To me sustainability means using environmentally friendly methods of production and of course, reduce, reuse, recycle. Those words seem simple and we learned about them back in kindergarten but, most of us aren’t actually putting those words into action. This is mostly because we’ve never actually learned how to put them into practice. By being sustainable we not only help the environment but also the economy and most importantly our future. Recently I feel like sustainability has become more of a “trend” as people switch a plastic straw for a metal one but eventually you see these trends fade and people aren’t making these changes into a lifestyle. In the video about the Native American’s perspective they explain how sustainability isn’t just a term for them but rather a lifestyle. This was really eye opening to me because it shows that if it’s possible for that large group of people to use sustainable practices constantly, it shouldn’t be hard for the rest of us to if we put the effort in. They have the mindset of thinking generations ahead and embody the idea of intergenerational responsibility.
There are two types of problems: wicked and tame. A wicked problem is difficult and almost impossible to solve because of the complexity it involves. A tame problem is different because it is stable and has definitive solutions. There are different characteristics that make a wicked problem difficult to solve. The big ones are the variable solutions requiring unique approaches and the vague problem definitions. The effort used to approach these can create other problems because it’s hard to find a solution that will work for everyone. Other characteristics are that the solutions have no end point, they pose irreversible effects, and are urgent. If we don’t act soon, permanent harm can be caused for our future.
Andrew Dent and Paul Gilding mention some key points in their Ted Talks. Dent talks about thrifting and having the mindset of how an item can be reused or repurposed into something else. Not only does recycling reduce pollution, but it also saves money. This is why I never throw clothes away and I either donate or sell them. Dent has helped hundreds of clients with developing and improving their products through the use of innovative materials. Paul Gilding’s main statement is that “the Earth is full.” This means we have too much stuff that doesn’t benefit the economy or environment. There is more negative than positive so we need to make a change. Overall we just need to be more aware and realize that any decision, big or small, can impact the environment.
The reading about Easter Island proves that it’s important to start acting on wicked problems now so we don’t end up like those who lived on Easter Island. They had to make due with limited resources and eventually their society died off due to the poor geographic and civilization issues. Our society isn’t similar to Easter Island right now because we don’t have the mindset of living with limited resources. We are a lot more materialistic so we wouldn’t be able to survive the way they lived. This is why we need to shift our self-narrative and live a more sustainable life. We need to think about the impact on Earth when decision making and not just ourselves. If individuals in society have self-narrative shifts we can create a paradigm shift that restructures our everyday lives.
Since being in this class I’ve realized the importance of a carbon footprint and I want to find ways to reduce mine. When I was doing the carbon calculator, for travel I was below the average household amount due to how many air miles my family and I travel per year. Then when I got to the food section the result was worse than average so that is something I want to work on and help my family work on too. One way I can help this is eating more organic food and less meat. It’s important to me to contribute to the environment in a positive way. The wicked problem that I will be exploring are the fashion manufacturing processes. They involve a lot of wasted resources and unsafe working conditions.