Blog 1: What Does Sustainability Mean To You?

Have you ever thought much about the future of our planet? Sustainability is just that, the idea of creating a better future. I had initially thought sustainability was specifically a manufacture’s ability to stay in business without creating much pollution or damage to the environment. Now that I have seen “The 11th Hour”, and have listened to the first lecture of class, I understand that sustainability is an issue in all aspects of life. For example, the video stressed the wicked problem of deforestation. If we as a society continue to cut down mass acres of forests and replace them with pavement and buildings, the future generations will have little to no trees at all. If we want the next generations to have a sustainable future, we need to scale back on the amount of trees we are cutting down and plant more trees now. Can we truly do that though? Deforestation seems easy to solve, but if we stop and think about all of the products we have that are made from wood, we can see that we need the lumber from the trees. We will always need to harvest lumber in one way or another. This makes deforestation a wicked problem because we cannot solve this problem completely. Tame problems do not share this same characteristic; they can be solved. Wicked problems also have vague problem definitions (some one might define the problem differently than you would), variable solutions (there could be more than one way to ease the effect, but not completely solve the problem), the solutions have no endpoint, they also pose irreversible effects, and require unique approaches. Most importantly, wicked problems are also urgent and should be given our immediate attention. To be considered a wicked problem, the problem in question must have most of these characteristics. “The 11th Hour” was extremely eye opening. I had no idea the astonishing rate at which the population is growing, or that this problem actually be considered a wicked problem. Is there anything we can do to lessen or stop the wicked problems discussed in “The 11th Hour”? According to the filmmakers, we need to make changes now in order to achieve sustainably for the future.

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1 Response to Blog 1: What Does Sustainability Mean To You?

  1. Sustainability to me means just taking the first step. You can’t go green / zero waste / completely sustainable in a week. It’s too daunting. I just took baby steps, and the more you learn the easier it gets. Also, people like yourself is imperative because you keep the conversation going!

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