Wicked Problems around Us

For my second blog post I will be discussing the importance of what we learned on campus last week in Wicked Problems. We have covered many articles before attending class, visited the sustainability building, and have started to think of our wicked problem for upcoming final project.  The Oklahoma State sustainability building does a great job to keeping the campus sustainable with the use of recycling, bus transportation, and renewable energy. I learned at our visit that, Oklahoma State University has a competitive advantage being the most eco friendly school in the nation. Before class we read a passage called The Lessons of Easter Island. This article went into great detail about the history of Easter Island. Making me think more in depth about how the Polynesians lived there with little resources. This past week in class we have explored a problem in the world that we want to explore for our final projects. For my final project I will covering the points of environmental degradation in todays oceans. I want to talk about global warming, dumping of nuclear waste, and effects on our oceans. I also want to get incite on my wicked problem and how its also effecting people today.

            The OSU stainability trip opened my eyes to what I can do in my everyday life here on campus. I learned about what Oklahoma State has to offer, for example we have 150 courses that touch on sustainability in many different colleges. The upholstery shop caught my eye because it involves textiles. I enjoyed listening about how they recover furniture and recycle leftover textile waste. Recycling leftover textile waste is huge because textiles make up a very large percentage in our landfills.  The recycling center opened my eyes to what Oklahoma State is doing for the environment. I’m proud to go to a university who cares about the earth and sustainability in very different ways. A good example of what we do is the recycling center, they sort white paper from cardboard as well as recycled goods. It amazed me to see workers sort through trash and realize that, that’s what these people do for a living. Something I disliked about going to the recycling center was when we went to back to the compost, it smelled really bad due to a mix of cow manure, dirt, and lots more. The compost is a mixture that in the end result is a rich soil for our plants on campus. I also loved hearing about how our dining services are using recyclable cups to reduce waste. 

            Before class we read a passage called The Lessons of Easter Island. Easter island was described to be the most remote places on earth with a population of 7,000 people. The article was very interesting to read about how the people lived and how the island became well known into history. The first people to live on the island was the time of the 15thcentury and the people were Polynesians. The island is most known for the massive statues that cover the Easter Island to this very day. In the 1600’s resources became very scarce due to deforestation. Something we need to think about today is that “for thousands of years they sustained way of life in accordance with an elaborate set of social and religious customs” (The Lessons of Easter Island). If the people lived on Easter Island for thousands of years with little resources, what is going to happen to the world when we completely run out of resources? 

            In this class I love how we interact with our learning communities to get other opinions in our major.  The assignment done in class last week was called The Wildest Thing, in this assignment we were explore environmental a social issues within our major. Every group came up with a “I wish…” and “I really hate that…” In the dreams column our group wrote I wish… people would stop using plastic straws, littering, and overly polluting. In the gripes column our group wrote I really hate that… many people and businesses continue to use plastic straws, and that over fishing is still an issue. Our group began thinking in this assignment to ban plastic straws as our main issue for this assignment. We talked about making a law to ban plastic straws in all public places including restaurants and to end production of plastic straws. Another benefit we thought of was that all high school students would be required to take a sustainability class to expand their knowledge of saving the earth. I believe if everyone does a simple task of sustainably we can make a big difference in our future and for generations to come. Activity two has helped me brainstorm more into what I want my final project to be. For my wicked problem I want to look into is is environment degradation with the fashion industry. There are many problems with the fashion industry but I want to focus on how it is damaging the earth. I want to talk about global warming, dumping of nuclear waste, and effects on our oceans. I also want to get incite on my wicked problem and how its also effecting people. How can we as humans prevent the damage to the earth from the fashion industry? This topic is wicked because if fashion could be more sustainable it would help the planet tremendously. Between, chemical waste, global warming, effects on the ocean, recycling, and labor laws this is a very big problem.

            This wicked problems class has opened my eyes to what I can do to help the environment as well what I can do on campus. The Oklahoma State sustainability office and visit, upholstery shop and recycling center was breath taking to see first hand to what our university is doing a few miles away. I would recommend visiting to anyone interested in sustainability.  

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