Blog Post 1

To be completely honest, I had never given much thought to the idea of sustainability before I took a class with Dr. Jayadas. I recycle at home, but beyond that, I didn’t do much. Sustainability is all about finding ways to make our lives more environmentally friendly to help the planet and future generations. My understanding and interest in sustainability has definitely evolved over the past year, mainly. After day one in Wicked Problems, some of my classmates and I realized how unsustainable our sorority house is (and probably most of Greek life as well). We use Styrofoam cups and plastic lids and straws every single day, multiple times a day. We spoke about it and decided to try and take action, so we are currently negotiating with our house mom to try and find a better alternative and cut back on the usage of these things. A wicked problem isn’t very easily defined. The six characteristics that begin to describe a wicked problem are “vague problem definitions, variable solutions, solutions have no end point, solutions pose irreversible effects, solutions require unique approaches and urgent.” I think the most difficult part of wicked problems is the fact that there are variable solutions. In some ways, this is a good thing because having multiple possibilities raises the odds of success, but it also poses difficulties. There are so many opinions in the world, people are bound to disagree. Some will think one way is the correct way to go about the issue and others will think the other option is best. Its also scary to think that a good sounding solution could cause new issues and this could go on forever and ever. Also, how long would it take for effectiveness to be seen for a wicked problem? I feel like we wouldn’t know it was working for years and years and then, what if it hasn’t been? A tame problem is much less complicated than a wicked problem. Perhaps because the cause and solution are easier to identify or at least easier to implement and see change. Activity 1 utilized the six characteristics of wicked problems to better understand the depth of these issues. It helped to emphasize the urgency and severity of the issues we’re facing today.  The 11th Hour was a truly eye-opening film. It covers so many wicked problems we’re facing today like global warming, corporate greed and “natural disasters.” I put natural disasters in quotations because we are actually causing some of them. We are the cause of global warming, which can be the cause of wildfires, we drill and frack for oil which can be the cause of earthquakes and more. I never really understood the involvement of corporations in the state of our planet until the film. They are so greedy and money-fueled that they get involved and block the possibility of saving our planet. They won’t do anything to prevent these horrific actions until it becomes profitable for them. If we continue on this path, Earth will become similar to Venus in that it’s basically a fireball, or we’ll face a fate similar to Easter Island. Easter Island should really be a wake-up call for all of us and needs to be discussed so much more. Although the island wasn’t particularly inhabitable when they got there, they truly did run it to the ground. They cut down all the trees which posed a huge issue for shelter and more, and ultimately trapped them on the island to their deaths. We face a similar issue regarding deforestation. If we cut down all the trees, not only do we lose a huge resource for ourselves, we eliminate the home of so many types of wildlife. The inhabitants of Easter Island also began facing issues when they divided. I think this should say a lot to us because it seems as though we are very much divided today. If the Easter Islanders had united to help solve their issues or at least get off the island, perhaps they wouldn’t have completely perished. We should unite and put our heads together to help solve the wicked problems that we are facing today.


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