Learning to Build A Sustainable Life for Myself and Others

Wicked Problems are problems that will face every single person when they enter the work field. However, as future designers, we are the most important people in fixing these problems. As people who control the resources and practices of how things are made, we directly impact the health of the environment. In this class, I learned about how to approach solutions to wicked problems that the industry faces. It is no easy feat and there is no simple or single solution to any of these problems. It takes a very critical and creative mind to innovate and change the systems that are hurting the environment. 

Throughout this course, I contributed by evaluating the information provided by the authors and applying my knowledge to whether or not I agreed with the side I read. At the beginning of this course, my knowledge on sustainability was way more limited than it is now. However, as the course progressed, I was able to learn from my peers and the readings and see how more experienced people were approaching these issues. During our discussions, I tried to see both sides of the argument. Even though I only ever read the yes side, I liked to hear points from the no side and consider them as well. Oftentimes even, I would end up agreeing with the no side more than I did with the yes. This showed me that you have to consider all sides and aspects of the issue before trying to create a solution. I also contributed by sharing my take of the readings. I would explain how I understood the writing and how I feel it would work.

My major takeaways from this course are problem solving techniques. This class has given me projects and assignments that put me face to face with big issues in the design industry. I had never had experience with, or even considered problems like this. Therefore, this class was a very new and helpful experience for me. With the readings and class discussions, it helped me learn to brainstorm with other people to come up with the best solution. Talking in a group will always help create the best solutions for the time beings. 

Another takeaway was the fact that I am a part of the future of sustainable design. As a future designer, I will be responsible for changing the industry for the better. I will have to brainstorm and come up with solutions for making more sustainable, eco-friendly production processes. This class gave me experience and an introduction into how to do this. I was able to talk with classmates and discuss the practicality and effectiveness of certain solutions and whether or not they would be beneficial solutions.

A fun takeaway from this class was the meditation and mindfulness that we did. Before this class began, I had tried meditation and I did do it every so often. I enjoyed the way that it helped clear my mind and ease my anxiety. However, once we started doing the daily meditations at the beginning of class, I started to do them myself more regularly. It is something that really helps me fall asleep at night which is something that I have always struggled with. I think that knowing how to meditate and partake in mindfulness activities is a very essential part to having good mental health. I know that it is something I will always carry with me and use throughout my entire life. 

One of the things that we discussed in this class that I would like to learn more about is how poverty affects the environment. I think that reading was very interesting. It was an issue that I had never really considered before. However, it is a very real issue. I think that it would be very beneficial to the impoverished people and the environment to look further into this issue. We need to find solutions to poverty so that the environment doesn’t have to face the consequences. However, as all wicked problems are, there is no easy or steadfast solution to this issue so a lot of work would have to go into it. Poverty isn’t something that can be solved overnight nor is it something that has a one step solution. Although the recovery of impoverished people doesn’t exactly fit into design, I still think that there are ways people in my field can help. 

Another thing that I would like to learn more about to apply to my current lifestyle, is researching where products come from and whether or not it is sustainable to the environment. One thing that every single person can do, which includes myself, is buy better. This means buying things that are better for the environment. It is our responsibility as consumers to be educated on what we are purchasing and how it is affecting the environment. Though I still live at home and don’t have to buy many things for myself, I want to start educating myself for when I do have to make these decisions.

One way that I can currently make a positive impact in my circle of influence is by pushing for more sustainable and ecological designs and processes. Although I am not working for a company or organization, I am a college student. As a college student, I have many connections through my schooling and I have a place that is cultivating my problem solving abilities. I have the opportunity to experiment with ideas and see how they would work. I can get feedback from my professors and peers and perfect the solutions and ideas that I create. Environmentally, I can also do little things in my daily life to help the general environment. I can reduce my use of one-time use products, limit how much I drive, recycle what I can, second hand shop, etc. I can also make sure that I continue to keep myself informed on how the decisions that I make and the products that I buy are affecting the environment. I can take it upon myself to be a better informed consumer and make beneficial decisions that will help my planet.

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