The Wicked World That We Call Home

Sustainability and wicked problems are not topics that I have ever cared or even really thought about. When I heard the word “sustainable” I just associated it with things like recycling but the meaning of sustainability has evolved into so much more. Sustainability is doing what you can to keep the earth going, that means anything from recycling to reducing your carbon footprint. The earth needs our help to protect it, and the earth needs help now. The need for sustainability is urgent because without change the earth is on track to be inhabitable and unable to sustain life. These problems that are causing the earths downward spiral are called wicked problems. There are tame problems, which have a clear solution and are reversible and then there are wicked problems. Wicked problems are irreversible problems that have no endpoint, are very unique, have undefined solutions, and need to be solved urgently. Wicked problems range from climate change to nonrenewable resource use. Wicked problems are very scary because there is no end point because nobody is willing or able to make lifestyle changes to make a positive affect on these issues. There is a huge disconnect in people and nature. People life in a “human created environment”. People started to overuse nature as a resource and they did not renew the resources that they were using fast enough. People have created such a problem that the earth would not be able to sustain the amount of people living today without the use of things like fossil fuels. Peoples lifestyles would be completely different without the use of fossil fuels and other nonrenewable resources.

Everyone needs to take responsibility for themselves and not take advantage of our planet. With our reading on Easter Island we were given a real life example of what can happen when we are treating nature the way we are treating it. Easter Island is on a smaller scale because it is only on one small island but it is the perfect metaphor for what could happen in the next few years if we don’t start making some major changes. On Easter Island the people completely depended on the earth for all of their resources and by doing that they caused irreversible damage to the environment. They struggled with deforestation, biodiversity loss, and nonrenewable resource use all because of their own actions. This is exactly what could happen to the whole planet. The 11th Hour film explained how the use of resources, especially the use of fossil fuels are a major barrier to sustainability today. Fossil fuels are causing problems for people and their health, the lives of animals, and overall the earth and its well being. Fossil fuels are dysfunctional to a sustainable future. I know that I will personally work to change my lifestyle and reduce my carbon footprint. Knowing that lives are at risk if we do not start to take action to help out planet is the ultimate motivation for us to all look at our own lives and make a change.

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