What’s The Next Step


Growing up we have been told that the world is dying. That if we don’t fix the world, we won’t have a future. Over the past decade the world has started to zoom in on the sustainable wicked problem. A wicked problem is categorized as a problem that does not have a definite solution. Panic has started to arise as this major problem grows at an alarming rate. There are many definitions that float around on what the word “sustainable” actually means. How I define sustainability would be a balanced development that meets the needs of the presents without making a negative impact on the future generations. Slowly, the world has been taking measures to become more sustainable. For example, we have created electric cars to lower the air pollution, people are using reusable water bottles and metal straws more, and many other acts have started happening. Although there are multiple acts of sustainability happening today, it is still not enough. 

Over the past few weeks I watched a documentary called the 11th Hour. Throughout the documentary it talks about the effects of climate change on our world. One of the big factors that contribute to this wicked problem would be the use of fossil fuels. The burning of coals or use of oil releases fossil fuels into the air, creating air pollution. Both of these problems are leading to different illnesses like asthma, ischaemic heart disease and many others. Asthma is one of the main diseases that has increased dramatically in kids due to air pollution. The burning of coal also leads to acid rain which has a big affect on aquatic environments. Another problem caused by human evolution would be ocean pollution. Today, we are taking an abundance of fish out of the ocean while also putting too much chemical waste into it at the same time. Industrial waste, sewage and wastewater, accidental oil leakage, marine dumping and many other substances are constantly being put into our beautiful ocean. All of this is killing marine life and destroying habitats. As a society we have taken steps to try and solve this problem. For example, we have attempted to put in new laws that state people cannot over fish when fishing. People have also started to use reusable bags and water bottles to lower the amount of plastic waste going into the ocean. These are both great starts to a solution for ocean pollution, but we still need to do more. 

In the article “Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning” written by Rittel-Webber, he addresses the increase in protests occurring. He pointed out the fact that protests in general are starting to become a wicked problem itself. This is because people used to just protest smaller problems that would ultimately have an ending solution, but now people are starting to protest wicked problems, like sustainability. This has been causing more of a controversy because there is not just one solution to solve these types of problems. Protests about public health officials, education, politics, and public forces have been popping up all over the world. Rittel-Webber  also talks about the theory on Enlightenment. It is believed that the enlightenment will reach full maturity in the twentieth century. This means that people will believe in both – we shape our future and we have no future. These past few weeks has really made me think about my own carbon footprint and how I can be more aware of what I do and how it affects the world. The Nature Conservancy is a website where you can take a test to figure out what your carbon footprint is. After taking the test myself, I found  out that I use 19 tons  of CO2 every year. Although it’s not the worse it can be, I still want to find ways to lower my score. Continuing using my reusable bags when I grocery shop, recycling my trash and carpooling with friends to go to certain places are all sustainable ways that I will continue. By doing this, I can keep my carbon footprint score from growing. Although growing up we were told that the world was going to die, I believe that we have the power to slow this wicked problem down.

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