When I first got to this class I did not know what to think about wicked problems or even what they were. I had thought that sustainability was how someone made changes in their life that was better for the environment. This was how I saw sustainability in a small scale. I now see it as how people can change their daily consumption habits that can better the environment in the long run. There are many ways that we can change our lives to be more sustainable. Like limiting our use of plastic, carpooling to work, and using solar power.
These life changes can be hard for some to adapt. This can be because of cost or that they do not see sustainability as an issue. This confusion is because wicked problems often have a vague problem definition. Problems like global warming and mass animal extinctions can have many different names. There can also be variable solutions. For instance, how we can save animals from extinction may pose different answers for different people. Some solutions do not have an end point. Mass animal extinction can affect several species at a time. And while one species may be rehabilitated another can suddenly be on the verge of extinction. Some solutions can also pose irreversible effects. If it is decided that we do not need to make changes that will save the earth for generations, then we will eventually run out of all of our natural resources. Some solutions, like cleaning our oceans, may require unique solutions. While it can be easy to say “just go out there and clean it” it also needs to be thought of how we might recycle all of the plastic and waste. And this can lead to there being several solutions. And we also need to think of a way in which we do not harm the natural wildlife in the process. Some problems are also urgent. One of these is the amount of coral bleaching that has taken place in the world’s oceans in the last 10 years.
Easter Island faced a lot of the same issues that we are dealing with today. They lived in a certain lifestyle that depleted all of their resources in way that they could not bring them back. Once the natural resources were gone, their lifestyle took a turn for the worst. If we continue to use all of our natural resources, then we will be doomed for the same fate. Once their resources were gone, the civilization started declining. Without the access to resources, people in the world today are faced with a declining fate and often endure poverty and homelessness. Which if we do not find a solution, then we all will face the same fate.
The film 11thHour focused on many of the sustainability problems the world is dealing with today. The earth’s population has continued to grow exponentially. This is in part because of the industrial revolution and with the growth of modern medicine. The revolution helped to quickly mass produce items for the growing population. But this also greatly impacts the environment. We also can keep humans alive a lot longer than what our ancestors lived with our modern medicine. This in itself is not bad. With this number of people on the earth, we are faced with how does society continue to thrive and grow. The film focused on this issue and points out that if we keep up this rate, then our descendants will have to face an earth that will not be recognizable as what we know it to be today. This is due to climate change and the decline of natural resources. With activity 1 we looked at some of the issues the film posed and determined their characteristics. We analyzed them to see if they were in fact wicked problems and looked at the characteristics of wicked problems. Do you think that the earth goes through cycles of climate change? Do you think that this is an issue that people can choose to ignore?