Sustainability & The World Around Us

When I signed up for this course, “wicked problems of industrial practice”, I had no idea what that meant. I did not know what a wicked problem was and certainly did not know what the class would entail. On the first day, with help of my classmates and teacher,I learned what a wicked problem was, a problem in society that is difficult or sometimes impossible to solve. I immediately thought of things such as pollution or sustainability. These were the only wicked problems I had ever heard of. In my life up until now, I never knew what a wicked problem was and was never really introduced to how they affect the environment and the earth. Throughout this course I have learned about the different types of wicked problems and the different ways people can react to them. Depending on the way the wicked problem affects them, people can react differently to the problem. Companies and consumers have different reactions to wicked problems because it affects them differently. Take fast fashion for example, if you look at the perspective of the workers making the clothes, they would think negatively of the problem and want it solved.They are constantly overworked and underpaid and they would obviously want this issue resolved.  However, if you look at the company’s perspective, they do not care for the problem to be solved and see no real issue, as it benefits them. Companies only care about their product being made and their money being earned. They could solve this problem themselves, with abolishing the use of sweatshop workers. Sadly, they are not and do not seem like they will soon, hence it being a wicked problem. The more I learned about wicked problems in this course, the more I realized what a growing issue some of them were. Learning about them gave me a new perspective of the world and the environment around me. 

In this class we were introduced to the film “The 11th Hour” and we watched it in class. This film is about wicked problems and how they are an issue and continue to be an issue in society today. It gives the perspective of scientists, scholars and various leaders on wicked problems and how they affect them and the earth. They talk about and educate the viewers on how their actions and decisions impact the earth and its ecosystems. They warn the viewers that if they do not take action now, these problems will only slowly get worse and worse. I now know that even though one cannot fully solve the problem, there are ways that the problem can grow smaller with the actions citizens take. I enjoyed watching the film “The 11th Hour” and thought it was very insightful and helpful to someone who did not know much about wicked problems and what they are and how they affect the world. 

Another thing in this class that we practiced and learned about was mindful meditation. Mindful meditation is the practice of breathing, and concentrating in order to clear your mind and relax. Before this course, I had meditated before, my dance team used to do meditation after a long weekend at a competition. We would use guided videos and meditate as a team. I felt that it really helped us relax and unwind after the long weekend. But since then I have not practiced. I have learned that practicing mindfulness can actually help relieve stress on myself and my mind. Maybe mindfulness practice could help people clear their mind and help them make better decisions for the world and environment. I think with this course, I have a new outlook on meditation and mindfulness practice. I actually would like to continue practicing and enjoying this.I enjoyed the meditation we did, I felt that it really relaxed me and helped me be calm and prepare for the class. I hope to continue this practice with guided videos or just breathing to myself when I become stressed, I believe it will help me in the long run. After this course, I hope to continue practicing meditation and will try my best to do so. 

Prior to this course, I had no knowledge of wicked problems, definitely did not know how to respond to them. Before this year, when I thought of fast fashion, I was not really sure exactly what it was and I never really thought about it. Throughout this course, I believe I have developed a way to have compassionate responses and appropriate responses to wicked problems. I know how to respond and also how to educate people on wicked problems and ways they can personally help. A wicked problem that I believe is a growing and concerning issue is the sweatshops overseas. Big box companies use sweatshops to make their products because it is cheaper for them and they do not have to spend as much. The workers are extremely overworked and also underpaid. This is concerning because no human or worker should be treated like this. However, it seems like nobody is trying to resolve this growing issue that is ultimately harming the human race. The people working in these shops do not make a sufficient living to support their families as they should. Big box companies take advantage of these low class individuals who need the job so they do not leave. They pay them close to nothing for doing an insane amount of work. Compared to a normal job that have 40 hours a week and gets paid a good wage, these people work more and under harsher conditions and make less. The huge, name brand companies couldn’t care less about their workers, they only care about the money.

After taking this course and learning about wicked problems and the ways consumers and citizens can help and do their part, I plan to revamp my lifestyle to be as sustainable as I can, to help the world around me and work towards a more sustainable earth. There are lots of ways that I can change my routine to be more sustainable and earth friendly. Thinking about all the ways that I can be more sustainable and help the earth motivates me to do better and work towards it. I know I can start recycling more and using the recycling bins instead of just the trash every time. I can also start donating the clothes I do not wear to goodwill or the DAV. That way the clothing and fabric does not go to waste and it can be reused and repurposed. Throwing clothes out does not even make sense to me, why throw something out that can be easily repurposed or even better, go to someone that needs it more than I do. Plastic waste is a huge issue in society today and it can be resolved. Using products that are sustainable and do not use plastic is a way that society can start the journey towards a sustainable world. Lots of companies are no-plastic companies and there are many options for sustainable products rather than wasteful ones. This is a small change that can really have a big impact on the sustainability of the earth. 

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