Very Wicked Problems

When coming into this class, I didn’t really have an idea of what it was going to be about. All I knew is that I needed it for my major. On the first day when the teacher mentioned sustainability, I did not know what it meant. As I sat there and thought, I figured it just meant ways that the human species survived- how they sustained themselves. Now, after being in the class for a week, my definition has changed. Now, I think of sustainability as a way human’s live life in honor of the Earth. To respect nature and conserve whatever we have left of our ecosystems and biosphere as a whole.

A wicked problem is an issue that is very diverse. A tame problem, is something that has one solution or an easy to configure solution. For example, math problems are tame problems because 2+2 will always equal 4. But wicked problems such as climate change, population growth, deforestation are so complex that there could never be one real solution. They are almost impossible to work out. The 11th hour was very interesting and informative. I liked it because it explained in depth and gave many different perspectives on each wicked problem. Which is a big component on trying to solve some of these issues- you need multiple people working on them. The scientist in the 11th hour have a difficult time solving these wicked problems because they contain some if not all of the six characteristics: vague problem definitions, variable solutions, solutions have no end point, solutions pose irreversible effects, solutions require unique approaches, and they are urgent. These things are what make them so impossible to solve.

In activity one, I learned that some problems go hand in hand. Most wicked problems have a snowball effect and end up causing another wicked problem to occur. For example, floods occur when we cut down trees. Deforestation is a very serious wicked problem and is very prevalent today in the making of infrastructure. This was also the main problem of Easter Island. It is almost like history is repeating itself here. The native people of Easter Island had to tear down trees to carry their large statues around the island. Now, we tear down trees to build these statues. It is very devastating that our Earth is so polluted and that humans as a whole don’t do very much about it. We should take more steps to address problems such as climate change, and deforestation even if the solution seems impossible to find.

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