Sustainability, to be quite honest, has always been of interest to me. However, having no way to have any real education on the matter, I have always put it on the backburner…until this week. Being introduced to wicked problems has been eye opening in a lot of ways. We all are aware of global warming, climate change, extinction of species, etc. but I think we tend to be ignorant to the broader scope of the matter. Taking my minimal knowledge of the subject and being shown that these matters I have always known about will effect me and future generations to come is a difficult concept to grasp. It’s hard to accept that what we have done to the planet is irreversible. Further than that, what I, as an individual, have done to this planet cannot be undone. However, we must not give up. There are solutions, even though they are not perfect. There are steps we can take to create a better future for ourselves and our lineage.
I’d like to take a moment to look at the societal collapse of Easter Island and what I take away from that. Easter Island’s story is one that I, like many others, have heard before. However, I did not know many aspects of the story. It’s so easy to hear about Easter Island and to just pass it off as a society of savages who didn’t know any better. It’s easier for us to claim that we are not like them than to accept our similarities. Before reading the story of Easter Island I may have thought something similar, but I learned that they were actually a very advanced society. We all know about their stonework and statue craft, but we must also realize that they had their own form of writing, understood constellation patterns, and had very advanced building skills and religious ceremonies. They are not so different from us. So what do we do with this knowledge? We must acknowledge our similarities with not only their society and culture, but most importantly their environmental practices. As a society, we must learn from their mistakes and take responsibility for what we are doing to the planet. From there, we must make a change. On a personal level, I must not just say “we must make a change”, but also I must make a change. In my day to day life I need to be more conservation minded. I, like everyone else, am absolutely contributing to the ungodly amount of waste we are putting back into the planet. Repurposing, recycling, and simply living with less and learning to curb my innate consumerism is necessary to make the change that I want to make in the world.
In short, wicked problems will simply never be easily solved. Every single human being on the planet is so different that it is often difficult to come to a consensus or a perfect solution. With that, we must still try our best to implement policies and regulations, as well as shift cultural norms to that of being environmentally conscious. We, as a collective, must come together and find solutions that work for us and work for the environment. If we do not, we will likely see complete collapse-not unlike that of Easter Island.