Natural. What comes to mind? Untouched? Possibly the thought of something in its original environment? Maybe you think of something as simple as a lushes’ forest of trees. Maybe you think of the human body and all of its beautiful, natural functions. Beauty can be found in all things natural, even the most elaborate or even the simplest aspects of natural are beautiful. Everything from a fetus within the mother’s womb, to a wild flower growing on the prairies of Oklahoma. This beauty is something that all want to preserve, something that we simply want to enjoy until the end. How? Sustainability.

To many sustainably is the practice of tree hugging, or the idea of preserving the earth for later generations. Although those are both arguable points, sustainability is the practice of saving our wellbeing and lives.  If you had asked me a year ago what I thought sustainability was I would have either shrugged or told you it was recycling. The thought of someone not knowing what sustainability is and the effects it has on our lives as inhibitors of this earth, actually brings fear into my mind. Sustainability is the practice of fulfilling todays needs with the least amount of effects on future generations. Today we are facing problems that have never been seen before. Problems that have no clear end or solution due to their unique nature and never before seen severity. These are collectively called wicked problems in our society today. These include but are not limited to homelessness, global warming, population inflection, etc. With wicked problems also comes tamed problems, these problems are viewed as situations that can be controlled or there is an end solution. The small pox as an example, once was a wicked problem, killing hundreds, now a vaccination has been created and can be classified as a tame problem. These are still problems in our society and world today, but they are simply controlled.

To better understand situations we are facing today the documentary, 11th Hour, was taken into consideration for greater understanding of the problems our world today is facing. Several problems were brought to light through the documentary, the use of unrenewable resources, deforestation, air pollution, ocean crisis, population growth, global warming and a few other situations. These are all issues that must be traced back to where they started, this is when we can start to actually fix them. These issues are caused strictly from the human population, we have set ourselves apart from the world and intend on using the earth’s resources but not doing anything for the earth in return. We are simply spending the earths income instead of its capitol. Who is actually causing the most damage? It’s not nature that’s hurting the environment, its nothing natural. These things stem from unnatural sources of pollution and growth. As humans we too are part of the beautiful natural state of the planet, but we have lost that mind set. When people come to the conclusion that the earth will live long after us, that it’s us that we are killing and that sustainability ultimately helps, we will start to actually make a difference.

Several attempts at bringing awareness about this situation have been executed, Washed Up being one. The OSU Museum of Art had an exhibit about the effects and impact pollution has had on not only our sea life but also our lives in general. Washed Up set strong emphases on pollution ended up in the oceans and how they have altered our world and our willingness to accept the state of our waters and sea life. The exhibit redefined the meaning of change. The change we saw through the exhibit was that of a negative one. You experience beautiful and natural fossils in the sea and get an understanding of their existence. Then you’re interrupted by the overwhelming amounts of pollution found in the sea that have been happening for so long that fossils are becoming imprinted with literal trash. The visit was truly an unseen change in my attitude toward sustainability, by showing me exactly what the outcome can be without it.  

So what now? It starts by you, one. Just one simple change can strike a ripple of good habits in hundreds of people, changes that your great grandkids may thank you for.

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