A Wicked Problem?

Wicked problems in the world – to be completely honest this is a concept that has never crossed my mind before this class. I have always known things like recycling are a good thing, but I do not think I fully understood the repercussions of the actions in our lives till recently. Being made more aware of how fast we are depleting our earth of its natural resources is a very disturbing thing to me. Being able to take practical steps to have an impact on keeping our earth clean and sustainable is such a big deal. 

I have learned that living in America often results in living a very non sustainable lifestyle because of our abundance of resources that are easily accessible. People today often do not realize the impact that they are making on the earth because even though they are stimulating the economy in a positive way they are also impacting the earth in a negative way with the waste. I have learned through this class the importance of recycling. I know that recycling is a bigger thing on the west coast, but it seems to be an afterthought in the midwest. As a part of the country that produces a large amount of natural goods and relies on the land for an income you would think it would be a bigger deal, however I honestly just think people forget about it because it has never been something they have done. Having an abundance of resources and a thriving economy is such a blessing to everyone that reaps the benefits, but I believe that we now can focus more on the sustainability of the earth. 

Another wicked problem in the world today is fashion. Although there are benefits to fashion it also leads to a lot of waste. Fashion has become something that is very important to people because of social media and people constantly trying to be up with the latest trends. In today’s world people are very wrapped up in making sure they have the newest stuff which results in people throwing out the old. This problem has gotten much worse in the past five years due to the increase in social media. I believe this is because our lives are now put on projection for everyone at all times which makes people jealous of others and desire to always have what others have. Fashion is so beneficial in keeping the economy healthy because it allows for businesses to always be putting out new products that are different from the last. Everything has a pro side and also a negative side because nothing can be fully sustainable, while also meeting the supply and demand of the demanding world. 

This course has also taught me a lot about meditation and mindfulness. The past couple of years I have done yoga with my mom off and on, but I usually was focusing more on the position instead of the mental focus. Being able to just take the first part of each class and focus on something else besides my busy schedule is such a relief. Mondays are a very busy day for me so the meditation time is a great time to just reflect on the day and what is coming for the rest of the day. Bringing my focus inward helps me focus on things outside of myself that affect the people and things around me. 

Through mindfulness and reflection I believe the world can become a better place. When people are able to look at their inward self they oftentimes are able to look and think about the things around them. Being mindful of our surroundings and our own actions can be something that impacts sustainability directly. When people have time to invest in their own mindfulness it usually means they are in a comfortable state and are able to care about more things than just their immediate needs. 

Meditation is a great place for people to start in their mindfulness journey because it is a great way to focus on yourself, while also focusing on the world around you. Meditation can be as long or as short as you desire and oftentimes escaping from the craziness of the day can be so helpful and can calm your mind and help you to refocus. One thing that comes from meditation is increased creativity. In order to live a sustainable life you must be creative in how you are living, so using meditation can help spur creative thinking in order to help live a sustainable lifestyle. 

 A practical way I have learned through this course to live more sustainably is by not using things like water bottles that although they are convenient they are very damaging to the earth. Using reusable water bottles can make a big impact even though it is a small change in my daily habits. In order to become more sustainable in the United States I think it is important to not just make changes every once and a while, but to create new habits that will have an impact for a longer time. Things like plastic are not only harmful to the earth, but also to our bodies because of the toxins they contain. By cutting out plastic from daily life not only helps the world but in the end it is helping your own personal health. Reusable materials are something that can be used more than once and after one person is done with them they can often be recycled. 

Solving wicked problems in the world can not happen overnight. It is a constant daily decision to think beyond ourselves and help the environment as a whole. Wicked problems are such a large issue that one person can not solve it by themselves. Living in a world where people are oftentimes self consumed it can be hard to get people to think past themselves and focus on the bigger picture. In the world of busy people, convenience is an important factor of life, so changing convenience to sustainability is important for the world to succeed as a whole. 

Through these past nine weeks this class has provided me with so much new information and has truly enlightened me to some of the major wicked problems in the world. Before going through this class I did not realize that some of the issues were as big as they actually are. I believe that as American’s it is easy to focus on our privileged lives and to forget about some of the major issues in the world outside of our borders. Being able to meditate about these issues and reflect on them has helped to bring understanding and compassion for these problems and the people that are affected by them. 

Leaving this course I want to be able to focus on some of these wicked problems and be able to contribute in the process of demolishing these problems. I believe the first step I need to take is to begin to enlighten people about these issues and how they impact our world and the consequences that are coming from them. It is up to each person to play their own role in contributing to fix these problems because it takes everyone coming together to make one big impact.

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