The Mind, Heart and Body… and Wicked Problems?

Have you ever thought about the different ways one comes to understand a wicked problem? I really haven’t either until recently. A goal of the course I was in, wicked problems, taught me to take a compassionate and curious approach to understanding wicked problems in our world. This includes intellectually, with the mind, emotionally, with the heart, and somatically, with the body. All of these things control our understanding of a certain topic and in this case, are the reason I feel the way I do about wicked problems in our world today. Let’s go back to the beginning of this course shall we? First off, how about we refresh on what a wicked problem actually is. 

  1. Wicked problems do not have a definitive formulation
  2. They don’t have a stopping point. In other words, these specific problems lack an inherent logic that signals when they are solved.
  3. Their solutions are not true or false, only good or bad.
  4. There is no way to test the solution to a wicked problem.
  5. They cannot be studied through trial and error. Their solutions are not reversible so basically, every attempt and trial counts.
  6. All wicked problems are essentially unique.
  7. Wicked problems can always be described as the symptoms of other problems.

Continuing on with what I was previously talking about, an important characteristic of approach to a wicked problem includes mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness and being aware of what is going on can help in the overall understanding of these problems. Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens. This is a really good thing to form into a habit! Mindfulness practices can help us to increase our ability to regulate emotions, decrease stress, anxiety and depression. It can also help us to focus our attention, as well as to observe our thoughts and feelings without judgment. All this mindfulness can help us to become better aware of surroundings and what wicked problems are doing to our world. I believe that being more mindful can inspire us all to want to do good and be better humans. 

Now, let’s talk about what our emotions and our hearts have to do with wicked problems. The emotional aspect of this helps us to effectively consider consequences with problems that have on our environment, cultures, and our overall earth. Becoming more in touch with emotions can help us to understand the importance of prioritizing our world and helping in any way shape or form that we can. I always try to be compassionate and understand all sides of the issue with openness and understanding. In addition, I always want to be in touch with my empathetic side and pursue all my actions with not only my brain in my mind, but my heart and my emotions as well.

Now, I want to talk about the last aspect of understanding wicked problems. This is somatically, or with the body. This aspect isn’t completely clear to me, however, I definitely try to understand it in relation to the others. I believe that the mind definitely goes hand-in-hand with the body. Taking on the understanding of wicked problems can take a big toll on the body. This can cause a lot of stress and internal issues with the body. Many of the things that go on inside the mind have a direct effect on the body. For example, if I get super stressed or anxious, I don’t eat very healthy. See what I mean? It’s a silly example but it clearly shows that what we feed our mind affects our bodies.

When I first learned that I had to take the wicked problems course, I was a little confused as to what I would be learning. I looked at the content and wasn’t sure if I was going to understand what would be taught. Now that I’ve completed it, I’ve learned to appreciate the fact that I had to take the course. It taught me a lot about what is going on in our world and all the terrible things that are happening to our planet that really have no end. At first it made me really upset because I obviously want to help the planet in any way that I can. However, this class helped me get an understanding of little things I can do to help and certain things that might be good to form as a habit. For example, In order to survive, we must come up with more sustainable ways for industrialization and decrease pollution from factories. People need to understand how to recycle properly and dispose of waste correctly as well. If harmful items get into the environment, it harms creatures and the overall environment. It would help to create a solution to increase resources that are more sustainable rather than have them be hard to reach, not possible to use, and not known by the public.

Another important thing that I learned in this course is the impact of meditation. Meditation reduces anxiety, chronic pain, depression, heart disease and high blood pressure. It promotes emotional well-being and enhances self awareness. When we first started doing meditation in class, I thought it was not going to be beneficial for me. However, since I do suffer from generalized anxiety disorder and depression, I was very wrong. Meditation and mindfulness induce a heightened state of awareness and focused attention. Various studies demonstrate the practice can help reduce and relieve stress as well as manage anxiety and many other things. Also, meditation helps increase your focus and attention and improve your ability to multitask. Meditation helps clear our minds and focus on the present moment which gives you a huge productivity boost. All of this is fantastic! If you don’t do it already, you definitely should consider it. 10 minutes a day. That’s all it takes.

Finally, the last thing I’m going to talk about is what I plan to do in the future to help the world. My major and future career plan is interior design. There are many things I plan to do with my design spaces to be overall more environmentally friendly. I plan to maximize efficient use of space, use energy wise construction design materials, use materials produced in a socially responsible manner, reduce waste by using reclaimed recycled materials, plan for energy such as efficient lighting, use non toxic and nonpolluting products, and more. I plan on doing this because sustainability is crucial to conserving natural resources and living a more fruitful life. Sustainability improves the overall quality of all of our lives, protects our ecosystem, and preserves natural resources for future generations. We need to develop the ability to exist without depleting natural resources. All of this can help to create a more harmonious environment and improve the planet. 

Overall, I am glad I got to take the wicked problems course because it allowed me to grow in more ways than one. I hope to further my understanding on how to incorporate intellectual, emotional and somatic components into my everyday life to develop effective solutions to any problem that might come my way! Make sure to consider what you all can do to help our environment. 

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Just Us Against the World (and the wicked problems that face it)

Throughout the past couple months, I have been able to take part in a class known as Wicked Problems of the Industrial Practice, and this essentially was where I began my sustainability journey. Before taking this class I had a limited knowledge of the “wicked problems” that face our everyday lives, and even to the extent of what a “wicked problem” really is. After a brief introduction, I discovered what a “wicked problem” is, and that is defined as a problem facing a society or culture that cannot be distinctly solved without leading to other issues. These problems can be a multitude of things that face society and culture such as educational opportunities, hunger, poverty, sustainability, and so many more. Within sustainability alone, there are many wicked problems that have arisen. Some of these include but are not limited to pollution in air, land, and water, and other issues such as climate change, deforestation, loss of biodiversity in certain areas, and water scarcity in communities. These are just a few of the issues that I have learned so far on my journey towards sustainability. It has honestly  been really eye opening to learn about problems facing the world and even in my own community that I had no idea about. All of these problems are very real issues that people and communities struggle with on a daily basis and it has been very educational to learn about these issues and the ways that people have tried to not only approach these issues, but also how they have tried to fix them. The issue with these problems, and the reason that they are known as wicked problems is that these problems have no distinct answer and can be viewed by different people in different ways.

This being said, wicked problems have many viewpoints from different people, therefore making them very complex. To every wicked problem, there are people that agree that it is a problem, some of these people propose ways to solve these problems, others only acknowledge it as an issue without a way to fix it. On the other hand, with every wicked problem, there are also people that do not necessarily acknowledge that it is a problem, and others that acknowledge that it is a problem but do not want to propose a change due to economic benefits or other things. Each problem has multiple sides. Fashion, for example, can be looked at in many ways. Fashion as a whole is not inherently bad, however, there are issues that arise from the industry, but in the same light there are successes that come from it as well. Depending on who you talk to about issues in the fashion industry, there are a multitude of opinions and viewpoints. In relation to the production of fashion items, one of the biggest problems, or at least in my opinion, is the use of sweatshops for the production of items. While this is a problem across the world, we can see it in our own country as well. Sweatshops are quite obviously an issue of morality due to the treatment of the people working within these sweatshops and the horrible conditions they work in. However, due to the nature of growing industry and need for supply and demand, these sweatshops have become a way of life not only for some of the people working in them, but also for the leaders of the industry. While some of these capitalists acknowledge the issues behind these sweatshops, to them, there are more benefits, including cheap, fast labor, and quicker supply for rising demands. This is just one of the many wicked problems and how they can be seen differently by many people.

Is there a way to solve these problems? Well, like discussed earlier, the main issue is that people do not necessarily agree on the basis of the problems. Many people realize it is a problem however, due to the benefits in the economy that come from these productions, people tend to lean more towards the side of the rewards rather than to be blamed for the issues. Since these “wicked problems” seem to have no end, how are we supposed to help? One of the biggest ways to help fight these wicked problems that I have learned throughout this class is understanding the importance of mindfulness. Mindfulness has been found to be a very good tool in helping to promote and reach sustainability. Mindfulness by definition is being fully aware of one’s own thoughts and actions as well as the environment that surrounds them. Mindfulness in relation to the environment is being aware of what is going on around you and realizing that you have a bigger role in society than just yourself. When we are aware of what is going on in the world around us, we tend to be more open to making choices that in turn will affect the environment positively,  essentially bettering it, not only for ourselves, but others. Mindfulness can be achieved through many different things, but one of the best ways I have personally found the most helpful is meditation. Meditation is essentially the process of being still and putting yourself in the position to acknowledge what is going on around you and connecting how you feel and your emotions to what is going on around you. When we are able to calm our minds and tune into the world around us, we are more inline with and more open to how to make changes to the environment. As we take part in meditation, we engage all of our senses and are then able to fully be part of what is going on in our lives whether we are a part of it or not. If we take just a small amount of time to calm ourselves and reflect on our lives, we can become more able to see the bigger issues.

For most of my life, I had a limited knowledge on what it actually meant to be sustainable and working towards being environmentally friendly. It has not been until recently that I really understood what it was to make a bigger effort to be sustainable. With taking this class, I have been able to educate myself on the issues facing the world and just how important people like you and me are in making a difference in the environment. I have since learned that everything we do has an impact on the environment and we need to not only be aware of our effect on the planet, but also we need to make a conscious effort to help fight these problems we create. Through educating myself and learning to be more mindful, I have realized what it truly means to be more sustainable and what sustainability in society is. Humans have always had a great impact on the environment, and industrial practices have brought the health of the world down. By realizing how much we impact the earth and the environment both negatively and positively, we can help be the change needed to better the world. The health of the world is only in what we make it and by being mindful of the issues going on in the world, we can realize that we are the ones that can make a difference in the world, even if we feel unimportant in the grand scheme of things. 

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Ways To Help The Environmental Waste Problem

This course being about wicked problems has really opened my eyes about the many problems we face in society that can’t necessarily be fixed. It really made me want to contribute and do my part to make the world more sustainable. At the rate the world is at right now, were looking into destroying the world. The goal of the wicked problems course was to help students be more compassionate about wicked problems around the world and make them want to contribute to helping if they don’t already. Although there aren’t specific ways to solve a wicked problem, there are ways us as consumers can help out. My goals leaving this course are to keep in mind that there are many problems surrounding me, so why not pay more attention to them and help out for generations to come. Ways I will be contributing to help these wicked problems are helping with the environmental waste problems, recycling and upcycling clothing with fast fashion brands, and buying used items. Of course, there are other wicked problems not including environmental waste such as climate change, poverty, education, the list goes on, but the way I can contribute most is through environmental waste. What interests me the most is fast fashion because I’m a fashion merchandising major, so this topic really concerns me.

            Environmental waste is a huge issue today and has been for many years. People don’t understand how hurtful it is to our environment. Fast fashion is producing lots of clothing made out of materials and textiles that are low quality. Some examples of fast fashion retail brands are stores such as forever 21, fashion nova, Zara, and H&M Group. All of the stores are wonderful but potentially are bad for the environment.

            A way that is super easy to keep the world more sustainable is to recycle your old clothing, or clothing that no longer fits, or you don’t like anymore. You can recycle by cleaning out your closet and getting rid of clothes you no longer want and donating them to charity or thrift stores that are in the same area as you. The reason I say I can contribute a lot to this is because I have so many clothes and not enough space in my closet. Why would you not want to clean out your closet and donate your clothes to the people who actually need them and to keep the cycle going to prevent fashion from going to waste. Another fast fashion retail brand that everyone loves is Shein. Everyone loves shein because of their always trendy fits within each season. I’ve personally bought from shein several times and it’s a hit or miss because their fabrics are very cheaply made. I’ve always said “you get what you pay for” because everything on sheins site is pretty much twenty-five dollars or less. That’s why everyone loves it, because you can buy in bulk and get rid of what doesn’t work out. The very bad thing about this retail brand is that there’s overworking involved and workers being very underpaid that make the garments. It also leads to environmental waste because of all the left-over textiles.

            Something else you can do to help the environment is upcycling your clothing in your closet to make you want to continue to wear it.  You can start simple such as starting with t-shirts and making them cropped or changing how clothes fit you or make you feel more confident in wearing them in public. Be very creative when doing this process and never be afraid to ask someone to help you with that process because it will make an impact and its fun to do. I personally love to do this on my own. I’ve taken fashion design classes that have taught me the basics of sewing and how to use a sewing machine. We did an upcycling project and i remember looking up inspiration on Pinterest of upcycling projects and found this super cute tank top that was made out of Nike socks. That’s just one example but you can take anything that doesn’t fit you or that you don’t like and make it into something you love all while helping the environment. Other ways you can upcycle clothing at home besides cutting and sewing are embroidery, painting, and any reusable item in your house will do.

            Buying from sustainable retail brands and companies will benefit the environment as well. Sustainable companies are focusing on going above and beyond and recycling every chance the get. They are very considerate of the environment so if you’re wanting to contribute to that it’s important to buy from these brands. Some examples of the topmost sustainable brands are Amazon and Nike. Amazon makes everything quick and easy and then whatever you buy online is shipped right to your front doorstep. They also have pretty much anything you could imagine buying, and you can buy from the comfort of your own home. I personally love buying from Amazon because of how easy it is to do, and they have really great quality things. This sustainable brand was even more successful during the Covid 19 pandemic because nobody could leave their homes. 

            Besides fashion being a big issue, basic recycling needs to be more spoken about in my opinion. Coming up generations barely get taught about what to recycle and what can just go in the trash. People nowadays don’t pay any attention and don’t realize how important it is and what could be potentially doing to our environment. I think schools should teach more about recycling and make awareness of the environmental aspect it has in the world. Things you can recycle are plastic containers, plastic water bottles, paper and cardboard, any type of metal, glass, even plastic bags. There are obviously more things you can recycle but these are the basics that I feel like everyone needs to have a better understanding on. I remember learning about the types of materials to recycle way back when I was in middle school or even elementary school, but I don’t ever remember being explained to as to why I need to recycle certain objects. It was always just you need to recycle this type thing. I think if students were taught why they are recycling and provide images and make it clear as to why they are doing so and why it’s so important I think that would benefit upcoming generations and will make the world a better place.

            All of these issues impact my feelings in many different ways. It’s sad to see and hear that environmental waste is a huge problem but it will always be there and there’s not much we can do about that situation expect for the topics I listed. It wouldn’t be a wicked problem if there was a solution to the issue. That’s the part that scares me as someone who tries to be as environmentally friendly as I can be. In conclusion, the ways I will be contributing to help may seem small but a little can go a long way. If everyone contributed and made helping the environmental waste problem a priority in their day-to-day lifestyle it could make a huge difference in society. 

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“Life has taught me so much”

Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome” said Arthur Ashe. What do these quotes mean to you? Let me tell you what it means to me, Success is a journey we all live to desire but success comes with obstacles and bumps in the road, but what we do to get to success is our own success and accomplishment, we all have a different destination that takes us down a road with many things that block our way, yet we always make an impact on that journey and reach our goals.  As I learn in my journey I discover new things, meet amazing people, learn so much, and try new things I never knew would help me a lot. In my first year as a freshman, I knew college was gonna be hard and how much stress I would be under. As I began my first semester I never took Wicked problems seriously, I thought the meditation was boring and the class was just a waste of my time. I actually learned that meditation is to engage in contemplation or reflection, even when meditating for so long time or even just ten minutes helps relieve any stress that’s built up in the mind and body. And to engage in mental exercises, such as concentrating on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness. This not only focuses on one thing but many things, for example, mental health, stress, anxiety, concentration, helps you feel relaxed in a state of mind even if it makes you sleepy also but it makes you feel at ease and calm your nerves and feel as one.

Wicked Problems is about “Sustainability challenges are often referred to as wicked problems… a complex issue that defies complete definition, for which there can be no final solution since any resolution generates further issues, and where solutions are not true or false or good or bad, but the best that can be done at the time. Such problems are not morally wicked, but diabolical in that they resist all the usual attempts to resolve them.” In life, we learn about complex problems through contemplative practice and develop a compassionate curiosity about multiple ways of knowing about wicked problems. We live a life that we take for granted and do not realize it, we have only a small amount of lives to live, we take life for a granted cause we do things that aren’t giving back to the world, we can build so many houses to live, take up so much land, bring gases down to the environment causing bipolar weather, we use so many products in life that harm the ecosystem, and we mostly are greedy. We live a life where we need money to pay bills, and money to spend but that money we are using come from the earth, we take so much from the world and we never realize it, we have such a small amount of time in life that we don’t even care about. I never realized how much we use and take from the world, the makeup we put on our faces, the materials we use, the things we buy, the things we cannot get rid of or burn cause it stays, the items we use, and the buildings week build, so much if this has taken the land. Yes, we do need a place to live but can we not give back and plant what we took from the ecosystem and give back to the earth, and be able to have what we took by repaying our respect among the world. These are the things we do not realize as a society we did not know about any of this going on cause we never stopped and take a few seconds or a minute to realize “Hey how am I helping the environment by taking from it and not giving back”, we rely on a society where we let the world do whatever they want and how they want to do it, look at the things around and take a second and realize what certain things took to build that certain items you are looking at. The things we build and use are what are polluting the world and causing our ecosystem to change, also the businesses that compete against each other for a certain item raised their standards high and gave them a higher profit cause that certain item or object gave them the power to become greedy and pollute our water and lands with their corporation. Let me give you an example of big business industry that we make trades with, is China, China is known for its best advertisements in giving us wonderful objects and electronics, etc. China’s lands are polluted cause their corporation’s profits are high and they live off these certain profits, so China could never change their ways cause they live off everything they build, and if they were to stop what or where would China be then? Most of us can’t change but most of us can make a stand and a difference in the world, as a young student in the Fashion production I took faced the challenge that my garments will be produced from chemicals and materials but I will find various ways that I can contribute and develop a safer way and possible way to give back to the environment. Because I was taught “Life is a precious thing, don’t take every bit of it for granted. Cause you never know when life is coming to end.” 

I hope future students like me with different majors see this and realize we are the future and we can make a difference when we take action and speak up and are willing to find a sustainable way to live in a better and healthier environment not only us but also for our kids and their future kids to. In life, everything is a lesson to us even if we heard or seen it before, each chapter of our lives we see things that teach us the meaning of life, and the things we hear set inside of our minds and repeated telling us “The world is what YOU think of it, so think of it DIFFERENTLY and your life will change.”, and I want you all to remember this quote cause what do you think of the world and so think of it differently with everyone contributing to giving back to life and understanding the meaning of it, and another thing your life may change each chapter and it will make the journey feel like your going down a road you don’t like but you will soon understand a certain change in the world will have a great impact on all of our lives. So as you grow to think about the meaning of life, and your journey, reflect back on the advice I have given you, and please consider the information I have given you meaning, and also a lesson. “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

Thank you for your time!

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Sustaining Bad Habits

Before I started Wicked Problems, I had a basic understanding of the increasing environmental degradation and sustainability issues, but these issues weren’t things I thought about frequently. This class opened my eyes to the vast problems we currently face on this planet, and I now understand the true meaning of a “wicked” problem. None of the issues we discussed in the class had a simple fix, and the more I learned about each problem, the more complex and frustrating they became. Initially, my approach to each problem was that most people had their own opinion on how it should be fixed, but they weren’t taking action because there is widespread disagreement. This is true in specific scenarios, but that’s not necessarily true for a wicked problem. I now understand that a problem is wicked because when a solution is discussed, there will most likely be other factors that disadvantage or damage another vital part of our society. For example, when talking about sweatshops in the fashion industry, many people believe they should be abolished due to the harsh working conditions and abuse the workers face. This solution has flaws, as in developing countries, sweatshops are large sources of employment and are beneficial to the economy. Abolishing sweatshops would decrease the amount of harsh labor in these countries, but it would also diminish employment opportunities and influence product sales from that country, affecting all other countries that rely on the developing country for products. This made me realize that most people don’t have a set opinion on wicked problems, as they are often too complex to believe one way is the correct way. I now can take a step back when analyzing a problem to understand the complete concept before making a decision. This is also provided to me through the mindfulness exercises from class, as it takes patience and perspective to understand different points of view on important issues. Sometimes, people become passionate about finding solutions to these problems because they don’t understand the total capacity of how it will affect other aspects of society, which was how I approached things before this class. Now that I am mindful of different perspectives that I may not even know exist, I can further understand the issue and its depth.

This course not only outlined the extremely wicked problems in our current society, but it also gave me knowledge about how they come about and who is responsible. It’s impossible to blame a single person or company for a wicked problem, such as the preservation of environmental degradation, but there are sometimes large contributors that account for much of the issue and its deficits. In terms of environmental degradation, almost everyone on this planet contributes in one way or another, whether it’s throwing trash out the window or using gas in your car. This doesn’t mean that every person on Earth is equally responsible, though, as a small number of international businesses contribute to the majority of this degradation. If you look at the news today, many global research scientists believe this planet will not last for the next generation, and the environmental degradation is irreversible. There are even scientists who protest outside of government buildings and businesses that contribute to the degradation, as they want to gain media coverage to spread awareness about sustainability. However, media coverage is lacking these protests, as large businesses don’t want to lose money due to sustainability measures. This is an interesting time to live through, as people are more concerned than ever about our environmental impact, and it has become a massive concern within society. Despite all this, there is still an increasing amount of degradation in different ways, growing rapidly and permanently killing our planet. Not only do businesses contribute to degradation with pollution and the use of fossil fuels, but the products sold in today’s market are meant to last a short period for the consumer to have to buy a new one. This marketing strategy is excellent for businesses and their profit but horrible for the environment and the amount of waste we humans create each year. There is trash everywhere, in the ocean and in the air, and it will remain on the Earth long after we put it there. Since learning about the shortening of product lifespan in this class, I’ve become much more aware of what I spend money on and the choices I make when shopping. It’s become much more important to me that I use reusable dishes and water bottles, drive less, and turn my car’s engine off when I’m not driving. These things are minor impacts on our planet’s climate, but I want to do anything to reduce waste and overconsumption. I make an effort to educate my friends when they buy from stores that contribute to pollution and sweatshops, especially those that sell products in mass quantities for extremely low prices. I understand that it’s difficult to blame any person or company for a wicked problem, which is why it’s crucial for each and every person to make an effort towards sustainability. Although there are brands that contribute to fast fashion, there are also consumers who overconsume and contribute as well, which essentially makes both parties equally responsible for degradation. 

Sustainability has been a difficult thing for humans to achieve since the beginning of time, and there is a large disconnection between the care people have for the earth and its resources compared to the care they have for making money and growing businesses. Previously, I understood that there’s a large amount of pollution on the earth affecting our natural resources, but I didn’t pay attention to how critical overpopulation has become in the past few decades. The human population grows exponentially, which has inevitably led us to where we are now, struggling to find resources and space for the rapidly increasing number of people. This issue has led to overconsumption and overproduction of goods that aren’t quality, which has a highly negative impact on the environment. Scientists had predicted these types of issues long ago, but it’s challenging to have an entire planet full of people listen to you and agree to make a change in their lives. I genuinely hope that there are considerable measures taken toward the prevention of environmental degradation in the next few years, as it is unfair to future generations and their lives. Our human culture has become completely centered around money and economies instead of the ground we build our businesses and homes on and the only planet we will ever have to live on. I believe the most important thing for humans to do now is to simply look up. We need to look up from our daily work and tasks and look up to the world around us. Before entering this class, I never frequently thought about environmental degradation and my impact on the world, as not many other people talked or cared about it either. Now that I understand the state of our planet and the direction that we’re headed, I wish I would’ve paid more attention sooner. Every person on Earth is responsible, and I hope that soon we all realize our personal impact on the Earth and how we can improve it.

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Taking Steps Toward Sustainability

From the midterm blog to now, I’ve learned even more about the unsustainability of our world due to wicked problems. The uniqueness of a wicked problem from a normal difficulty is that it is nearly impossible to solve and every single one is different. There are multiple strings attached to one wicked problem, therefore presenting many complexities and challenges in finding a solution. More often than not, only improvements can be made rather than a complete fix. Some of these attached strings include limited knowledge of the issue, the number of people involved, the economic turmoil it may cause, or the interrelation of these problems with additional problems. The sad truth is that all of these challenges are contributing to the unsustainability of our world today. Our nature as humans is to have the newest and greatest fashion as soon as possible, whether that’s clothes, technology, or material goods, but this mindset is leaving an economic footprint on our earth. If we keep living our lives the way we are now, the effects of this will be irreversible and the earth as we know it will become inhabitable. When enrolling for this class at Oklahoma State, I had no idea what it would entail or even what a wicked problem was. Now that I am at the end of this class, I can confidently say that I have learned an extensive amount about the wicked problems in our world and how we should be eager to take part in the change. Truly the first step in a positive direction is to educate yourself on these issues and make yourself aware. This class has provided me with that opportunity and has opened my eyes to the wicked problems going on around me. 

A goal for this course was to develop a compassionate curiosity toward our earth’s wicked problems. Meaning that we begin to understand these issues intellectually, with the mind; emotionally, with the heart; and somatically, with the body. The main way we were able to do this was through meditation. Meditation is a mindful practice that centers every part of you. It brings about awareness of oneself while also establishing a calm and stable state of being. Participating in a ten-minute guided meditation at the beginning of class allowed me to be fully present, attentive, and non-judgmental towards the information being presented to us during class. Additionally, this practice gave me the opportunity to take a step back from my busy schedule and take a few minutes to simply rest and recenter. This exemplifies that not only is mindful practice beneficial in learning, but also for mental, physical, and cognitive health. Before this class, I had never participated in mediation, but now it has become an activity that I try to participate in every day. 

The first way that I have started to deeply understand wicked problems is with my mind. This way of understanding seems quite simple and obvious, but it is more complicated than one would think. There is so much more to these problems than what is presented at the surface. Gaining a deeper understanding of the wicked problems our earth takes on positions the lens through which I view these problems. For example, it is clear that climate change is a major issue. What most people don’t understand, though, is that this is not only affecting our earth, but it affects us too. As temperatures continue to rise, it puts ecosystems, our homes, and our livelihoods at risk. This is just one instance where there is a deeper root connected to these wicked problems. Additionally, another way that I have been able to understand with my mind in a deeper sense is by listening to the opinions of others. This discussion-based class provides me with the opportunity to hear different viewpoints that I may have never thought about before. This, along with research, helps me establish my stance and beliefs on certain topics. Meditation also contributes to my mindful understanding by giving me a clean slate to learn and be open to new ideas. Understanding with our minds is crucial in being an advocate for change and opens the door to understanding with the heart and body as well. 

The second way that I have started to understand wicked problems is with my heart. Considering that I am an extremely empathetic person, the emotional appeal is the way that I most greatly understand wicked problems. Because of our mediation practice before class, I am able to start the class period being centered and in touch with my emotions. This has opened my eyes and broke my heart towards the wicked issues that I thought were not so bad. I have started to feel very sad about the way we treat our earth. It hurts knowing that I once didn’t care about the extinction of species due to deforestation or the pollution of water and air due to fast fashion. Yet, at the same time, I have started to feel more grateful for this class and motivated to start the change for a more sustainable world. I believe that our hearts are the place where our passions and cares reside. Gaining a deeper understanding of wicked problems with my heart has placed a new passion inside me, which is to contribute to the change and motivate others around me to do the same. 

The third and final way that I have come to understand wicked problems is with my body. To understand something somatically means to have a connection between the mind and body. The meditation portion of class has helped establish this connection a tremendous amount. Taking ten minutes to sit in stillness has allowed me to have a calm and stable stature when learning about these difficult topics. Though I am not entirely sure how my body is supposed to understand these wicked problems, I know that my body has felt a sense of eagerness to go and start being a part of the change our world needs. Additionally, I have felt uncomfortability and grief within my body knowing that we all contribute to the steady decline of our already unhealthy world every day. 

A second major goal of this course is to develop humble and compassionate responses to wicked problems. I feel as though I have experienced a great amount of growth in this area. Considering that I had little to no knowledge about wicked problems or meditation, I feel as if I was able to learn, internalize, and therefore respond healthily. This is because everything was new to me and I was being guided on how to respond to these issues the right way. Due to the compassionate curiosity I have developed, my external responses are reflective of my internal posture towards these topics. Additionally, meditation has allowed me to become more open and non-judgemental of other people’s perspectives or beliefs. An example of this was when we discussed whether the market or the government was working better at transitioning to sustainability. Some people had differing viewpoints than I did, but instead of ignoring what they had to say, I was open to seeing why they believed what they did. This speaks volumes about how the content of this course reshapes one’s thinking and responsiveness in a way that is humble and compassionate. 

Because of the knowledge I have gained in this course, I feel equipped to begin making changes in my circle of influence. The first and one of the most important things I will continue to do is keep myself educated on wicked problems. Being aware of the problem is the first step in making the world a better place. The next thing I will do is be mindful of the unsustainable practices I do on a daily basis. I will work to replace some of these negative practices with more sustainable ones that benefit not only the world, but myself and those around me too. Some of these will include using less plastic, using more reusable items, walking more, and recycling. My hope is that by setting a good example of sustainable practices, those around me will start to notice and do the same. 

Overall, because of what I have learned in this course, I have become more aware of the wicked problems causing our world to be unsustainable. I have learned how to understand these issues intellectually, emotionally, and somatically. I have also learned how to compassionately and humbly respond to these difficult problems. A large amount of credit goes to mindful meditation, which allows my soul to be fully present, aware, and peaceful. I hope that as I go beyond this course, I can continue to increase my knowledge and understanding of wicked problems and begin implementing sustainable practices in my life.

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Mindfulness of sustainability

So far in this course discussion of wicked problems I come to understand  that aspect of how life has a huge impact on the environment. Our environment affects our economy and our livelihoods some more than others. The manufacturing of  a lot of the things we use in our daily life sometimes takes a lot out of the earth,in addition to the excess chemicals that are released into the atmosphere while making such products,and the waste that is tossed after the completion of the manufacturing of the products. A lot of times it seem that in the industrial industry there is more taking from the earth than given back,and us as consumers need to be more mindful of that,whether we start a organization discussing matter such as global warming,or making more sustainably products,and how in some area the manufacturing these products are being do in harsh conditions jeopardizing the livelihood of their employees. By being consumers who might be purchasing some of these products unknowingly and others knowingly about such aspects of the production process, we need to make ourselves more knowledgeable of what,how we consume. 

Given today’s time and how there is easier access to information we should be more curious of how the things we wear and use in our daily life are made,and if we discover that certain aspects of how things are made along with how much we are consuming is   negatively impacting the sustainability of our environment. This is when we need to make time and discuss solutions to these matters,not only should we discuss solutions, we should discuss these solutions with those that are in a higher position to make the solution to these problems happen. By using gatherings to discuss the issues of our environment and making it aware to the public that some of us see these issues in our world and want to make change. Hopefully if enough of us come together about the matter of our sustainability in the world, those in charge and those in position to push upon change on our behalf there will actually be great change. Change as in how we live both physically and mentally,and as time goes on each generation will be able to develop a better way to better have sustainability and other generations will have ideas and develop ways on how to maintain sustainability.

 Being aware and more compassionate about your relationship with the environment whether it be  people, a certain place and things is an important trait to have. When being aware and concerned we  witness some of the effects of not being mindful of sustainability in the world.  Witnessing the effect of lack of sustainability for  some would want them to be aware of their own sustainability and want to prevent such  negative outcomes of lack of sustainability. For example poor water supplies because of pollution from waste;waste that comes from manufacturing companies and the lack of law or laws enforced to make sure the proper action is being taken to dispose of waste properly. More mindfulness needs to be made in the industrial industry when it comes to making rules and regulations. For instance, more eco-friendly resources should be used to make products,or the waste from the products produced must have to be used in some form or fashion that is eco-friendly, and is helping towards better sustainability. I think it would be very beneficial towards the economy as well. Having such a compassionate mindset concerning those  and things around you makes you consider their well-being and wanting to create change and be proactive to prevent the compromising of our environment to a point where the issue can no longer be resolved.  Along with that if our well-being is not in good standing we are in no position to create or assist in better welling of thoses and things around us, you might not even be  aware of  wicked problems we face or are being discussed by those around you.

 Maintaining our own sustainability is a huge factor that is important to make sure we keep ourselves informed about the issues going around us. Because if we cannot maintain or have some sustainability in our own life it’ll be an ongoing cycle of unsustainability in our environment. Your overall well-being is beneficial because it enhances your values,empathy,compassion when being mindful which helps create sustainable behavior which then can be beneficial out in the world. Such mindfulness will benefit better mental health as such studies have shown.

 Those that have a huge social impact on us as consumers would really benefit us if they were the majority that took such action because it’ll be an easier way for the message to spread that changes need to be made. For Instance in the apparel industry there is a community of those that are concerned with what those of higher social standing wear and don’t wear,and for some that dictates what is being consumed and what is being produced. Trends have a huge impact on the sustainability of our environment. Because what is popular at the time could be something that takes a lot of resources to make and alot of other resources to make the supplies needed for the production of that garment or another product. Being aware of the fact that every product has an expiration date. The value of the product will change eventually.

Being aware of this future product will be made with the consideration of sustainability. By having such awareness as a consumer some of us won’t be so concerned with what someone is wearing, or a certain  but instead how sustainable that garment or that product is. In addition we will be more concerned with how to make more sustainable products along with buying more sustainable products.  Which will benefit those generations of the industrial industry in making more eco-friendly products. These opportunities will create more job opportunities which will help impact our economy, financial standing and our lively hood. 

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Wicked Problems of the world

We all know that there are issues that the world needs to fix right? They are most likely caused by humans in that case. We can all do our part to be more sustainable and help our environment. I have learned more about sustainability within the last few weeks to get more of an idea of what needs to happen before we can change the world or at least make a change. More and more people need to become more mindful and really figure out what they need in life to be sustainable. That is just one part of the journey. I learned that if one is to be more mindful and think about what they actually need in life it will lead to less waste and a more healthy environment. Not only will it lead to a better environment, it will be beneficial to one’s self as well. I kind of think of it as a self care type of thing. You do not need lots of items to make you happy. Material items will not make one happy and it will only lead to more waste in the future. For example if you are to continuously buy the latest item that is hot right, so to speak, you will most likely throw away that old item. What makes you think that you would even think about recycling or donating that item if you just bought a new one to replace the probably not even a month old item. Especially with clothing, all the old clothes will eventually end up in a landfill somewhere and they will be worthless. So why don’t you donate or even upcycle the clothing? This will help out with the clothing in landfills and you will be contributing to sustainability. Back to the being mindful thing, you will also realize that you don’t need much to be happy so you will not buy as much as you would before. Take the poor for example, I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but if you are ever in their position you know what it’s like to only need to buy what’s important for your survival. They don’t dwell on what the new hip thing is. There’s a likelihood that most countries, cities, or neighborhoods have these low income households and they are more likely to contribute to sustainability than higher paid households. 

We talk about being sustainable and what we actually need to do, but why does it seem like not everyone is at least doing the bare minimum to help contribute to sustainability. Recycling is a great way to start. You can recycle anything, well not anything, but it would be a great place to start. If you have old clothing you can donate it, like I do to friends or relatives, and that is another way to be more sustainable. You can even upcycle the clothing as well. There’s a multitude of things you can do to help with sustainability. There should not be a saying that you can not think of a way to help out. Even if you do not have someone to give your old clothes to, you can bring them to a donation box, Goodwill, or perhaps a thrift store. I used to shop at thrift stores when I was younger, mainly for doll clothes and such, but for the lower income side of people they surely help out a lot. Since they probably can’t afford to go somewhere and buy an expensive pair of jeans, let’s say,they can go to the thrift store and get a pair for half or most likely a quarter of what the regular price would be. By shopping at thrift stores and such they are contributing to a more sustainable lifestyle. This is one of the easiest ways I can think of that can be more sustainable when shopping for clothing items or even donating them as well. 

There is a lot to say about what you can and can’t particularly do by yourself to be more sustainable or if something is a wicked problem. I honestly had no idea what a wicked problem actually was until I enrolled in the course this spring. Within the past few classes I have concluded that wicked problems affect us all in our daily lives. It can affect our health, living situations, and even our environment. If we are not careful and do not take care of ourselves that can affect our health and our living conditions. One will not really care about what is going on around them and only care for themselves. In some cases that is a good thing, but not always. If you are not taking care of yourself you will notice or someone else will, that your environment is going to degrade. This can be on a small level or a global level with hundreds if not thousands of people. We do not realize when we are going about our daily lives that the planet we live on is a luxury and there are not many like it, or at least the only one that can carry life. We need to be more aware of certain situations that will have a huge impact later on. Mindfulness will always pop up when I think of wicked problems or even sustainability. I have learned from this class that not everything is black and white when talking about certain problems. You can not just come up with a solution to one problem and hope it works for another person or situation. Each situation is unique and one needs to respect that. 

Culture can play a part in it as well. With each situation being unique some cultural things can have an impact on how one is being mindful and sustainable as well. I remember one example of a cultural thing was that tea leaves can be used for many purposes other than just making tea. You can use them for fertilizing other plants as well. Everything just ties into each other at the end of it all. I could also just be rambling, but so far this class is not that bad.

#WP animals DHM1101 DHM4573 earth empathic design Empathy go green Interesting ideas interior design meditation mindfulness My Sustainabily Journey Problem Solving recycling center SAIM SIAM sustainability vegetarianism wd Wicked Problems WickedProblems WP WP+Sustainability

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One Big, Happy World

… or so we think.

Behind the booming industries we have in America and the large economic growth, there are many deeper problems facing the world in relation to sustainability. Some of the problems that affect the world are classified as wicked problems. Wicked problems are defined as problems facing a culture or a society that are difficult or nearly impossible to solve. There are many wicked problems facing society today including pollution- air, water, and land- overconsumption, resource shortage, among other things. These wicked problems threaten life on earth and without a great change in how we produce, buy, and sell products, these problems are inevitable. I have always had a passion for advocating for sustainability and by taking the class Wicked Problems of The Industrial Practice, I have really had my eyes opened even more to the problems that face our society and how, ultimately, we are responsible for these problems and for coming up with solutions to fix these seemingly unfixable problems. One of the most important things I have taken away so far from this class is the true impact that humans have had on the environment and the world itself. In looking at past civilizations such as the Easter Island Civilization, we can see how much of an impact people can have on the community and their surroundings and ultimately how people can end a society if not careful. In this case, the Easter Island civilization continued to populate and grow while at the same time not taking care of the soil and environment they lived in. The main contributor to this collapse was deforestation which then quickly led to bad soil to grow crops in to sustain the community. With resources declining and population inclining, individuals began to form tribes to protect resources, which caused mass killings of tribes and, in all,  eliminated the entire civilization. This Easter Island collapse is just one of many examples that show the effects of neglecting the environment. This situation among many others helped me to see and relate to a situation in which people fail to see the damage they are doing to the planet while being fully invested in only themselves. This really relates to the topic of mindfulness, one of the topics we covered in depth in the class of Wicked Problems. Mindfulness is one of the greatest tools, in my opinion, in helping to restore sustainability. Mindfulness is defined as being fully aware of one’s own thoughts, actions, and surrounding environment. Mindfulness in relation to the environment is being aware of what is going on around you and realizing that you have a bigger role in society than just yourself. The act of being conscious of what is going on around you leads to being more open to making changes to the environment and essentially bettering it, not only for yourself, but others. Mindfulness can come in many ways, but the main way that I have experienced mindfulness is through meditation. By researching and practicing meditation, I have personally felt more in tune with what is going on around me and how I feel about myself in relation to these issues. Meditation is basically the act of calming oneself down to the point that you can focus on your own thoughts. Through meditation, we can engage our senses and tune them more towards what is going on more directly in our lives. By taking just a few minutes to reflect and contemplate our lives and our surroundings, we can become more mindful of bigger issues than ourselves. For most of my life, I thought sustainability and being environmentally friendly were, to be quite honest, the people that say the cliche things like save the whales and drink from only paper straws. I never really thought in depth about what it meant to be mindful of the environment and the effects we as humans can have on the environment. Since doing more research and making a conscious effort to be aware of my surroundings and the environment, I have realized what it truly means to be more sustainable and what sustainability in society is. Understanding how humans can affect the environment with industrial practices and other things, is really important in contributing to the community. Whether we think so or not, humans have a very great impact on the earth and the environment, to some this impact is positive and for others it is negative. Sustainability as a whole is a variable problem with variable solutions. This means that there are many different views on first of all, whether this is a problem or not, and if so, how we should deal with the problems of environmental changes because of human activity. Now, why are the results of industrial practices bad? For many, the industrial practice brings about many wicked problems in the environment including one of the main ones: pollution. This includes air, water, and land pollution. Along with pollution and overall harm to the environment, industrial practices can bring about other problems such as overconsumption and resource shortage. These indeed are very big problems in relation to the environment and world we live in, however, some see them as minimal issues because of the benefits coming from these practices. These large industries bring about some benefits too, including employment for large amounts of people, and the production of the goods that consumers in society purchase. People have many different opinions of whether the industrial practice has more benefits or more harmful outcomes, but the reality is that there are both ups and downs to the industry. Taking this into account, we should be mindful of how we look at these practices and how we react. One of the most important things that I found within my journey towards sustainability is the power of mindfulness in sustainability. When we are mindful of the environment around us, we can be fully present to see not only the issues, but the successes of industrial practices. The journey towards sustainability is a never ending journey, and for me, it is important to start somewhere. Whether you are an expert or just starting your journey, everyone has to start somewhere and we can all do things to improve not only our own lives, but the lives of others, along with improving the longevity of the world and the environment.

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Thoughts on the Hour

The goal of this course is as said “Bring a compassionate curiosity to multiple ways you may come to understand a wicked problem (intellectually; mind, emotionally: heart, somatically: body)”. Well, I will say, it has honestly helped some. I have always tried mediation and other ways to help calm down and or relax me. I actually have made some progress during this class. What has hit me about mediation with some of the videos is the words. I honestly listen to what they say in the videos and take it to heart (well, brain to be specific). These words have helped calmed me down and relaxed me. I felt like my blood pressure was dropping back down to normal and my head didn’t feel so filled.

Wicked Problem wise, I would say it has reflected on things I have already thought of and or think already. It is interesting to think that stuff I could talk about with my friends or just people in general how it is classified as “wicked problems”. I think this class brings out what I think about already, it brings it out in open discussion and on paper. Sometimes I can have a lot of thoughts here and there about things that are related and or wicked problems but never express them or discuss them much. I think it is good for me to have class discussions about these wicked problems. It helps stretch my brain muscles out. I think I spend too much time on easy topics, studying the same thing over, or just being comfortable in my own ways. The class itself has taught me that my ways aren’t exactly the best ways and even if my idea was correct at the time that it wouldn’t be correct in the future. Overall, I would say my progress towards my understanding of wicked problems has improved dramatically. I definitely take more time in my day to think about the things we talk about in class and read about. Makes me think more than on an average day. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely need to think sometimes hard about microeconomics and sometimes a little hard on planning my day. However, with our prompts for pre-discussion activities. I find myself wondering about certain problems and or situations that have occurred that I don’t ever think about or even think about at all. I think the best way not to overthink this is by meditating over it. Not letting certain things get to you. It is easy to overthink certain situations and let them take over you as a person. This class overall has got me to the point where “Bring a compassionate curiosity to multiple ways you may come to understand a wicked problem (intellectually; mind, emotionally: heart, somatically: body)” has definitely played a role in my life to a certain extent. I defiantly will be using what I have learned to use in my daily life. Intellectual mind and emotion have been a big factor as well.

I would say this course has definitely developed a humble sense in me. I think that from an overall perspective I can definitely be one-sided and not think about what other people think. I definitely before this class have changed my ways in that perspective and manner. however, I think this class has challenged a lot of my thoughts it has changed also in detail how deeply I think about my thoughts and opinions. For example, talking about how there are certain solutions to plastic waste and there are easy ways for the short term and harder ways for the long term and vice versa. I would have my ways and say this is the right way and that everyone can go through it. Now, I think that it has definitely challenged me that it is a “wicked problem”. I don’t think there’s ever a correct answer or solution to certain responses and or solutions. I think we as a whole class have all learned that it is difficult to build a true answer that can fit all.

What we have done in class has proven that we are all deep thinkers truly. We just have to think hard in focus. I think also talking about how different problems for example in fashion can change how the environment is affected drastically whether it’s a fluctuation of negative and positive extremes or even does the short term and long-term gains or losses due to fads and fashion. It is interesting that we all have a sense of certain definitions and take them all in a different ways. That not all of us think the same way or have the same idea of certain meanings. Even when the definition is explained, I feel like we definitely still interpret it in a certain way that not everyone can contemplate. I think this class has also taught us that we are compassionate towards others and towards wicked problems. Though we also think about others before us and that our mindset has changed over the years. Maybe this generation will be the generation that changes have we approached student situations and how can you approach them to be safe ineffective and earth-friendly over time. My progress personally towards this has honestly jumped pretty quickly into a more positive outlook on these things. To me, I’ve never really had this goal in mind for a very long time. However, I would say about a few years ago I really started thinking about how much I wish I could do for this earth and how much I could possibly change the outlook on how people feel and see about what we are doing to it and the negative ways we are destroying the earth. I don’t blame everything on us humans, however, I do feel like we do play a large role. This class has definitely reminded me of how I used to feel and has brought back a spark in me to come in and think of solutions. It also has reminded me that my solutions aren’t perfect and that no solution will ever be 100% perfect. Those are my thoughts.

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