Wicked Problems Today

Before this class I saw sustainability as society’s way of keeping balance with our economy. I am now understanding that sustainability is more important than I initially thought. This class is helping me see that maintaining sustainability throughout our country and others has been a “wicked” problem we are all facing. Over the years problems society has faced transitioned from tame to wicked problems. Before the industrial revolution, many problems had easy solutions that could be instantly acted out. However, the industrial revolution emerged problems that are considered wicked due to their complexity. Throughout the reading Rittel-Webber, the writers explain that wicked problems interconnect with other problems we are currently facing which makes it hard to confirm where to start solving them without causing more problems later or even unraveling ones that were solved. Another thing they explained that stuck out to me was that professionals have been taught to solve tame problems and believe that all problems can be solved perfectly with perfect solutions. The writers are trying to bring notice to the fact the problems society is facing today are now wicked rather than tame. These problems cannot be solved with a simple answer but instead we must look at all practical solutions. Wicked problems also have no end in sight, they are constantly trying to be solved without disturbing other parts of society.  

The six characteristics of a wicked problem include-vague, definition, variable solutions, solutions have no endpoint, solutions pose irreversible effects, solutions require unique approaches, and if the problem is urgent. The characteristic solutions require unique approaches, which stands out to me the most. I feel this one is important because wicked problems are much different than the tame problems society has had to deal with. Tame problems can be solved with one solution, unlike wicked problems where you must think of all possible solutions and even unique approaches so it can be solved.  

Throughout the documentary 11th hour, I learned about problems that society has been facing. For example, drought, flooding, global warming, and air pollution. I have known about these problems, but never knew how serious they were becoming. Another thing that stood out to me was the idea that us humans have started to think of ourselves as separate from nature. This idea is very wrong and is causing our ecosystem to struggle. Instead, we must understand this is our home and if the world is dying so will we. My household of 4 has a carbon footprint of 67,000 a year. This surprised me since it’s about twice as much as it should be. I feel me and my family can change this by lessening how much we use things around the household. One thing I would specifically like to change in the fashion industry is not supporting fast fashion. I will stop supporting brands that are fast fashion and instead shop at thrift stores to stay sustainable and help the environment. In conclusion, this class is helping me realize how much an impact we have on earth and the problems we are currently facing are urgent and wicked. It is also making me become more aware of the environment around me. I will start making it a goal of mine to be better for the environment and change the way I do things in my life.  

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