Students and Sustainability

            Have you ever stopped and analyzed why wicked problems are so relevant in the world that there is an entire course dedicated to them? These problems that lack easy solutions are dangerously common in our society. After searching through the many options I could choose from to study further, I landed on the pollution of our oceans. This is because I, like most should, consider the ocean to be one of, if not the most, crucial part of our ecosystem. There is tons of waste being dumped into the oceans daily by the hand of man and we as people have the audacity to act like a solution to that is complex and hard to figure out. Another problem similar to this one with equally devastating effects is the failing American healthcare system. All of the rules and policies that are currently in place need badly to be updated. Millions of Americans lack enough income to even afford basic healthcare. There is clearly something going wrong if citizens can’t afford to keep their families and themselves healthy at the least. This wicked problem affects the population more directly than ocean pollution. With the ocean, the negative effects slowly get to society; like eating a fish that consumed plastic, but with the outrageous prices of simple doctor’s visits, people are directly refused help and negatively impacted. This shows that the leaders of our nation’s moral compass is pointed towards money above anything else, even sympathy.

            Although I wasn’t present for the sustainability office visit, the fact that Oklahoma State is so dedicated to doing their part in keeping the Earth in good shape proves a lot to me. Students produce massive amounts of  trash due to assignments and schoolwork so incorporating recycling into the system is beneficial in numerous ways. The younger generations are very eager to do what they can to help, the only thing they need is exposure to what the consequences of their actions are. Millennials as well as Gen Z are more mindful to the state of the economy than our elders by far. We are the people who will actually make a change and work towards doing better at taking care of mother Earth if we put our minds to it. While the people who originally played a part in hurting our nation disregarded the differences between right and wrong, the younger generations will take on the future with more empathy and morally correct mindsets. I believe that in enough time, the ecosystem will be on the road to recovery as long as the students, children, and young adults continue to put the things we need to fix in the spotlight; we are the last chance that this society has at becoming healthy again.

            The weeks that I have attended this class have been filled with thoughts on how these things became a problem in the first place. Who decided one day that it was a good idea to dump waste into the ocean? Who continues to approve the acts of deforestation regardless of the fact that we are running out of land to destroy? These seemingly simple questions have become ones that are often ignored by many. We are all aware of what state the world is in, why do we dance around the idea of change instead of going directly to the source? The biggest problem with the people who contribute to all of the negative things happening around the world daily in my opinion is that they refuse to take responsibility for their actions. I know that I, as well as many of my friends and acquaintances, realize when we have done wrong and work immediately on trying to fix it, simply because it’s the right thing to do. We have even gone as far as to go against what our parents have embedded in our minds in attempts to do the morally correct thing. With all of the things happening around us, I will wrap up this conversation by posing the question, “If morals as well as responsibility for your actions are taught from childhood, why is it so hard for the main causes of the problem to practice what they preach?”

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