At the beginning of this course, my horizons were drastically broadened on the wicked problems of our world. I was able to gain multiple new perspectives that compel me to act on the knowledge I have about creating a more sustainable future. I have always been concerned with the environmental impact we are having on our world, but after learning about how to approach wicked problems, I have an optimism that small change can be promoted now. It can be daunting to discuss the rapid consumption of natural resources, harsh negative effects from greenhouse gases, etc. But when we can evaluate a wicked problem, the variable solutions to the variable problem become more tangible. The optimism I began to see grow through my learning of mindfulness practices ahs built a firm foundation that has allowed me to critically evaluate the roots of our world’s most wicked problems.
A goal I have constructed for myself after first changing my paradigm was a “two-week rule:” if I see a product I want, I consider how much of a necessity the material is to me for two weeks before I increase my consumption and purchase the material. I have employed this new goal and it has highly changed my consumption habits. With Spring/Summer approaching, I have noticed that it is particularly easy to increase consumption of fashion items. Increased consumerism around this time is encouraging us to purchase excess materials that are not necessities. Mindfulness practices have further helped me to realize what goods are needed and what items will end up being waste. I also have been able to expand my creative sustainable solutions, as I am learning to become more resourceful with the materials I already have. Gratitude has also grown and strengthened through mindfulness practices, which have further let me evaluate what is a necessity. I now find more value in materials I have or materials that are recycled and environmentally friendly. I think that mindfulness practices paired with the knowledge of how to create variable solutions for wicked problems are what can drastically switch our cultural thinking to become more sustainable.
Exploring wicked problems has enlightened me to dive deep into the roots and reasonings of environmental impacts. Investigating why a wicked problem is a variable problem highlights the diversity of solutions that are needed to combat the problem. Wicked problems are wicked because of their multi-faceted issues, meaning that solutions must be uniquely created to sustain other issues that can arise from one solution. I have learned that I enjoy looking into the environmental wicked problems and how they are attributing to the unsustainably based cultural thinking today.
A crucial takeaway I have learned through my continued mindfulness practices that the knowledge about how wicked problems is affecting us followed by learning the tools to uniquely solve is a privilege. Because these issues are essentially affecting such a wide range of people, they are claimed as wicked. Further adding to the notion of wickedness, some people that these issues are affecting the most are in underdeveloped areas, which have issues of under education and ill-health. Area-based setbacks are some of the main problems that require variable solutions. I think that having the ability to understand the background to wicked issues open the solutions and makes them more tangible. I have come to realize that sustainability issues are widely discussed in developed countries, but merely spreading awareness amongst other developed countries is not going to make the change needed to create a more sustainable environment. I think that to truly generate diverse solutions that can be effectively implemented, it is crucial to incorporate distinct solutions that can work for people in all areas. Considering the different perspectives of development within areas has also opened my mind to employing true understanding when developing solutions.
I have also grown my understanding of urgency of employing unique solutions. In more developed countries where more consumption and consumerism is accelerated, there is more urgency required to slow down the already massively increased greenhouse gas emissions, consumption, and waste being produced. Yet in countries that are underdeveloped or developing, the people are left vulnerable to ill-health, undereducation, and excessive use of natural resources. Therefore, different sustainable solutions need to be provided for different areas, making them multi-faceted to include numerous ranges of people. For example, developed countries can focus on drastically slowing down their consumption, while also providing the help that developing countries need to build their country sustainably, in hopes of creating new environmentally friendly countries. I have always been intrigued with Singapore’s prioritization of sustainable development in their city. The city choses clean energy and has nearly 50 percent green cover, allowing for animals and humans to live harmoniously within the city. This is a working example that sustainable solutions can effectively be incorporated into bigger cities that are the main contributors to waste and greenhouse gas emissions. As I mentioned before, the knowledge of wicked problems and sustainable issues is a privilege to learn about. Thus, I believe developed countries must prioritize sustainability and lower consumption while also prioritizing the spreading of sustainable, unique solutions to developing countries. This will allow for developing countries to obtain the greener technology that they may not have been able to get without first developing separately. The collaboration of developing countries and developed countries can also help towards building a more sustainable future with clean air and energy. Countries working together can further promote a shift in cultural thinking pertaining to sustainability.
The biggest picture take away I have gained from starting my learning journey about wicked problems, is that the smallest changes and cause a revolution. I believe in my circle of influence I want to promote and build change by spreading awareness of the small changes with big impacts. I believe that mindfulness practices are the most effective way to begin to curate these changes. Through my own mindfulness, I have gained strength in the ability to understand and critically evaluate my own sustainable/unsustainable habits as well as the variable solutions for wicked problems. I will be spreading the knowledge that I have had the privilege of learning to spread the urgency of the issues. I also plan on encouraging my friends and family to create small sustainable habits of their own that can lead to more sustainably based thinking. I believe that once people are able to slow down their thinking, they will also be able to slow down their consumption habits, because vital needs can be better distinguished from wasteful habits that are encouraged through our culture. I have an abundance of hope and belief that mindful habits can lead to an impact and needed shift in our culture’s thinking. From growing up in an accelerating country, I have already seen the expansion of a sustainable movement. I think that equipping people with the tools to combat these wicked problems is just the perfect catalyst for a sustainable revolution that will take over and offer a more environmentally friendly way of thinking. I am excited to be able to create this change that will one day lead to the sustainable revolution. I am grateful for the perspective change and expansion I have gained from this course, and I am excited to be the beginning change of a new sustainable culture.