Paradigms and Sustainability

In week 2 we discussed paradigms, which are the beliefs, values, and assumptions we have about the world and ourselves. These paradigms correlate with wicked problems. However, paradigms aren’t directly seen, and the issues only scratch the surface from the deep issue.

In class we discussed western values, ethic, and paradigms; asking the question if they are compatible to sustainability issues. I read the “no” argument for this discussion and agree with the article. As humans, we live in a world where consumer culture is seen as a social norm. Since these patterns of consumption are social and cultural norms, no one sees the problem of being able to sustain the activities. Things we do every day like driving or using air conditioning are seen normal but are not innate manifestations. The only way that we will be able to solve the wicked problems we have now will be to change our dominant cultural patterns. Though this is not an easy task, a pattern that would need improvement is over consumption. This will be a hardest problem to fix because of how corporations make money off daily activities most of the population does. Corporations have an influence and advantage in our consumer culture by using advertisement to get people to buy things that seem like necessary items. Given that 98 percent of the population has a television in their house hold, they make billions of dollars showing ads to the public. The government also has a substantial influence on consumer consumption. For example, selling oil at low cost causes a butterfly effect in our economy, but also increases consumption. Since the price for gas isn’t unaffordable more people use it. The oil industry is not required to incorporate environmental and social concerns so, why pay attention to sustainability? A lot of the money that the government has is donated from businesses they don’t make policies to fix our unsustainable society. The best way to solve this problem is to teach the new generations about sustainability and apply these practices in every day life.

Reading this article not only increased my knowledge on the problems of consumer culture but intrigued me to learn more. Seeing how much it impacts the Earth, our society needs to change our cultural and social norms. Knowing all the wicked problems we have does cause concerns for our future. Though the process will be slow, with each generation more sustainable practice should be implemented and encouraged.

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