Going into this course, I had a rough idea of what the term ‘wicked problem’ mean’t. I asked around a bit because I honestly didn’t know what to expect, and I came to the conclusion that it was a problem that doesn’t have one or any solution, which makes it “wicked.” I understand there is a big difference between a wicked problem and a tame problem, this is because designing would be a lot easier if wicked problems didn’t exist. The word that separates wicked and tame is sustainable. I believe this because with tame problems the question of ‘good sustainability’ is answered quickly, and with wicked problems that question takes a couple of valleys and mountains to reach. Although that was the conclusion I came to, I never heard anything about sustainability. After the first class, I realized that sustainability is an important subject of this course. With this key subject in mind, the thought of humanity and the trials we face everyday crossed my mind and I pictured sustainability as how we overcome and persevere through those trials. I quickly learned that in this course the definition of sustainability is more about ecological balance and designing and solving problems in a way that is good for the Earth.
We discussed in class some characteristics about wicked problems that helped me understand the meaning of it better. These characteristics are reasons why wicked problems are so hard to solve. Sometimes when a problem is presented, it can be presented in a way that is confusing or too vague to the people trying to fix it. Also, when you have variable solutions that have no end point, an irreversible effect, or just require unique approaches, it can make things quite difficult for designers. The last characteristic is when the problem is urgent. This makes the problem extremely wicked because there isn’t even enough time to think of a solution that is sustainable.
In one of our assignments, we read about Easter Island. Basically, this story was about an island that was inhabited by a small group of people that populated quickly and was soon destroyed because they used up all of their resources. The lesson I learned from this is that nature is what keeps us going and if we take it for granted, we may be endangering ourselves. Especially after watching a few videos about the environment in this course, I began to worry about the Earth and how we are slowly destroying it. Of course we have found ways to use man made processes as vital things to our health, but we also rely heavily on natural resources. At the rate we are going, I am scared that we are using too many unnatural things that we will ruin the Earth. The video, “11th hour,” that we watched in class really opened my eyes to how bad we are damaging the Earth. Multiple experts gave their intake on the ecological problems that we face and certain steps that we can start taking to solve these problems. We also did an activity along with this video where we determined if the problems in the video were wicked or not. Some of these include: climate change, biodiversity loss, population growth, deforestation, and non-renewable resource use. Another assignment we did was the wildest thing activity. We had to come up with dreams and gripes, ways to fix these things, and a crazy process that we could take if only possible! I wrote something about installing recycling systems in every public place that give you money for the amount of things that you recycle. We also briefly talked about carbon footprints. This means the amount of carbon dioxide we put out into the Earth by how much fossil fuels we use. My carbon footprint is an average of 5 tons of CO2 a year. In summary, I believe that the activities and videos really expanded my mind on how we can keep the Earth clean and create designs that are more sustainable.