How Can We Change Our Ways?

Although I have not always known what a wicked problem was, I have this feeling that I have always known that there are problems in our world that we don’t necessarily have an answer to. We can come up with as many solutions as we can imagine, but it all comes down to our culture, our society and mainly our morals. I have talked about the problem of packaging waste, whether that is with food, consumer goods, or just everyday materials and just from the time I have started thinking about this problem I have come up with many ideas. We could start to emphasize and regulate that packaging is both recyclable and has been recycled or we could start implementing quick acting biodegradable packaging that was made from recycled materials, specifically materials of nature. But after taking time to really think about the impact this would have on our world, I started thinking about the constrictions and barriers that would turn these ideas down, very quickly. These barriers, or cons, outweigh the ideas for solutions, or pros, from big businesses to small mom and pop stores. People want the cheapest material for packaging that they can find because it is something that they wouldn’t buy if they didn’t have to, since it gets thrown away. So, another wicked problem that I thought of, while thinking about the other problem I am pursuing, that is the wicked problem of product pricing. We always think about how and why people cannot afford the simple necessities of everyday life and a large argument for that is because we live in a world, where everything is overpriced. I have come to really start to understand wicked problems at their root, and that is not just the definition of it, but the reason that we have wicked problems in our world, especially wicked problems that should not exist. I have come to believe that the root of these problems originate from human behavior, desires and competitiveness. 

            The sustainability office visit really opened my eyes to the incentives of being sustainable. It also made me realize how important and mindful it is to change your lifestyle, usually in simple ways. I didn’t realize how serious the university took sustainability and ever since I learned the easy ways that the university practices sustainability, I have started to notice them. From turning off lights when you leave a room to turning off the air conditioning once everyone has left a building. I learned how easy it is to save money in places where you wouldn’t think there was any money to save. “If the efforts that I saw didn’t exist,” we would be paying more in tuition, have less horticulture across campus, be increasing the pollution in Stillwater, creating waste in massive amounts, wasting money on new furniture, and so much more. I found the upholstery shop very interesting, I didn’t know that they reupholstered furniture across campus, and I guess that’s a good thing because you cannot tell that the furniture in residential halls, offices, buildings, and in dining halls are repurposed. I’d say that if we didn’t have such a huge emphasis on sustainability, not just on campus, that we would be predicting a faster and more current state of emergency. I just wonder why more campuses, businesses and society in general don’t have such a large emphasis on sustainability in everyday life.  

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