Coming into this class I had slight prior knowledge on sustainability due to prior classes or what I had heard from others or in articles. I had always thought sustainability was reducing our footprint. Since I have joined the class I have realized it is a lot more than that. Sustainability is about helping out the world now so that in the future we don’t have to be worried. Sustainability is about using what you have to create and recreate versus making more waste. Sustainability is what will change this planet. Being sustainable is the bridge to reducing pollution, waste, and lots of other issues.
Wicked problems are issues that can be deemed difficult to find a solution for. Being in this class I have learned that sustainability is a wicked problem. It is difficult to get companies across the board to come together and all be sustainable. Solving this one wicked problem will resolve lots of other issues along with it. Wicked problems are complex, non-linear issues whereas tame problems are sequential, there is a common enemy or problem, such as medical illness that can be healed with vaccines. Wicked problems lack an algorithm to solve it, which tame problems have.
In the TED talks from week 1, Andrew Dent spoke on “thrifting” and this idea of recycling items to their best ability and fullest potential. Recycling these items will eliminate waste and help us save money. I can personally apply this to my life by never throwing away my clothes. I can donate them, send them to place which except older goods, or if I am feeling extremely creative I, myself can create something new out of my older items. Me taking this step could intrigue others which in turn would lead to people wanting to try it out creating a movement. In Paul Gilding’s TED talk he speaks on how the earth is “full” and has been for a while due to rapid growth over a long period of time. Gilding says we need to radically change what we are doing if we want to make a change. He thinks we need to change the way we consume first and foremost. I feel like we need influencers being active in this change, and making changes themselves and posting about it. Due to their wide and heavy influence, people would see what they are doing and want to join in. I think it takes one person and a massive waterfall effect to occur to see the big change we want and NEED.
There are 6 main characteristics underneath the umbrella of wicked problems. These 6 include: vague problem definitions, variable solutions, solutions have no end point, solutions pose irreversible effects, solutions require unique approaches, and urgency. vague problem definitions touches on the difficulty precisely pinpoint what the problem is, because it may be framed differently. Variable solutions are difficult to identify one definite solution. solutions have no end point means that the end is never in sight. Solutions pose irreversible effects is when the effectiveness of a solution can’t be verified prior to implementation. Solutions require unique approaches is when the same solution will not work for problems across the board. And finally, urgency is is when if you fail to act on something soon enough it will cause harm. These 6 characteristics make it difficult to solve problems traditionally.
Sustainability is viewed differently across different cultures. In Easter Island the natives learned a tough lesson when they were not sustainable. They had to resort to cannibalism and slowly died off of the island due to their lack of sustainability with the resources that were given to them. In recent times we could see something like that repeating itself. Now a days we are too concerned with ourselves and being quick that we do not realize what our actions are doing. For me personally, I can actively try and reduce my personal waste. In that way I can use a water bottle every day so I am not using a straw, or a plastic water bottle. Just this one step will reduce a lot of waste, a long with that I can encourage my friends to do the same.
This idea of urgency greatly ties together with our carbon footprint. If we do not act now then it will keep growing and become an issue too big to deal with. I think our carbon footprint is an issue people do not realize how big it is. In this time that I have been in wicked problems I have learned that I have a bigger impact than I thought. With this being said I can spread awareness about the issue, or start the change. I think it is really cool to think that only one person can change this issue. Our carbon footprint needs to be acted on soon if we want to keep earth the beautiful place we call home.
Some wicked problems that I am passionate about are in my industry. Within fashion I am sad to say that we lead in polluting the earth. With that being said I am really interested in how we can reduce the fashion waste and pollution that is taking over. I think companies like Patagonia are really cool the way they care about the environment and are actively trying to reduce waste.
Wicked problems has taught me to be more mindful and think about my surroundings a lot more. We are given one earth and if we do not act now we could destroy it, I think our generation needs to step up so we can stop these issues.