Wicked Problems? Tell me more!

Almost 2 months have gone by since my last blog post and to be completely honest with you, almost nothing has changed since then. I haven’t had any mind blowing realization and I haven’t experienced any life changing epiphanies, for the most part everything has stayed the same. That’s not to say I haven’t learned anything these past few weeks though, my views of our environmental climate as well as my understanding of wicked problems has been broadened. I have really enjoyed this class and it has definitely piqued my interest in sustainable design and the overall impact the industry has on the environment. I am very excited to see what else there is to learn about these issues.        

            That being said I still absolutely one hundred percent experience that feeling of guilt and anxiety when it comes to my major. The sense that I am wasting my time and contributing to something that is killing the earth is still there in the back of my mind, but I find the more I educate myself the better I feel. Having more information about something means having less fear about it, that is one of the biggest things I have learned so far.

            Realizing that this can be used as a method to help deal with my uncertainty has eased my mind and made me eager to learn more. The thought of continuing my education in sustainability and wicked problems fills me with both apprehension and anticipation. I have learned so many things about the world around us in this course some good, some bad. Mostly bad, but regardless I want to learn as much as I can.

            I had first thought that the feeling of sadness and dread I feel after learning some horrible fact about the environment or fashion industry was a bad thing. I had assumed that since I was feeling bad things I wouldn’t be interested in sustainable design or the environment in general. This couldn’t be farther from the truth as it turns out, what I had first though would discourage me, actually ended up encouraging me.

            Mindful thinking has had a big role in my view shift and has helped me understand how to be more empathetic. Empathy for me is really what is at the core of compassionate problem solving and mindfulness. Being able to put yourself directly into a problem and understanding how it makes you feel is the first step to solving it. When I say solving, I mean in a personal sense not literal sense. I don’t think that feeling bad about water pollution is the key to cleaning up the ocean, but I do believe that being mindful of the things that cause water pollution on an everyday basis could definitely help.

            That point may be a little hard to follow but I will try to persist. When I think of pollution and the effects it has, the best direct example I can think of is garbage island. It’s a ginormous floating hunk of garbage and sea debris that is twisted and tangled up together. It is a literal island of pollution, a floating example of our failure as a society. There isn’t a real way to get rid of it, its pretty much just there for the rest of time. It makes me sick to think about it, because of what it represents, but also because of the smell. Can you even imagine what it smells like, it may literally be the worst thing ever.

            Its silly to admit but honestly, I think about garbage island constantly. Every time I don’t recycle my plastic bottles or every time, I litter I think about it. Almost like my own guilty reminder, to do my best to do my part. The thought of my trash ending up a part of it makes me want to make less trash. Is one more water bottle in the recycling bin really going to make a difference? Probably not, but it makes me feel a little less guilty. If everyone in the united states felt the same twinge of guilt I do everyday then maybe we would be in a little bit better place right now. If everyone in the entire world tried to just do a little bit more, then the earth would still be doomed because things aren’t that easy.

The more I write the more I disprove my earlier statement about nothing changing. When I start thinking about the things I thought I knew when I was writing my first post as compared to now they are few. This is most likely because before I really did not know much about anything before, to be honest I still don’t. However one thing I did know about or at least thought I knew about were knockoff designer goods. I feel like everyone has that friend or relative who gets a fake louis Vuitton bag for Christmas and shows it of all year like no one knows it’s a fake. These fakes can be poor quality and ugly but I never really thought there was any real harm in them. That is obviously not true, it is not really a secret that fake name brand products use unfavorable production methods similar to fast fashion.

What feels likes such an obvious fact now was not even something I had ever thought about previously. It makes me once again wonder what else I have to learn. I came into this course thinking that my interest in fashion and design was only artistic, I knew I did not really care about sustainable design or practices. This is once again a great example of me thinking I knew something when in reality, I knew nothing.

I feel now more than ever aware of the fact that I am completely clueless. This may sound like a bad thing, but really I feel its something good. I feel like all my preconceptions about the future of both  the world, environmentally, and myself, academically have shifted. I feel a mix of dread and hope for what is to come. My choices in wording make everything sound a little more dramatic than it is.

More than anything I think I am just excited to see how the fashion industry evolves with the environment around us and how that changes the wicked problems we face. If more people had this same curiosity we might be able to collectively learn so much more. The phrase “knowledge is power” really does apply here I feel. The first step to solving problems is knowing about them and understanding them.

It seems so easily summed up right there. Like the only requirement to understand a problem is to be slightly interested in it. While it may not be that simple to do it really is not that hard to understand. Looking back I where I began at the beginning of this course I can say for sure that I learned way more than I first thought. I have been able to settle a lot of misgivings about my major because of this course and for that I am very thank full. I just hope one day I can get over my haunting fear of garbage island.

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