Ending of One Chapter, Beginning of Another

Wow, Wicked Problems is coming to an end.  Last week we had our last two classes, and tonight’s blog is one of the last ties to the class.  It’s funny how sometimes we go into new things completely blind and ignorant of what is in store for us.  I think God works in mysterious ways like that.  When I signed up for Wicked Problems all I had heard about it was that there were a lot of blogs and that you sit on bean bags chairs, yet no one described the level of knowledge that would be gained from the class.  This is my second semester of being an Apparel Merchandising major, and despite being so new to the program, I was beginning to have doubts as to what my major ought to be at the beginning of this semester.  I am also enrolled in the basic Geology class, of which we are learning all about pollution and the downfalls/repercussions created by society.  I was learning about all these issues with no hope of ever being able to help them.  The mission was too large.  Yet right when I was beginning to feel myself slip into a hole of overwhelming thoughts of the future, I began the class of Wicked Problems.  At first (and by at first I mean the first class when we watched part of the movie 11th Hour) I felt even more discouragement as I sunk into my bean bag chair thinking “oh great so there’s even more wrong on this planet.”  As the class continued and came to an end, however, I realized how thankful I was for the setup of the class itself.  We began the class by looking at all the wrong, yet we ended it by completing the 11th Hour and thus seeing all the solutions and innovations being applied to fix the same problems that were haunting me.

The whole reason I mention this though is not to instill a sense of defeat or a bitter taste in the mouth, but more to point at my found desire for wanting to help the environment.  I have discovered my passion for wanting to help the planet that relates to something I know well: fashion.  I have decided to get a minor in sustainable design.

The class had a solid impact on me, and for that I am beyond grateful for.  Yet all the articles that I had to opportunity to read and learn about along the way did just as much for me as the movie watched.  So often I get these ideas in my head, yet I find myself at a loss for how to communicate them.  Not only do I now know how to properly identify a Wicked Problem by its six characteristics, but I know how to have a mature conversation with someone with evidence to backup my claims.  

As we wrapped up the class last week, we talked about ways of reconciling sustainability.  I was made aware of classes I could take to educate myself on the matter, as well as the decision to take on a minor in the issue.  I am no longer headed toward a dark hole, for I have learned different methods for approaching the wicked problems of the industrial practice.  After watching the end of the 11th Hour I have a greater appreciation and understanding of how informing people are creating awareness can perhaps be one of the greatest tools used to start a new paradigm of thought.  Being as that we live in America, this materialistic country is a perfect place to start informing others of better methods for caring for our planet.  Yesterday, Sunday, I went home to Oklahoma City to have moment to myself as well as to do my laundry.  This class has made me aware of everything that I do.  I did one fewer load that I usually would of laundry, thus cutting down on water waste.  While I did drive home, I like to think that my Prius is doing a better job of saving fossil fuels.  While I was home I was talking with a family friend who was staying at the house about water.  She had no idea of the how many countries are under water stress.  As people’s awareness grows, I hope that their mindset, this paradigm that so many are living in, will shift towards a more green mindset.  I took a note in class that reads, “go out into the field, go in with hope → inspire people to take action.”  I have decided to make this my new goal, my new inspiration.  The sophomore slump is real, so at least now I am confident in what I am aiming for.  I guess I want to work on the side of reorientation of social behavior as far as approaches to the issue go, or at least until I get into the field and am able to work as a larger scale with redesigning.  

Last class we did a new form of meditation.  This meditation had to do with envisioning yourself in the future.  When asked what my thoughts were after doing so, I felt discouraged by my inability to wander too far into the future.  As class continued, and even after class, I began to relate a reading from last week to this concept of envisioning for the future.  Growing up I always had this idea that I was going to be loaded.  I had this imaginative world thought up where I’d be a car collector of vintage cars, with a closet matching the rainbow with all my colors of shoes, clothes, and accessories.  I had an idea of the house that I wanted to live in with all these fun secret path ways that no one else knew about.  While I will probably keep my dream of secret pathways alive, the rest of the dream has since been changed from when I was little.  After reading the article by Leigh K. Fletcher on the importance of building codes and changing the face of construction to a more environment-friendly mindset as a way to reduce carbon and electricity use, I know envision a house that works alongside the environment.  I hope to have the opportunity to have a green house that complies with LEED levels of a true green house.  Possible cars will be used less and bikes more.  Maybe a tariff can be introduced on carbon emitting things such as gasoline and other prized goods.

My hope for the world is that the paradigm for a healthy planet will be prized and upheld by the majority.  Small steps of action ought to be taken, yet by spreading awareness and creating a new trend for the norm that supports the environment, perhaps the idea isn’t too far out of reach.  I am filled with a new sense of motivation and excitement as I enter into this new stage of life.  I am so appreciative of Wicked Problems.

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