Coming into this course I did not know much about the wicked problems of the world. Although, throughout the last eight weeks I have learned a tremendous amount about the problems in our world that are so vast and can cause so much controversy. I was definitely able to enhance critical thinking, as this class definitely made me think outside of the box. It made me notice things about my everyday life that is definitely unsustainable and made me sort of rethink how I do things. Being able to participate in this was a great experience, along with getting to communicate with my peers every week. I have always loved looking at things from multiple perspectives and the breakout group time really helped to show how they saw the topic and let everyone talk about their opinions on it. I also really appreciated the discussion about mindfulness and the time before every class session, as well as pushing us to take time out of our days and do something for ourselves. It definitely made a difference for me, as I mostly become so busy that I tend to forget that it is okay to take a break and slow down a little bit because you can for sure use some time to just relax every now and then. Something I wish I could have had more time to explore would have to be the paradigms. That was definitely an interesting discussion and one of my favorite things to learn about.
Some of my major takeaways from this course are that wicked problems are, indeed, wicked. They are vast in ways many other problems are not. There are so many possible causes or so many solutions. But who knows, those solutions may have even worse effects in the long run. Another thing I took away from this course, is that we as a society can be the problem or the solution depending on if or how we take action. Also, that the smallest thing can sometimes make the biggest impact. Doing something is better than doing nothing at all. You do not necessarily think about this because when thinking about the solutions to wicked problems, your brain automatically goes to a solution that is grand and huge. But it does not have to be. And last but not least, while watching the 11th hour I learned so much but I heard one quote that I am pretty sure will stick with me forever. Psychologist James Hillman states “we’re psychically numbed.” That we look for “substitutes” for the beauty of the world. Yet, we will never find that substitute. He claims we make up for this loss by “attempting to conquer the world.”
We discussed many problems and solutions throughout the course of this eight weeks, however, there were a few very interesting ideas along the way that piqued my interest. A few problems that I would certainly like to look further into in the near future, would have to be throw away culture, sustainability, and of course the paradigms. Some of the solutions to various problems that sparked my interest were shopping locally (some of my family back home owns a small business so shopping locally has always been something we advocate for) and different energy solutions.
Our generation has already begun to advocate for a lot of change for the world. Like we talked about during class time on Tuesday, we are, in fact, the generation that is expected to change the world (no pressure, right). High expectations at their absolute finest. I mean, a lot is riding on that statement if you ask me. Although, I do believe we are capable. We have all the technology we could ever dream of right at our fingertips. We are ambitious and fight for what we want. We have big dreams, big goals, and big plans. But, at the end of the day you have to start somewhere and that somewhere cannot be changing the whole world with a snap of your fingers just like that. You have to start with the people surrounding you. I think for me personally, a couple of ways that I could influence the people around me to become more sustainable would be first off share some knowledge with them, then maybe influencing them to reuse cups instead of being wasteful or maybe starting to use metal straws. Something me and my friends already do just for fun is we just load and go thrifting! It’s super fun (especially when you have all of your friends with you) and a way to be more sustainable and reuse items!I think with the knowledge I have gained form this course I have the ability to help myself me ten times more sustainable and to help those around me become more sustainable as well.
In conclusion, this class showed me just how in-depth wicked problems can be and how many details they consist of. You have to be willing to dissect the problem into the smallest pieces. It also taught me that wicked problems truly have wicked solutions. There is no easy way to solve them no matter how hard you try. Wicked problems will always cause controversy because there are so many different ways to go about dealing with them. It also taught me how to improve my own sustainability in my daily life and therefore, I can now show others how to become more sustainable themselves. Spreading the knowledge to those around you is just one of those small steps that does not really seem to matter, but it can make all of the difference. Every decision we make affects the future of our environment and I had never really seen or understood the magnitude of that statement until this class. I knew our habits as a society were for sure causing negative effects, but I did not realize just how little is being done about it. So, yes, every action does have a reaction. Just take a look around. However, we can be the change.