The state of our environment and the world as it is today has become something that is strongly important to me. I was raised in a very small, rural, oil field town in Oklahoma. Growing up, climate change and environmental conservation was never something the people in my immediate circle seemed to be concerned about. I was very uneducated on the subject growing up. Since my time in college, I’ve become exponentially more educated on the state of our world today, and have even changed many aspects of my daily life in order to live more sustainably. One of my favorite parts of this class was being able to listen and share with those who have the same appreciation for our world. By hearing some of my class mates perspectives on different subjects I was able to see things from different perspectives, and think of things from a new point of view. I believe that being equipped with this knowledge will only further help me share with others what I’ve learned about our world, and understand different perspectives. One of my favorite tools I’ve learned was the 6 categories of a wicked problem. Before entering this course, a wicked problem was something that I really couldn’t describe. It’s just hard and difficult. After learning that I can break these wicked problems down into categories, and start to dissect them it was almost like it was easier for me to wrap my brain around them, and because I now understand a wicked problem better, I can now explain them better to others, while also being able to understand someone else’s view point of a topic because as we all know, there is no black and white within a wicked problem. While the broad knowledge I gained on wicked problems was extremely beneficial, I would love to dive into these problems more in debt, and start getting to the root of a big problem such as climate change.
Another tool I gained from this course was the idea of becoming mindful and present. I’ve always been interested in meditation, but I have mild ADHD, and it becomes so difficult for to sometimes just shut my brain off. I find I am distracted easily, and I’m almost uncomfortable in a state of little to no thought. It’s super hard for me to sit and open myself up, and while I’ve always wanted to explore meditation, I never actually went through with practicing it. I also had never been taught what exactly meditation was, and always felt doubtful in myself as if I was never able to do it right. Realizing that there is really no right way to meditate, and the basic idea of meditation is to simply be present in the moment was almost life changing for me. I was surprised to find that meditation actually HELPS me focus, when before I thought it was making it harder. I love the feeling of almost dissolving into nothing and becoming a part of the world, when most of the time I think of myself as separate from the universe around me. Not only does it help me focus, but it puts my struggles and priorities back in check.
This class as well as my own independent learning this semester has honestly changed the way I look at many issues in the world. I’ve found that there are so many different types of people who believe all different types of things. I remember actually having a conversation with someone my freshmen year of college about if climate change was REAL or not, and now it is almost hard for me to not have some feeling of impending doom because I’ve realized this semester actually HOW important developing a sustainable way of living actually is. Before this course I always knew climate change and living sustainably were hot topics and were important, but I now realize that it is essential for us as a human race. I understand better now the actions we have taken to get to this point, and the actions we must take to save the planet and all the life among it. I feel as though I have only started to skim the surface on these problems and the solutions they require. I have to remind myself that I will only continue to learn more, but sometimes I wish the solutions were easier to find or even easier to understand. I think if they were, there would be less confusion among people as a whole, and even less division. It comes down to awareness, and it is up to us as a society and a generation to continue to learn, grow, and share with others the importance of environmental conservation because that is the only way significant change will happen. I have already learned so much, but I want to know so much more. I think if I learned more about what has caused climate change, and the steps we must take to solve it, I would be better able to share with others, and create this awareness within my circle and those around me, because it doesn’t just come down to the changes I make in my life, but also the changes I can implement in those lives that I touch. I find individuals such as Greta Thunberg so inspiring, because she alone has inspired so many others to implement sustainability into their lives. The United States is incredibly influential in the world, if we can at least unite on one subject such as environmental conservation, I believe we could make huge impacts in other areas of the world as well. I realize that the small steps I take towards living a cleaner life style are small compared to the huge impact corporations have on the environment, but I also believe if I can show others how important it is to live sustainably, they may also show people in their circle and so forth, and maybe one day we will all take our own small steps towards living sustainably, and by doing that we will show the world and our government leaders how important it is to us.