The idea of sustainability has been created to save our planet. Without it, the world will be polluted, and we will run out of resources like food and fresh water. Sustainability is creating an avoidance of depleting natural resources. Sustainability is also a way of beginning to solve the problems in the world. There are two types of problems: wicked and tamed. A wicked problem is a complex problem that withstands traditional ways of solving the issue. A tamed problem is a sequential problem with more simple solutions.
There are six characteristics of a wicked problem. The first characteristic is that it’s a vague problem. Meaning that there isn’t a way to exactly pinpoint the problem because the issue might be viewed in different ways by different social groups or cultures. The second one is that there are various solutions, which makes it difficult to make a solution that works for everyone, everywhere. It’s also almost impossible to identify an endpoint to the problem because of how big it is. A solution poses an irreversible effect because a wicked problem is considered irreversible considering its size. Solutions require unique approaches because there is not one solution that is suitable for everyone, everywhere. Wicked problems are urgent because if we don’t act on them it can out humankind in major danger, which is also relevant in the act of sustainability.
Andrew Dent and Paul Gildings Ted Talks on sustainability hit many key points that most people miss. Dent discussed the idea of thrifting which means – reduce, reuse, recycle. When we make something, we need to think about what it could become in its second or third life. We should be more aware of the things we can reuse, like cardboard boxes and yarn. Gilding touches on the fact that the earth is full – of us, our stuff, our products, our waste etc. We as humans are living beyond our means and we think we can bend the earth’s limits to what we need. We simply cannot overload planet earth and we need to change our perspective on how we are going to save it instead of overfill it. He states that the end of growth is a social issue that we need to get ready for and we need to change the way we live our lives.
The story of Easter Island was a perfect example of how important sustainability is, and how we need to save and reuse our recourses. The people of Easter Island faced major geographic and civilization issues. Because of their use of tree’s for shelter and food, the created deforestation When they ran out of trees they had to look for other resources to live off of. They no longer had wood for shelter, good soil, and they no longer could created resources like fishing nets to get food. This made their main source of nutrition chicken and potatoes. They also had to start using stones for their shelter, which created another issue for them. They no longer had stones to create statues, which had become a large part of their belief system and created major social issues. After their food started to run out many of them became cannibals. This is all a huge reflection of how important sustainability truly is.
Native Americans spoke about their way of living and how it fully depends on sustainability as a key way of living. They embodied the idea of thinking about how the actions they take today can impact their future. They explain that when they search for food like berries, they don’t pick every berry on the bush to ensure that they don’t destroy it. When picking flowers that they use for dyes, they pic every seventh flower to make sure they don’t kill off all the flowers in that area. They do these things to make sure they are present in the moment and have an understanding of what they are doing to the planet because they understand that everything is connected.
One thing humans can do to become more sustainable is to realize their carbon footprint they are leaving on the planet. A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide we release into the earth from the way we live, such as the pollution from gas or factories. Simple ways we can maintain our carbon footprint is by turning lights off, driving less, carpooling, eating more organic foods, and reducing waste. If everyone was more aware of their carbon footprint it would make a huge difference on the planet and it would create a more sustainable way of living. I believe that this is one of the easiest ways to help save our planet.
We need to shift our self-narrative of how we live our day to day lives to something more sustainable. Our values, beliefs, and assumptions need to shift into saving our planet instead of doing things just for ourselves, without realizing the impact it can have on earth. If we all have a self-narrative shift, we can create a paradigm shift, which is collective reimagining goals, structures, rules etc. If we all have a simple understanding that there are many easy ways to achieve sustainability then we can save the planet much faster than we could any other way.
One wicked problem that I want to explore is poverty and how we might be able to help the people in third world countries by being more sustainable. As Americans, we waste about 54 lbs of clothing each year, that we could be donating to people who are living in poverty. That alone could make a big change in the planet and we could be saving other people while saving the planet. I think we should try to kill two birds with one stone, and try to save others while saving ourselves from the world we live in.