A Mindful Way to Look at Wicked Problems

This course has taken my perspective on society and the environment to a whole new level of thinking with the understanding of what wicked problems are and their huge role in the way our world functions. It has been scary to discover in depth about the seriousness of these harmful problems and how endless they truly are. What has made it even harder to accept is the fact that I have contributed to almost all of the wicked problems we have discussed without even realizing it. With that being said, I am grateful to have been presented with all of the information thus far and think it is very important for everyone to learn what is happening to the Earth as we speak so that we are able to work together in making the world a more sustainable place for us and future generations.

The class started off with a film known as the 11th Hour which left me in disbelief and shock as I came to find out my understanding of wicked problems was very small. I had little to no knowledge of the severity of humanity’s impact on the Earth and just how complex it is. I felt ashamed that I was so uninformed on the negative effects that we have and feel that more awareness needs to be brought upon it. It frustrated me to find out that people view our planet as nothing but a resource and that we do not have a connection to nature. These kinds of people do not link society’s actions to the wicked problems but instead dismiss them overall. By learning this, I have decided I want to be more vocal about the world’s issues as I gain a better perception on each one, specifically fashion because that is the field I am currently studying. As an individual, it is stressful to think about all of the resources this planet provides are limited if we do not use them in an efficient way which we discovered in the Easter Island reading. From this I begin to wonder if the amount of overconsumption we produce will ever recede and what we will end up doing with the waste that we cannot seem to get rid of. For the group project we are currently working on, my team and I are researching this issue and the pollution it causes. I am looking forward to digging deeper into the topic to see what solutions people have thought of. I am wondering if technology will play a role in how to solve this issue in the future and if we should put that much dependency on it to do so. I understand that I must go into this research with a humble approach by reading articles and listening to my classmates’ viewpoints with an open mind because that is the way things get solved.

Participating in the practice of mindfulness exercises has had a huge impact on the way I view wicked problems and has allowed me to connect with my thoughts on a more emotional level. When I would think about the global issues we face and the harm we do to our environment, I used a very surface level thinking with no depth or emotion. Now, as I meditate, relax and set my mind apart from the rest of the world, I can really focus on the information and think of what I can do with what I have learned in the course thus far. Sometimes it is hard to not overwhelm myself when thinking in this direction because I know there are possible solutions out there and I want to work towards discovering them at a face pace. This is when I realize I must breathe and release these thoughts and not stress myself out because I am not always going to have an answer. Occasionally, my thoughts will cluster in my head to where I lack focus and stability, but mindfulness has taught me to focus on the present instead of rushing through my thoughts.  Through mindfulness, I have discovered that getting to the bottom of these problems will take time and a clear way of thinking along with collaboration. By maintaining focus in class throughout the lectures and discussions, I have come to the realization that being mindful of other people’s ideas and opinions is how we can come together to come up with the right solutions. Many times, it is hard to do so as a college student with constantly thinking about due dates and other priorities in school, but when you begin to look at the world in a different perspective and focus on the big picture of what our planet is undergoing, you realize the ways that these growing wicked problems affect everything and everyone around you. As a college student, taking this in can be a difficult process but by taking in the consideration of each individual problem, changes may arise in the way you think and act on them. Our individual takeaways on sustainability and how we communicate them is what will help lead us to sustainability. Being informed on the world’s issues and encouraged to conduct mindful practices have encouraged me to make careful personal decisions on things and has made me question everything I do to figure out if it is helping or hindering our Earth. I want to continue and progress with this method as I continue my path into the fashion industry. Even though my individual actions may not change the harm being done to our planet, I will work to remain humble towards others and the environment. By maintaining an open mind and heart, we as a society can spread our ideas and emotions that sprout from wicked problems by dissecting each one individually and acknowledging the effects they have on us personally and our surroundings. From that point we can work together in a mindful manner to take small steps in a direction that leads us to a safer, more sustainable lifestyle for all of humanity.

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