How Understanding Wicked Problems Changes My Idea of Sustainability and the Fashion Industry


By:Courtney Unruh


Major Class Takeaways

Change in my ideas of Wicked Problems

Wicked Problems are like an uphill battle or climbing up a steep mountain you need a structure or at least a support system and some oxygen for the way up and forward. From this class I have learned that the best way to change sustainability for the better is to have knowledge and use it to educate others. Because the best way we can promote change is through coming together in communities and making it a priority all over the world not just in government regulations, but as a morality belief for are posterity’s.

Reaction to Class

Wicked Problems of Industrial Practice helped introduce me into a better field of about how we can and will be able to improve the fashion industry. Because It not only talked about the impact of the technology advancements, but it also helped me learn about what criteria and the non-profit organizations that provide actual support for companies who are willing to implement actual sustainable change. Basically showing me that there’s more that companies can do aside from the general recycling and changing out a light bulb.

Resolving: The New Solutions I See

The solutions I see are endless for the fashion industry, in fact I see this within OSU faculty as even Dr.Mary Ruppert-Sousse is using recycled t-shirt fabric to make fabric and is designing from it. Yet in the field I see advancements in the washes that are being put on denim. Also with made to measure and digital printing together the industry has the almost perfect solution to sustainable design as only dying the fabric that is used means the recycled waste is only white undyed fabric meaning no chemically damaged waste. I personally hope to start making appliques for clothing out of recycled fabrics from places like interior design firms.

Wicked Problem Report

The wicked problem report has helped me reach out and look at problems in terms of how they affect everything everywhere. Understanding that poverty in developing countries and poverty here in america could have the same source or the same outlet of what was thought of as innovation. Yet how as people the biggest thing we need when looking at wicked problems is a source of hope and identifying that there is someway that things will improve in the future. Yet not only looking at hope, but also helping others feel that the wicked problems can be solved because in a sense a group of people is better than just one person alone. In that sense it’s just like voting one person can’t do much but a group of people together there can be real results and change. For me the hardest part was finding multiple perspectives, because I have such strong beliefs yet once I branched out of my comfort zone it was easy to see how others think of wicked problems and because of that how their ideas for changing thing built from it as if it was a foundation.


Finding What Sustainable Design Interests Me

What My Interest Going Forth Are


From wicked problems I have found interest in taking classes such as Sustainable Textile Innovation, Active Design, Biomimicry, or even the Speaker Colloquium. Sustainable Textile Innovation interest me because of my experience in AATCC (American Association of Textile and Chemical Colorist) Chapter we have at OSU. As changing chemical coloring techniques are a big thing that can improve the environmental hazards from the apparel industry. Yet as things like digital printing has build up support it is easily seen as the most promising solution yet designers are still fighting the high cost. Knowing that if it was more affordable that it would help the environment greatly means that their needs to be an industry wide solution. Knowing that it allows waste to be recycled without bleaching, white washes, or dyeing means that fabrics will be more pure and easily degradable compared to the selvage and waste we have leftover in today’s industry. I’m interested in taking active design as it touches on what’s being done right now in the industry and how it will interact with the environment putting emphasis on made to recycle products. I’m interested in biomimicry as it could be a key to helping the environment in a way that is already in line with how it runs. The speaker colloquium interests me because I find it interesting to understand what companies are already doing so that we as future workers now what to look for in the design field giving us pre-expectations of what we can and should see.


Yes and No Article Discussion

Climate Change: Specifically CO2 Emissions

Climate change has left us with the question of: What can be regulated and should be regulated? Yet carbon taxes on gas is one of the more prominent ideas to impact the future. This will change the gas economy greatly as it would mean that consumers would only be able to buy so much product without paying an extra fee. But it would also have to be balanced out by lower other taxes something that seems nearly impossible.


Overall together the market and the government needs to work with the consumer needs and wants to find a balance as overall it is everyone’s role to protect the future of our people. One of the biggest parts of this is finding a balance of capital and trade. The capital affecting that amount of needed substance we purchase and trade being how we get what we need. As trade is what keeps us a sustainable market as where you produce something can be one of the biggest factors to the environmental impacts just as much as the materials and the machinery the product is made on.


The Question I come away with is are we trying to rebuild or readjust?


*Rebuild-Add to the existing places, homes, and buildings.


*Readjust-Start fresh and knock down what’s already there in existence.


I mean of course we could build more sustainable manufacturing and buildings, but should we just integrate instead of starting over as their is more destruction of nature. Especially as integration of companies in already build up cities and building is starting to be a trend. For instance in Chicago there is a Target that was put into an famous Carson Pirie Scott building.


The Eleventh Hour Movie


The Eleventh Hour Movie touches greatly on wicked problems and how we can build solutions. Talking about how we can use the technology and culture and knowledge together to help develop and redesign what we already have ready to better the future. Touching on biomimicry as a solution as following nature’s designs as a way to mimic natural solutions that are already in place.

Also stating that the government could help make huge changes as political leaders have such a strong influence on the public. Yet this poses that fact that political leaders tend to actually pose pone operations instead of funding or promoting the need for environmental change. Mostly showing how if we have major political leaders actually embrace instead of deny the facts of science and not pretend that it doesn’t exist we could see a major revolution of change. Yet the main question that is posed is Should sustainability be apart of our government? Should protecting the environment be on the government’s agenda?

In the future the eleventh hour makes a point that energy will become key. I interpreted this as eventually when you’re buying things you’re going to know just like a calorie count how much pollution and environmental dept was caused by that product. In fact their is already a website out that allows you to track your purchases and what effect they have on people and the environment.

Yet the main things that will most likely be affected will be focusing on cradle to cradle design or cradle to grave design showing a cycle of materials in the world and how it should run in the system of nature. The other thing that I found very interesting was the idea of making our economy a throw away economy meaning that everything is ready to be recirculated immediately after purchase.

In addition the idea that their should be transportation diversity that don’t use the oil and gas economy. Posing large questions for our state and many others who make their main incomes off of the industry. The biggest thing that would have to happen is to transition peoples jobs and income to the field that would be replacing them. Yet to also start by shifting the surrounding economy that  benefits from the industry such as school systems funding as almost entire budgets are funded by the oil and gas industry especially here in Oklahoma.


What is microbicidal? I had never heard of this before watching the eleventh hour movie a microbicidal is an organism that kills bacteria and prohibit the growth of microorganism. Something that is lethal to the environment as it can contaminate the water permanently.


Overall the most powerful message that I took from the move was that if we were to use the technology that we already have than we can decrease our energy use by 90%.


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