Before I started this course back in August, I had no recollection of what a wicked problem was or why a problem was described as wicked. This class has educated me on the realm of what a wicked problem is and how to identify a wicked problem. This world has so many wicked problems to solve and I have come to learn that there may not always be just one solution to the problem you are trying to solve. For it being only an eight-week course, I was baffled at how we were going to learn that much, but I have been pleasantly surprised at all the knowledge I have gained. I can proudly say that I know more about sustainability and wicked problems and I have a newfound passion for learning how to live life more sustainably.
I was already aware of how terrible our environment has gotten, but this class really opened my eyes at what really is happening with the world. One thing I was able to share with the learning community was my knowledge on product waste in the fashion industry. I know that clothes are constantly being created and designed and old clothes are going to waste. That is why I am such a big advocate for thrift shopping. In class, during a discussion over the movie, The 11th Hour, I was able to emphasize the need to reuse and recycle old clothes. One thing I wish was brought up though, was food waste. There is so much food waste in America alone and it is concerning. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount of food waste increased, because people were not buying the food from the farmers quick enough. Farmers were losing business and food was being thrown away because it was unable to be sold. There are so many animals that get slaughtered for their meat to go to waste. We need to find a solution that will slow down the rate of waste from mass production, while ensuring animals are not losing their lives for no reason.
There are many other things I would like to learn about in the future as well. First being, plastic use. There really is not a way around using plastic, so how can we make a cleaner environment without getting rid of plastic? Truly, there is not a way to get rid of it, but we can reduce it. I want to learn how we can reduce it efficiently and effectively. Another thing I would like to learn more about would be harmful chemical emissions that are released into the environment. What releases these emissions, what emissions come from what actions, and how can we reduce these harmful emissions? Emissions are one of the most damaging pollutant to the environment. Air quality is extremely important for humans and human interaction could be the leading cause to our depleting air quality. Another thing that troubles me, is the idea of climate change. Climate change is obviously real, but what is not completely apparent is what causes it. I believe that it is mainly human interaction as well, but there has to be another factor. I find it abnormal that it can be eighty to ninety degrees in October, when it is normally way cooler than this. I believe this is an example of global warming, but people do not seem too concerned about this. As much as I love that warmth, it is not okay for it to still be eighty in October and this needs to be observed. I would like to learn more about what affects these concerning conditions and what we can do to slow down and reverse climate change.
The majority of my friends are also curious about many issues that occur in our everyday lives, but I still know people who are not motivated to know more. This is alarming to me because it is our future that is at stake here. If we do not take a hold of our lives right now, who knows if there will even be life by 2030, 2040, or 2050. I always want to strive to be a positive influence for change, especially with my friends and family. I feel like half of my friends and family recognize and care about the issues at stake here, while the other half of my friends and family could not care less. I want to be able to share my knowledge of wicked problems with my friends and family in hopes they listen and become as motivated as I am to make change. We need to do something about the environment now and we all need to take action together, because it doesn’t help if one person is doing things to contribute to a positive change, while another person is doing things to contribute to the problem.
In conclusion, I want to emphasize that now is the time to change. Deciding to do something or use something is the same thing as a vote. When we do the things we do, it is like voting and saying that you approve of the products effects, whether they are positive or negative. Something I will take away from this course is that wicked problems will always be something in our life, so we must learn how to address them and how to take them head on. They will never go away, but we can always work as a community to reduce the amount of waste and pollutions we create. Maybe one day, we will have a cleaner environment, but that is going to require a lot of work, with a lot of solutions, and a leader in our country who recognizes the issues at stake, who strives to improve our living conditions within the environment. Until then, we have to do our own part. Living sustainably is something we can all learn and gradually approve upon. It is not easy, but we can achieve a cleaner environment once we are all on the same page.