out and we finished the 11th hour and I am trying to sum up an abundance of information and emotions in the most efficient way possible. Finishing the movie, I really think I ended the class with hope. Although throughout this past month I have felt down and trapped by the problems plaguing my world, and ashamed of my contribution to them, I am leaving the course on a high note. I believe that the human race is incredible, and that despite our mishaps, we are only ever trying to improve and design things the best we know how with what we have. So to kick off the needed change, no matter what form that takes, first the people need to understand the gravity of the situation. We need to spread this like wildfire and make quick, yet calculated, actions in the opposite direction. As David Suzuki said, “love is the force that makes us fully human.” I think this is an important key that we can not forget in the midsts of technology, trouble shooting, data, and all the other chaos. Humans love and we can use that to the best advantage for everyone. If we help people realize that their earth, their home, is failing, I believe they will want to help make it better. In the end, I have enjoyed this class and all of the details and struggles that it entailed. I will take what I have learned and put it back into the world, and I hope the rest of my class will do the same.