Sustainability: What We Can Do to Help!

Sustainability is a way of doing things that constantly stays the same and maintains our ecological balance. It can change its meaning depending on the subject at hand. A wicked problem is a large, social or cultural problem that is very difficult or impossible to be solved. Some examples of wicked problems include: poverty, homelessness, climate change, natural disasters, etc. There are also tame problems which are problems that can be solved like medical vaccines. 

The six characteristics that make a wicked problem hard to solve are: vague definition, variable solutions, solutions have no endpoint, solutions pose irreversible effects, solutions require unique approaches, and if is urgent. One of the characteristics that stands out to me is “solutions that have no endpoint,” in my opinion if there was no endpoint, there would be no solution at all. Another one that is very similar is if the problem solution poses irreversible effects. If there was a “solution” to the wicked problem that involved creating a whole new problem that was irreversible, I wouldn’t consider it a good solution. When watching The 11th Hour, A wicked problem that I did not know much about was the state of our oceans and the impact that our economies are having on the ecosystems and other organisms. There are so many ways that we can prevent this problem from worsening. This subject also goes along with the reading from Rittel Webber. In the article, it mentions the way society deals with problems and how we determine the right solution. We would use our problem solving skills to make the right decisions. I would want to try and help by preventing waste and other materials from polluting our oceans. For example, the fashion industry contributes to the pollution with all of the chemicals, dyes, and other waste that they use for fast fashion. I think that people all over the world should be educated on issues like these so we can make changes for the better. 

I didn’t know much about wicked problems before this class and I have already learned so much about it. Since I am a fashion merchandising student, I think that there is a lot to be done about sustainable fashion and the way that we dispose of our waste and other materials. There are a million different ways that we could be preserving our planet and making it more sustainable, and not just in the fashion industry. My household is larger and our carbon footprint was 75 tons of CO2 a year. Comparing it to other households I was very shocked. I think there could be some changes made because of that number. Overall, the more that I learn about the subjects of wicked problems and sustainability, the more it makes me want to be more environmentally aware so I can make smarter choices that benefit our planet.

Samantha Cloud

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