Reflection on Wicked Problems and Sustainability

There has already been a lot of learning and growing for me as a result of this class from the first week. Before this class I had never really thought about, or heard of, a wicked problem and what it means. I knew about several of the environmental issues we are facing currently that were presented in the 11th hour (climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, population growth), but I did not know that they were classified as being a wicked problem as a result of their uniqueness, urgency, having no endpoint in sight, as well as having irreversible effects. To help end the contribution to those wicked problems we need to be more sustainable. Before this first week of class the word, “sustainability,” had a much simpler definition and meaning. Now I realize that it means more than just creating and building in a way that is environmentally friendly.

Wicked problems and the need for sustainability is demonstrated both in the reading about Easter Island and the film the 11th Hour. The Easter Island reading can be taken as a foreshadowing and an example of what could happen on a much larger scale to our entire planet. The people of Easter Island used up their resources that they could not get back, and that is why they eventually just died out completely. One of the most important resources they used up was the trees they had in the island. The loss of trees resulted in them not being able to fish, cook, or have heat, and this is happening on a much larger scale to our planet. What was interesting to me was the reason why they used up all their resources. This happened as a result of the competition to have the most statues built because of their religious beliefs. This was interesting to me because there is a lot of competition for resources in our world today and that is resulting in a great loss of those important resources we need.

The film the 11th Hour made me think a lot on what our planet will end up being like after a certain period of time as a result of these wicked problems. It made me think more in depth about what I already knew about what humans are doing to the planet. What can we do to help slow down the negative environmental effects we are having on the earth? What will happen when we use up all of our nonrenewable resources? How will these wicked problems impact future generations? The film really allowed me to step back and think about how we can change how we are treating the planet, and what could happen if we do not.

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