Sustainability is for Everyone

I came into Wicked Problems of Industrial Practice not really knowing what was going to come.  “What are wicked problems?”, “what is this class going to be about?”, and “what do wicked problems have to do with merchandising?” were all questions running through my head when I initially enrolled in this course and again on my first day of class.  In the few short weeks I have attended this class, I have already answered each of those questions.  Each of those questions relate back to the term “sustainability”.  I knew this term beforehand, considering I have been an agriculturalist for most of my life.  Sustainability has been something that is often discussed by people I am always surrounded by.  Farmers and ranchers discuss how there is an extremely scarce number of them left, and if the population continues to grow so rapidly, once these farmers die off who will replace them? Or in other words, who will feed the world?  If you did not already know, sustainability can be described as the process of keeping and maintaining certain levels of things.  Sustainability has certainly evolved over the decades.  For example, this is shown in the story about Easter Island, it is discussed how the population did not manage their natural resources adequately, which resulted in the death of every single person on the island.  It was easy to make the connections from this story back to how people live today, luckily, we now have a larger surplus of goods and many allies to get us out of these issues.  So hopefully, we never see the day that those on the island did.  People today often act similar to how those on Easter Island did, from being wasteful to simply not caring about our environment.  This ties back to integrational responsibility and paradigms; it is our job as humans on this Earth to set examples of taking care and being kind to the Earth so it will last for many centuries to come.   

The story about Easter Island, correlates to the documentary we watched during class known as “11th Hour”.  To summarize, this documentary discusses how the destructive behaviors of the human race effects nature.  This is one example of the many wicked problems that were acknowledged throughout 11th hour.  A wicked problem is something that may never be solved, or it is something that will take a long time and efforts from lots of people to get under control.  In the few classes I have attended for this course, I have already learned the characteristics of wicked problems: vague problem definition, undefined Solution, no endpoint, and irreversible unique urgent.  From doing Activity 1 and the Wildest Thing Activity, I was able to get a better understanding of what a truly wicked problem is, as well as how those characteristics play a role in them.  The Wildest Thing Activity allowed me to really think outside the box to determine a solution to problems that were on the verge of being wicked.  Now that I have discussed wicked problems quite a bit, a tame problem, on the other hand, is the opposite from a wicked problem.  A tame problem is an issue that is manageable and even “fixable” to some extent.  Before this class, I never really thought about a wicked or tame problem in scenarios other than in an agricultural aspect.  But I now see how these problems are all across the board in nearly every aspect of life.   

After completing the activities, watching the documentary, and listening to the lectures the past couple of weeks I began to get curious of my own personal carbon footprint.  So, I completed the online test to determine my score of 17.  I looked up what the average carbon footprint is and from my research I discovered it was around 20.  As of now, I am below average with my score of 17, but this class so far has encouraged me to want to reduce that number even more as the years go by! 

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