Project to Rebirth our Earth

There are thousands of ways to learn about a Wicked Problem somatically and I am almost sure that no two people in our class went through the same physical process as one another during this week when processing the Wicked Problems that we learned about these past eight weeks. My most natural response to first hearing about a Wicked Problem is asking myself how I have contributed to it getting to this bad of a point. While reflecting I feel an overwhelming sense of guilt. Guilt that I have bought fast fashion since I was super young. Guilt that I had the mentality that these things did not matter, at least not in my personal life. Guilt that I am killing the world we live on because I often use plastic water bottles instead of reusable alternatives. Guilt is likely to be the first response I will have to any Wicked Problem before I am capable of completely understanding the situation. With guilt comes the warm static feeling my face gets when I realize that I am in the wrong. Next up, picking at my nails because I am trying to distract myself from thinking that I do not know any better. Eventually, the anxious guilt slows down a tiny little bit, yet my stomach still slowly churns while I begin to refocus myself on the presentation. I passionately believe that the easiest of the three ways to fully understand a WP is intellectually. When processing things from an intellectual standpoint, you are not human. No morals, not guilt, nothing pulling at your heart strings…just listening and trying to absorb the cold hard facts. To be completely honest, I really struggle at understanding things from an intellectual level. I wish I could go about my day feeling smart, learning something new from class to class but that unfortunately is not who I am. What I am is an emotional human. If I learn about one tragedy or simply sad thing it is all I will be able to focus on for the next few days. I do not watch tv to take it off my mind because that would not work, I really have to think about it with my heart rather than with my brain. Typically, the word ‘thinking’ has an intellectual connotation with it, but in my case, it goes hand and hand with my emotions. With that being said, my emotions and empathy have completely taken over the driver’s seat when learning in this class. Oftentimes after class on Tuesday nights I would come home and cry. My roommates did not understand how this class could be affecting me to this extent, eventually I showed them some of my notes taken from in class and explained it to them, but they process things in an intellectual way, not an emotional way like I do. When crying about Wicked Problems, I feel like it allows my body to physically understand and allows my body to let the problem sink into me. Some might say that intellectually and emotionally go together like peanut butter and jelly but to me they are like two magnets rejecting one another. When thinking of specific times I have been given the opportunity to form a response to Wicked Problems, the biggest example that stands out to me is how my response to sweat shops has been changed due to this class. Though Forever 21, Shein, and Urban Outfitters are wildly popular and basic, they used to be my right-hand places to shop. Those retail places could do no wrong…or so I thought. I was ignorant and thought that kids in sweatshops were like fifteen years old and making at least minimum wage, but this class taught me that it is not like that. After spending some time researching this issue, I learned: the workers are not teenagers, they are children, they are working to support their families in two months probably cannot afford a weeks’ worth of food, and that their mothers are also being used and abused by the system. Circling back around to my responses, back in the day I would have told people to buy from fast fashion places because the clothing was cute and in trend, but now, my response would include the facts. However, I would never guilt trip anyone or shame them for buying affordable clothes, we never know what someone else’s financial situation is besides our own. My dad always said, “Do not oppose, prepose” and I believe that it applies to responding to Wicked Problems extremely well. When telling someone NOT to do something you MUST give them alternatives to choose from on how to proceed because if you tell someone not to do something but do not have another option for them then there is extraordinarily little possibility that they will listen to you. I think that applies to being able to respond in a humble manner. When trying to navigate your way through responding to a Wicked Problem, I believe the best humble prompt is something along the lines of: this is the issue, here is how I have unintentionally played into the issue, this is how I am going to personally work towards positive change regarding the issue and this is how I can sum it up for others. Another prompt that is a little more compassionate would be: This is the problem that is being faced, I have screwed up in these ways, I am sorry that I have messed up but acknowledge that recognizing my wrongs is a part of the process, it is okay to not do everything right the first time, acknowledge you need to change and this is how you’re going to do it. When it comes to sharing my experiences from this class to the outside world, I feel as if I have been adequately prepared. In fact, when I went home about a month ago I was able to have educated and important conversations with my parents and some of the other adults in my life, sometimes it is very hard for adults to see things through young peoples eyes but the thing is, these problems don’t just affect young people. I think a lot of the view from older people that if the world turns to hell it wouldn’t affect them, but I was able to explain that when people are compassionate and understanding it does matter because it affects all of the generations to come. I do not think I will ever end up choosing to have children because realistically if the world does not turn things back around, then they and their kids will have to deal with all kinds of  extreme weather conditions and the price of food and clean water will skyrocket higher than we could ever imagine. Something has got to give. Change needs to happen. Change SHOULD HAVE already happened. I know that it is not fair to be angry with people I have never even met but unfortunately that is where I am at right now. I like to have the mentality that it can only go up from here…but lord knows that probably is not the case

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