Sustainability, what does it mean? Entering the class Wicked Problems 1101 I didn’t know what I was getting into nor what sustainability really meant. How embarrassing that I am a sophomore in college and haven’t paid much attention to our environment or the underlying meanings of the problems arising in the environment? Within the two class periods I have learned that sustainability means the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level. In that shortened definition lies the rates of climate change, pollution, deforestation, hurricanes, earth quakes, littering, drought, soil erosion, landfills, etc. These issues are near impossible to solve due to the contradicting solutions that would have the least destructive ramifications. Wicked problems are all around us and on my mind the past week is how hands on I could get with fixing these occurring situations.
Like I said, I haven’t paid much attention to the world around me. I’ve been too focused on shopping, friends, football games, sorority events, and tests that are coming around the corner. I’ve been living selfishly and practically blinded to the urgent problems that the world has produced for years now. Why? Why have I been secluded from current issues? I know I can’t be the only mindless twenty-year-old walking around campus not thinking about polar ice caps melting, habitats lost due to deforestation, or animals becoming extinct due to littering. What I have realized in class is that my priorities are not in order. I feel like if we could take a snap shot into the future us mindless twenty-year-olds would respect what surrounds us. We would see the problems stirring up in a pot of despair and want to make a change. What could we do to make these situations shrink? Personally, I think we should stress sustainability in every student’s education at a young age, have stricter recycling policies, and eliminate hunting animals that would serve no purpose of killing. This could be a start to a brighter and healthier environment and it barely scratches surface level of all the wicked problems that remain.
Having stricter recycling policies. Could you imagine the positive outcomes on the environment? I was thinking about my future and how I could incorporate it in my everyday life. Luckily, I have a great example of how to recycle in my life. My dad owns an auto salvage business which means he sells old and used car parts. Years ago, his father opened up “Lambert’s Auto Salvage” the business has been booming ever since. My papa cleared land in Collinsville, Oklahoma and whenever a car is nonfunctional the business buys the car and removes viable parts that could be used for another car. My dad lives by the quote “One man’s trash in another man’s treasure.” He then sells the car part to make profit. Without them reusing these automobile parts that would just leave more junk that takes up space in the environment. What have I learned from my dad? I have learned to admire recycling and all the perks it has. It can easily become someone’s job for a living. Next year when I have my own house I plan on having a trash can made for trash and a trash can made for plastic bottles that my roommates and I can take to recycle. Another way I could recycle is by selling and buying used clothes on Posh mark, Plato’s closet, or donate to Goodwill. It may be small steps to success for stricter recycling policies but I am so excited to do my part and contribute.
A question that has been roaming in my head since reading the Easter Island excerpt that was assigned to us last week is if the settlers would have known about recycling would that have lengthened their time on the island before the collapse? Or would there have even been a collapse? Although the society had little resources to survive off of, with their little knowledge of what they were using and how important the items were. The settlers had no option other than to fail. Their major wrongdoing was not recycling and giving back to the environment. They were willing to take from animals, plants, trees, and each other without giving anything in return. One way the people of Easter Island could have been more resourceful and ultimately more successful is only kill animals that are plentiful in size, replant seeds, and save the canoes that are already made eliminating chopping down every tree in sight. They simply had no common sense. There were many more doings that could have contributed to a longer stay on the island but recycling would have initially stopped the first domino from falling.
Powerful problems are progressing. We can’t ignore them any longer or like Easter Island planet earth will to fall. I am thankful for this opportunity to learn about the wicked problems that I was once blinded to. It has been an eye opener in just the first week of class. I am thrilled to see what the next three weeks have to offer. Every age in school should be taught about sustainability because educating would be a major step in helping these wicked problems subside.