Me, You, and the Planet

Starting this class, I really wasn’t sure what it expect. You always hear people listing ‘Wicked Problems’ and they expect you to come up with an answer to it all. But isn’t that what is so wicked about it? We all have the answers, but it is such a deep dark residual issue on this planet and in our society that everyday we just look past it and keep going on with our lives. In this class, it has opened my eyes that to start taking care of the ‘Wicked Problems’, we first have to step back and look at ourselves. Which in itself does sound incredibly cliché, but to take on the world we must be one with ourselves, heart, mind, and body. The truly wicked ways of society is one of the things that drives me away from wanting to care too much in the first place. How do you work towards something you care about, when people are ever so mindlessly tearing down what progress has occurred on the daily? But at the end of the day it is all apart of the journey. The ‘Wicked Problems’ we come in contact with only help us grow and learn the true meaning of being sustainable with our time on this planet. A truly wicked problem is a problem that is unmeasurable and cannot simply be fixed, but has an unknown number of consequences. Wicked problems of this day include, climate change, fast fashion, and as a human race how we constantly take from the earth but don’t have any mindfulness to think about what we should be putting back into it. Sustainably to me at first was just the basics of recycling and using more “earth-friendly” products. Each week we talk about sustainability in different parts of the world, at different times and eras. To think back all the way to our first topic of Easter Island, and to wonder at the shock and awe of them being so unsustainable tracing back to basically the beginning of time. In my mind I always thought of the topic of unsustainably being more of a 1900s era issue that has only gotten worse with time, but it traces back even further to before any engines or mass production of materials. In this class we are being introduced to a new way of unsustainably that isn’t mentioned in a lot of peoples lives. As an environmental science major I have learned more and more about the short comings of humans and what they’ve contributed to in the slow downturn of our environment and all that that entails. From Rachel Carson preaching about DDT to fast fashion and the inhumane ways people are treated just so they can provide for themselves and their families. As each problem arises, we all must start thinking forward, and work on not only our sustainability but ourselves personally. 

These topics are heavy for anyone, but what will be so scary once we are too far gone in our ways of degradation to our planet? These issues don’t have a simple answer, us human-beings need to join together in starting a new way of seeing ourselves and others in our roles of sustainability. Starting with the mind, am I currently doing my best and putting my best foot forward in being happy and holding myself to being the best person I can possibly be? Creating healthy habits with myself, to further create healthy habits with the planet, and the people around me. Personally I have been thinking about the ways of fast fashion a lot. With the rise of COVID-19 I got myself in a terrible habit of watching Tiktok’s on my phone whenever I’m bored or even just trying to go to bed at the end of the night. The more and more I watch, I start to notice the “trends” influencers are trying to push and how they can “find these cute new clothing items for so cheap”. In all reality these cute new items are usually all apart of fast fashion, and they are (hopefully) unknowingly promoting these terrible habits on people or don’t have the slightest clue in what fast fashion is, they just want to keep up with the influencers and the trends. I’ve caught myself thinking it won’t hurt to make an order because why would I need to buy more later if I can not spend a lot on a greater quantity of items now? But that IS fast fashion, a trend being brought upon you because that’s what those cheaper businesses want. They want you to spend more so they can pay their workers less. That can be my start to my sustainability journey, having the mindfulness to not fall into that fast fashion fad trap. TikTok as a whole I think is another down fall to sustainability, not just because of my fast fashion example, but because I feel like it has taken that social media influencer type to a whole other level that is convincing people they need to be something they are not to get more likes or be more popular. We shouldn’t be having to convince ourselves that not everything online is as it seems. To me it just adds more thought to the fact that we should be working together in BETTERING ourselves, not replicating ourselves. On the bright side though, I do see people on there educating others on certain ideas and view points of sustainability, few and far between but I do see it. It is those little gestures that will make their mark on the unsuspecting consumer out there, and hopefully it will change their mind for the better also. We can only work together and help others gain knowledge, all while avoiding tearing people down because they are also on their own sustainability journey, sometimes we all just need a little help.

Sustainably is about humans co-existing with our environment, all other species do it everyday. So why can’t we?

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