Is our future sustainable?

Over this past week, I have been asked many times what I think sustainability is and how it will affect my future. To me, it is the promise and trust in our resources so that generations from now, we will have the same quality of life we do today. This definition doesn’t work for the future I see headed our way. I know that in even twenty years, the world will not look and function in the same ways. For this reason, it is important to see sustainability as using resources and materials that will not deplete our environment of what we truly do need to survive, such as trees for clean air. In order to do this, we must look at our way of living and see that it cannot last forever. We have tried to remove ourselves so far from nature, and nature is finally retaliating.

What is a wicked problem? It is an issue that people cannot solve in a matter of days, they might not know where to start, and it seems too daunting to handle. These problems exist for us to solve, yet they are too interconnected and complex that it seems hard to find a starting point. On the other side of things, a tame problem is one that you can find the solution to a lot easier, and the route of the problem is a lot less deep than a wicked problem. Examples of wicked problems were seen in the 11th hour film. This film was interesting to watch, and also a harsh reality to face. There are so many issues with our natural world, and it feels worse knowing that I, a human, am a cause to the problem. Is there a way that humankind can get out of this mess? How can we stop the damage and start to repair? Is there even a way to get every person on the same page when it comes to global warming? These are all wicked problems that we must attempt to solve. The six characteristics of wicked problems are true too about global warming. It is indeed urgent, solutions require unique approaches, they pose irreversible effects, have no endpoint, are variable solutions, and it feels like another vague problem we don’t know how to fix. These characteristics are important when figuring out if something is a wicked problem or not. The exercise in class really helped me navigate through wicked problems. Having to reflect on the topics and issues was important for us to keep those things active in our mind and really try to seek out better answers and solutions. I felt confident in my answers and my ability to realize what the issues were, but I learned that sometimes it’s hard to know if something is a more important issue than another. Especially with all of the topics that we had to write about, they all intertwine together so it is hard to say where to start and which one is more urgent than the rest.

This activity was a good reflection after reading the Easter Island story. All of the issues from the island were caused by other issues, a domino effect of collapse, and it seems that we are headed down the same path. Not only are we running out of resources like Easter Island, we are not agreeing with each other and leaning on humankind for support and community. We are in a battle with each other, just like the people of Easter Island. We must learn to change our fate, as it seems we know what is coming soon.


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