The Wicked Problems of Wicked Problems

Although I was already aware of much of the “wicked problems” that our world is facing, this first week of class allowed me to understand the actual extent of these problems. I knew about climate change, about our reliance on nonrenewable resources, about deforestation, and about our population boom, but it was interesting to me to see how, in a way, they are all connected.

One particular wicked problem really stood out to me, as it has an effect on my family. My mom is a petroleum engineer, and so her work is in the oil and natural gas industry. As a single parent, this is our family’s livelihood. To expand on that, my family who live in Ohio have been in the coal business for generations. By transferring to more sustainable energy, they would lose their jobs, and the towns built around the mines would become deserted because of the lack of work. Considering these things though, I firmly stand behind transitioning to more renewable energy sources. In the long run, it will greatly diminish the amount of stress we put on the earth. Even now, just after the first week of class, I am realizing how I am both contributing to the problem and trying to mitigate my effect on the problem in terms of my level of consumption and energy usage.

I feel as members of a developed society, we are constantly bombarded by businesses and the media to consume, consume, consume. In the reading of the downfall of Easter Island, we get a glimpse of how overconsumption and carelessness of our available materials can lead to the ultimate demise of civilization. We need to respect our environment, as it is what provides for us. If we destroy it, we will consequently destroy ourselves. We have the information, we know that climate change is a problem, deforestation is rampant, and our biodiversity loss is increasing like never before. All we need to do is act. I say this, but I also need to put my money where my mouth is. I can help make a difference, I don’t need to wait for someone else to come along and do something when I also have the power to make a difference, no matter how small.

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