When I think of a wicked problem I think of me arguing with my best friends, I think of politics, and I think of the underlying problems with our universe as a whole. A wicked problem is a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. There are six characteristics that help to describe these problems and help us differentiate them from tame (easily solved) problems. These characteristics include, vague problem definitions (impossible to pinpoint the root of the problem), variable solutions (hard to decide on one definite solution), no clear end point (new complications continue to arise), irreversible effects (solutions create change, and change can cause more problems that cannot be undone), require unique approaches (the same solution wont work for everything/ everyone), and urgent (affecting the world right now).
My best friend and I have very similar personalities, both being very stubborn. When we have conflict we can never come to an agreement so most of the time we brush our problems to the side and go on with our lives. That is until more problems arise and it is a repeating cycle. This scenario is the same with our world problems. I think we as humans are very in denial. We also are very opinionated. For me, growing up in the millennial/ generation Z age range, we were exposed to the wake of new technology. While there has always been innovation and evolution, I think we made a huge jump within the last hundred years. Humans are needy, and that is just a fact. We are also very curious and driven and that is why the technological aspect of our world has skyrocketed tremendously. We are living in a world where we can communicate across the world within seconds just from the push of a button. We are living in a world where we can put on a pair of glasses and instantly be in a virtual reality. We are living in a world that’s focus are the needs of our own pleasure, not on the needs of what gives us the means to live. Our world harvests what we need as humans to truly live. Our natural, unrenewable resources are being used as if they are infinite, but they are not.
Sustainability is a term and an action that honestly I’ve been taking pretty lightly, but after learning the true definition, I am quick to realize that it is a key term we all need to be more aware of. Sustainability is meeting the “needs of the present while not limiting needs of the future and looks to keep in balance the environment, society, and economy”. After watching the film, the 11th Hour, I was baffled by how poorly we are treating our planet and how we are addressing these problems. Some of the wicked problems addressed included, population growth, climate change, ozone depletion, and hunger. Something that was mentioned in class, was that some predict that by 2030 we will be running out of food. This effects me tremendously because it makes me think of my family and my future children. How can we even think about bringing more people into this world, if we are aware that they will suffer if we don’t fix it right now.
A prime example of how our world will look in the future, if we don’t act, is the story of Easter Island. I never knew the context of this island, other than huge cool statues. I was truly taken back when reading how this society played out. I ask the questions of why did they not act rationally when it came to loss of food, and why the didn’t think of an overall plan to avoid the foreseeable future.? At one point in time they were flourishing, and I think because of this they were blinded by their own egos to see that it wouldn’t last. In our world right now we are consumed with innovation and creation, but this creation is in places that we as humans do not NEED but want. I think it is time to start putting our planets needs over our own personal wants, because the truth behind it all is that we will be left with nothing but our materialist things. And that can’t save or help us move forward to any future at all.