Reagan E. Dahlgren
DHM 1101 Wicked Problems of Industrial Practice
April 18, 2019
The Tragedy of Easter Island:
Are We Moving Towards the Same Disaster?
Originally, I thought sustainability was making better environmental choices in the fashion industry. Little did I know that it is only one small part of sustainability, and that there are three portions. Sustainability is improving and making better choices on environmental impacts, social conditions, and the economic cost. A wicked problem is an issue or problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often challenging to recognize. A wicked problem is different than a tame problem because a tame problem can be solved unlike a wicked problem. Andrew Dent, is an expert on sustainable materials and has created a generation of new sustainable products. In his TED talk he addresses the issues of throwing something away that can could be taken apart to make something else or completely reuse something in a different way. Instead of just throwing something away in this forever growing landfill. Paul Gilding is an independent writer, activists, and adviser on an sustainable economy. Instead of telling his audience the science behind everything he evoked fear on what we all are going to have face in our lifetime. Which is fighting for civilization. The earth is full. It is going to take all of us to make a change. His message was terrifying but also a little bit hopeful. Wicked problems are challenging to solve because of vague problem definitions, variable solutions, solutions have no end point, solutions pose irreversible effects, solutions require unique approaches, and urgency. Native Americans have a long line of history of being sustainable. When native american had were hunters and gathers when they would kill an animal they would every single part of the family, that is being sustainable. Unlike Native Americans the people of Easter Island were not as sustainable. The people on the Easter Island had very little resources, but they still turned the island into a highly developed civilization. There was a number of clans that competed with each other especially with there statue building. Moving the statues was there biggest issue because they relied on human power. They started to cut down trees to use tree trunks as rollers to move the heavy statues. They ended up completely deforesting the island, which caused a number of problems. It forced people to abandon their houses and started to live in caves and other flimsy homes. They couldn’t build canoes wich made fishing more challenging, and food was very limited. People even resulted to cannibalism. Today we are a very sophisticated technology based society. Yet we have killed so many trees in forests, and we have forever growing landfills. We have one issue and try to fix it by causing a bigger issue, as of now it is a wicked problem. We should be learning from the pass yet we are moving towards a monster of a problem just like Easter Island. Today we are eating up all are resources while destroying our planet. Everyone has a carbon footprint. But we should all be doing are part to try and decrease our carbon footprint. I have personally taken a carbon footprint quiz in high school out of curiosity. I myself have always recycled because that’s what my family has done growing up. But what I learned was that recycling still isn’t enough. It’s actually barely scratching the surface to this major problem. I learned that if everyone on the planet had the exact same carbon footprint as me that there would need to be seven planets to be able to handle the stress that is being put on earth!! We have to do better than that. I didn’t realize at first how the fashion industry doesn’t practice sustainability as well as it should. Although companies are moving towards more sustainable ways, there still is lots of room for improvement. I would like to explore textile waste because not only is it wasteful and hard on the environment but it is also losing companies money. Figuring out a better solution would only be a gain to the environment and the company. So what can companies do to not have as much textile waste?