Blog 1 Wicked Problems

Wicked Problems Blog 1

            Coming into Wicked Problems my definition on sustainability changed slightly. I always assumed sustainability was something where people would use more renewable practices when making a product or constructing a service. While, this is true sustainability has a much deeper meaning, sustainability is meeting the needs of present day generation while still enabling future generations to meet their needs as well. Now that I know a wicked problem is something that does not have a final solution, I realized there are many things that could classify as a “wicked problem”.  Furthermore, the topics of climate change and water pollution don’t have a definite answer of how to fix these issues, only options that are best fit for that specific time. Tame problems on the other hand are issues that can be solved with a simple solution. 

            Thrifting is something that could make the issue of pollution be less of a problem. Practicing thrifting is something that many people could do just by changing little things in their daily life. In the Ted talk by Andrew Dent, he discussed how his mom reused butcher string often and in very practical ways. Thrifting is a method of reusing materials so they can get recycled as many times as possible, leading to less waste production in the world. This Ted Talk encouraged me to start reusing items that are believed to only have one use, to promote a healthy earth. Another encouraging video that was played during class was the speech where Greta Thunberg, nominated for a noble peace prize, stressed the need for change of the world-wide problem of climate change. Greta had such an enormous voice for such a young age. She called out the wealthy and politicians for not being proactive on this issue and demanded they do something to change this so the younger generations will be able to live peacefully on Earth.

            Knowing the six definitions of wicked problems has taught me much more about this topic than I thought it would. First, the vague problem definitions describe that it is difficult to directly pinpoint what the problem is because it may be framed differently among multiple and diverse stakeholders, diversity, geographic locations, governance regimes, societies with different cultures, plus not everyone will agree. Furthermore, there are variable solutions without one definite solution and the end is never in sight. Third, Cascading effects is when a small action grows into a larger impact on the system, resulting in unintended consequences. Fourth, solutions pose irreversible effects, meaning a wicked problem is considered irreversible because the effectiveness of a solution cannot be verified prior to implementation. Fifth, solutions require unique approaches. One cannot simple come up with the something in one day because not everything will work depending on the place and for all people. Lastly, wicked problems need to be acted on in a very urgent manner. Failure to act will undoubtedly result in permanent harm.

            Unlike most people in the world, Native Americans have always understood the importance of protecting the land on which the live. The have a long-standing tradition of living in a sustainable nature by respecting the interdependence of all living things and preserving natural resources. In contrast, Easter island has practiced their ways of life with a much different approach leading to a fast decline of natural resources and their population. Their religious ceremonies and negative approach on using natural resources eventually killed off their population and culture. This is similar to how the world today uses its natural resources in a very harmful way to the environment. What happened to Easter Island should be a reminder to us practices sustainability so future generations can enjoy the earth and have a healthy life. Instead, big political figures are turning a blind eye to the issue of climate change, pollution, and harmful chemicals being transferred into water streams. We should all be scared. The way we are selfishly using materials, that are not sustainable, are already declining animal populations. We need to respect and reserve nature to live healthy lives. When taking the carbon footprint, I was shocked at my results to know that my footprint was 45 tons of CO2 per year. However, my footprint is 8% better than average. While, this is better than I expected it would be I know I will take a further action to lessen my carbon footprint.

            Self-narratives and paradigm shifts differ in the sense that paradigm shifts require “collective reimaging goals, structures, rules, and behaviors. While self-narrative shifts questions how often one’s values, beliefs, and assumptions have changed significantly over time. The gap lies between through scrutiny of self-narratives and dominant social paradigm.

            The wicked problem that I believe I am going to explore is the issue of fast fashion. Fast fashion contributes largely to the textile waste that goes into landfills. This issue is urgent and needs to be addresses as soon as possible. Some ideas I have explored are reusing textiles and making backdrops out of them for window displays or reupholster mannequins with left over textile fabric. This will decrease the amount of textile waste will still making them look like brand new.

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