What a wonderful world… or to be wonderful?

“I see trees of green, red roses too, I see them bloom, for me and you, and I think to myself, what a wonderful world” (Louis Amstrong). As I was contemplating about the prompt, this song popped into my head. Trees and flowers bloom and die and the cycle runs on, creating a beautiful nature that will soon be destroyed by the wicked problems of climate change, global warming, natural disaster that we are eager to find a solution for. I noticed about wicked problems a few years back but I never devoted time to seriously researching them or changing my habit. Switching to a sustainable lifestyle is not easy, especially when we are living at such a fast pace, clothes constantly getting replaced by prettier ones, new phones being released every year. Simply to say, there is no room for a break because people would feel like they are falling behind if they cannot keep up with the pace. As I realized the importance of taking care of these wicked problems, I follow educational pages and keep myself educated about current global issues because as the next generation of the world, I’m responsible to have a good understand of the world around us to shape people into a more sustainable living style as well as reaching towards “a wonderful world”.  As I mentioned above, I have never paid attention to my living habits but recently, I have started to change. Changes don’t have to be a big leap but it might just be simple small steps that are doable. Across the internet, I have read various stories about plastic bags getting inside sea creatures and it is very harmful and could potentially cause extinction. Therefore, I have created a habit of bringing a big fabric bag with me everytime I go to the grocery store to reduce the amount of plastic usage. As I understand the world around me, I started to make more conscious choices, spent time really evaluating my life and my work, and although I don’t do this on a daily basis, I still sometimes close my eyes, breath in and out to reduce stress. Wicked problems is not a math problem in which you are given an equation to solve because math might have only one solution to a question but we might have many solutions to a single problem. Some math problems might require a decade or more to solve but wicked problems are a story of centuries, from the past to the future. Therefore, I paid more attention to them, thinking about what I can start to do to help resolve the issue. Before I started this course, wicked problems to me were simply some difficult issues that as a future generation, we will find an answer for them. As I progress, I realized that it is very difficult to find an answer and we will have to use various ways to tackle this. 

Most of us would think about wicked problems in a negative way, and I’m not an exception but I soon realized that negativity does not help to solve an issue. Everybody must have a time where they feel very pessimistic about life but it is a good idea to rethink about that time and ponder if the result is gonna be different if you think about the result in a more positive way. The distance between positive and negative is large and a different viewpoint can help us to solve the problem in different ways. If we think about an issue in a pessimistic view, we would simply say that there is no viable solution but if we think about that same issue with a more optimistic view, it will just be a wicked problem that we haven’t been able to discover a solution yet. Optimistic person would say “Yes, this is a wicked problem, it is complex but we definitely are going to find an appropriate solution for it.” whereas a pessimist would say “Well, this is a wicked problem, it is difficult, there will be no viable solution, the problem will sustain and we will never be able to remove it from our life.” As I was reading about Western Values, I was surprised to see that our daily habits or the paradigm we have created can have a big influence on the world as well as wicked problems. We live in a world where our culture is tightly connected to us and it is complicated to cut off those strings but I think humans can give up some of those pleasures that we have in order to shift our paradigm of living into a more sustainable one. For me, I have started to be more conscious about my living habits, by bringing reusable bags for shopping as well as changing my diet in order to achieve a healthier body. It is not like we have to completely surrender our pleasures but we can begin to be aware of our environment. We heard stories of plastic getting stuck inside animal bodies, or they get strangled by those bags and then wonder about what we can do to lessen this issue. It is not wrong to say that plastic has been a large part of our culture because of its convenience. But if we are really concerned about how to help these poor animals, we can think that if we take a few bucks that we spend on our favorite dessert to buy a reusable bag, wouldn’t it be more convenient since we only have to carry one bag? Then again, if we take off a few bucks that we spend on our coffee to buy a reusable cup or bottle, we can help to reduce the amount of plastic released into the environment. Sometimes, it is not about how I can solve this problem but it is more about am I willing to sacrifice part of my living habit to solve the wicked  problem.

Wicked problems like our paradigm of living, have been parts of our life for centuries and it is important that we start to consider what we can do to resolve these issues. “I hear babies cry, I watch them grow, they’ll learn much more, than I’ll never know, and I think to myself, what a wonderful world” (Louis Amstrong)

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