More wake up calls

Thus Far, I have learned what it means to recognize a wicked problem and identify the characteristics of a wicked problem. Besides knowing what a wicked problem is, I think what I have most impacted me thus far is the different way I view the future on the environment. Sustainability for me before this class was a shallow meaning of ‘going-green’ or recycling or making wise choices. Now, I view sustainability issues and wicked problems in a mindful and respectful light. I find myself wanting to fight for nature because I now believe nature should contain rights, rights that should be imprinted into the constitution. Also, after watching the 11th hour, I do not know why but the issue of deforestation deeply struck my heart. Just the thought of the earth with no trees give me fear and made me want to talk to people of power in government positions to speak up about the lack of care for nature. Coming from a person who deeply loves nature, I found the concept of biophilic design so interesting this week. People do have urges to connect to nature and I believe the more use of plants as decor, or simply the more gardens or flowers we grow the happier society will get. Sometimes I imagine living in the city and think of how much I would miss seeing trees and other forms of nature. Most people feel moved by nature and I feel that biophilic design could revolutionize people’s thoughts on protecting the earth.

Whenever I thought of poverty, I often time associated the word with poor people without basic needs to survive. Interestingly, the author of “Is Poverty Responsible for Global Environmental Degradation?” proposed another way to think of poverty by defining it in terms of vulnerability and describing how poverty is a competition among social groups and the state in a pursuit of wealth and power. By viewing poverty in light of a competition among social groups, then the blame of environmental degradation gets put on the government and the upper-class society. I agree that poor people are not to be blamed for their unsustainable practices because they are only trying to survive and no not have access to learn how to practice environmentally friendly farming. Although, I do believe that people in power of impoverished countries need to properly educate lower class citizens on how to live a sustainable lifestyle. Furthermore, by implementing rights-based sustainable development I believe people will be aware of the depleting amounts of natural resources the earth will have left in the future and this will ease the blames of poverty is responsible for environmental degradation. Global Environmental Degradation mostly roots from the western society values of overconsumption and the need for new products each season in my opinion.

During the past three weeks, I have found myself becoming more aware of how my actions impact the environment. Whenever I need to throw away a plastic cup I try to find a recyclable bin that takes only plastic or whenever I need to print papers I try to conserve as much paper as possible. Although these thoughts or actions do not major impact sustainability, I recognize that want to protect the environment as best as I can. More specifically, I have found it challenging to think about how the industry that I dream to work in is such a wasteful and consumerist driven industry during this class. Finding the balance between sustainable yet fashionable clothing is very uncommon. The article Fashion and Sustainability + Sustain Design states sustainability requires a drastic change in our ecological footprint and how the product’s in the fashion industry are made and handled. The article mainly focuses on the how everything goes back to ‘change’. How are humans going to change the way we consume to reduce environmental harm? How can fashion labels produce clothes without harming the ocean by polluting the water with chemicals? There are so many questions that can be asked about how humans will take action to move our society to sustainable practices. Most people view the fashion industry as an extremely toxic and wasteful industry, but the article highlights beneficial pros of fashion as well. One of my favorite aspects of the fashion industry is the innovation, creativity, and imagination involved with designing and creating new products each season. Imagination, creativity, and innovation are encouraged by the competitiveness in the field. Without a competitive market, the system could result in a rather lackluster environment damaging to human welfare. The creativity involved in fashion inspires people to express themselves and feel confident. The culture behind fashion is face-paced and diverse, yet the industry draws in money to strengthen the economy and allows people to personalize their appearance and wardrobe.

Leyla from the TED talk said that over 65% of UK tea drinkers admit to over-filling their kettles and calculations show that in one day of extra energy use from boiling kettles is enough to light all of the streetlights in England for a night. She proposed the idea of designing kettles that engaged users to a more efficient use. Products that would be more efficient is what she calls behavior-changing products, systems, or services that intervene and solve problems up front. Living in America, overconsumption is a common theme seen in indulging in food, clothes, binge-watching entertaining shows and more. I just loved Leyla’s mindset of finding ways to make products more efficient in saving energy. She sets a bold call for humans to think bigger and to research into green myths. I think people just need a wake-up call. Society has been ignorant of how badly our consumer-culture lifestyle affects our oceans, air, and all forms of life.


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