wicked problems in everyday life

Before coming into this class I had no idea what a “wicked problem” was. I have learned that a wicked problem is a problem that is almost impossible to resolve causing contradictions. No matter the amount of effort and time we put into trying to solve the issues, unfortunately, it will not happen. This idea can bounce back and forth, as some people may argue that it can in fact be solved, our society just thinks it is impossible.  The impact of wicked problems on our society is not talked about enough, which is one reason I enjoy this course because I love to dig deep into our society’s economic issues. Throughout the numerous discussions we have had in class it has truly opened my eyes up about how unsustainable our environment is. The reality of our world’s wicked problems is so devastating. As I see it, I believe the best way to go about it is to approach any situation in a mindful manner. Being aware of the definition of wicked problems has significantly changed my perspective on my everyday life, looking into the future and it makes a lot of sense that it correlates with my major, interior design. 

Throughout the 5 weeks of class, we have also learned how to practice mindfulness meditation. The long dreadful weeks leading up to the first week of this course were very challenging. This semester began to take a toll on me and caused me to get very overwhelmed and behind in classes. I just needed a second to recoup. I never could find an appropriate time or place to just take a second for myself, pause, reflect, and do a self-check. Until we were introduced and shown how to practice mindfulness meditation in class.  At first, I did not believe meditation in class would make a difference in my stress level if I’m being honest. After a couple of weeks of this practice, it really did start to make a difference. It calms me, helps me take a second to back up and organize my thoughts and move into the future with more confidence. It has been so effective that I actually placed meditation into my everyday schedule as a priority since it truly does make a difference. I think everyone needs to clear a 10-minute time frame into their everyday lives and meditate. Even if they don’t think they need it, in my opinion, I think it would make the world a better place as it would soothe and calm people, which we don’t have much of in this world. I think it would make a difference in the way we go about everything whether it’s just our everyday lives or our environment’s wicked problems. 

In my opinion, paying more attention to the now and present can help form a more sustainable environment. The little things go a long way, even if it doesn’t seem like it. A Lot of people don’t go about their day-to-day lives with a sustainable outlook on the world because they believe their one act will not make a difference, but in reality, one tiny thing is huge. Things like recycling, less vehicle travel, and conservation of water are small but make an entirely big difference in today’s society’s environment. I personally have taken the information I have learned in class into consideration. I have always recycled and tried my best to conserve water to my best ability but I have added more of the color green into my everyday life. I’m sure most college kids can say they walk a lot instead of driving, but personally, I have not driven more than 3 times since moving to Stillwater. That alone has probably saved me gas, money, and air pollution. Driving is something I enjoy doing so this has been kind of hard for me but I am trying my best to stay out of the driver’s seat and on my feet more. As a raging shopaholic, I have been paying closer attention to the labels on items and thinking twice about purchasing them based on if I think they will be sustainable to the environment or not. I have also tried to shop with eco-friendly shops and companies that focus on the importance of our environment. I have picked up a handful of environmental friendliness tactics but on top of that, my main focus is to rethink things and ask myself if it is or will be sustainable for our world. 

 In conclusion, wicked problems need to become a heavier topic. It is nothing to be brushed off and put to the side for later like our society is. I think this is because if it is not affecting the individual then it is not their problem, which needs to come to a stop in this situation. Our society is very diverse in many ways but one thing we all have in common is we all live on one earth, an earth that is slowly deteriorating and shutting down because of us. Why not all come together and do what we can to rebuild our world’s environment. Obviously, it will take time to rebuild the world but a shorter amount of time if we could all just come together for once for the one thing all humans have in common. Then again not everyone has to take this course to open up their minds and pound the wicked problem into their minds, in my opinion, this should be a required course. Mindfulness thinking puts your mind at ease to be able to approach this problem in a mindful manner and will forever be a part of my daily routine, only because of the knowledge consumed from this course. Like I mentioned, one little act goes such a long way. If all people came together as one no matter your class, age, race, or sexuality we could make it happen. I plan to spread the message to the best of my ability, stating the issue before it is too late, which is coming faster than we think.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Harsh Truth of Mindfulness

What is a wicked problem? They are problems that no matter the angle you choose to try and solve it, there is no solution, only more problems. No matter how hard one tries to solve a wicked problem, it simply cannot happen. These problems are typically severe, such as world hunger, housing crises, or even terrorism. These issues have been looked at from many directions and still continue to be prevalent in our lives. It does not matter how much funding is poured into finding solutions for these wicked problems, no answer comes to sight. To understand wicked problems means compassion. To be compassionate means to be mindful. Being mindful is the first step into finding solutions to the wicked problems of the world. This class, Wicked Problems of Industrial Design, is centered around finding this mindfulness in hopes that one day that the issues of the world, some of which I have listed above, can be solved and peace can be restored to the Earth once again. In class, we meditate, which is surprisingly very peaceful. I did not come into class with an open mind about it, but once we did it more and more, I began to genuinely enjoy it. It helps with mindfulness in multiple ways. Not only for large societal issues, but also it helped with my personal stress with my other classes. My first semester took a toll on me and having a time where I am zoned out really brings peace. This state of mindfulness is what it is going to have to take to solve the wicked problems of the world. Understanding myself I feel like is the first step of understanding life in general. Using meditation, I feel as if I am learning to understand myself more. It has helped me cope with the issues I have in my life, and those issues have been getting smaller and smaller since I have been in this class. I believe that everyone should take time out of their day for the sole purpose of self-reflection and creating a stronger sense of peace and mindfulness within themselves. That to me how wicked problems get solved. If people realized how fortunate they are to have a roof over their heads, food on the table, and people to confide in, all of the energy can be put into solving these wicked problems. Instead, greed takes over and people want more than they have, which in turn, created more and more issues, therefore creating more wicked problems. For example, I have been learning about urban slums, and how they are a wicked problem. The diverse culture of the urban slums makes it hard to pinpoint how to exactly tackle the issue, but my mindfulness and compassion are telling me that funding would be the first step to eliminating urban slums permanently. By doing that self-reflection I was talking about earlier, people can realize how fortunate they are in comparison to the people living in the slums., which would make them more likely to donate to the cause. However, my mindfulness helps me realize that money can only get someone or something so far in life. The other problems arise such as inflation, and inflation in third world countries is a big issue. The money raised could eventually be worthless and the wicked problem is back to square one. Another issue would be that people do not want to play their part of getting out of the urban slums. Like I said earlier, funding can only get something so far, so if the residents of the slums do not put the effort in to bettering their lives, the problem, is once again, back to square one. That was not very compassionate, I know, however it was mindful. Looking at every angle is essential in the case of mindfulness, and being realistic has to happen. That is the hard truth about wicked problems- you have to be realistic, yet compassionate. I believe that is why that they are so hard to solve. By having individuals solve their own miniscule problems (in the grand scheme of things), it makes these wicked problems of the world seem smaller and more apt to be solved. Another hard truth is that not many people work to fight against the wicked problems of the world, which in turn makes them harder to solve. People are selfish, almost by nature, and that is a leading factor of why people fail to be compassionate and mindful of others in a worse situation than themselves. They think that their life is so hard, however, most of those people have a roof over their heads, clean water, and food on the table. Their life is “hard” because they got a bad grade on a test or they got into a fight with their best friend, but some peoples life is hard because they do not know where their next meal is going to come from or how they are going to get clean water to drink. That is the harsh, truthful, and honest reality of life. To solve this, you have to find a way to be mindful. You can meditate, like we have learned in class, talk to someone you trust, or even reach out to different organizations that help people that are in fact less fortunate than you. Volunteer work would be a great way to see how hard life can actually be, not just failing a test. Seeing people of all of the different socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, and ages really opens the eyes of the beholder and goes to show that your life really is not that bad. What do we get in return of being mindful? Well, problems start disappearing, and the real problems of the world- the wicked problems of the world, start to become more clear and more solvable. By clearing your mind, you can begin the process of clearing the world of everything bad and restore peace to the earth.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Mindfulness Practices Effects on Life

Coming into this class I had no idea what a wicked problem was, nor did I fully understand how unsustainable the society and environment truly are. Wicked problems have a huge impact on this world and society. Discovering the reality of this world’s wicked problems and the seriousness of them is quite concerning. To fully understand the situation of a wicked problem it is critical to realize that there is no right or wrong answer or solution to the problem. In my opinion applying a mindful approach and practicing a form of daily meditation, the perspective I held on the world and wicked problems throughout my major has entirely changed. 

Paying attention to the present moment, as well as being mindful of how a wicked problem arose to this world and lack of discernment will help to prevent irreparable future harm. Including this idea of mindfulness meditation into my daily lifestyle at first it has felt very hard to “find time,” but now I realize I do this every night without even knowing or acknowledging right before bed. It is very therapeutic and eye opening to the fact that I needed to start being more open to different ideas or point of views that others might have. Towards the beginning of school and the start of interior design in my mind I thought we would only be dealing with furniture and walls but that is entirely untrue.There are numerous amounts of features to the interior design field that often go unnoticed. More often than not, the designers are aware of the problem but don’t care enough to find a solution and typically don’t account for the long term effects something they designed might have on this earth. 

Instead of overlooking these wicked problems now I can see and understand what is going on and how to make a design sustainable for the environment. Me being only one person I won’t have a huge effect on the environment but it is a step to becoming a better and more sustainable field of design. Involving mindful practice into my lifestyle it has allowed me to notice the reality of what our world has come to, which needs to have a change. Utilizing my new understanding it is clear to see that small changes in any field can set the bar for a greater future environment. These new thoughts and understandings have made me ponder the fact that these problems have been going on for years on end and all I knew about was the major problems like pollution. It is scary to think that there are wicked problems all over this earth that I can only now start to learn and understand. As well as looking for new ways of change to strive toward. In no way would I seek judgement to those who may be to blame, but I do feel it is time to take action and seek a change in this world. 

In my opinion we are greedy people who just simply exist in this world, we never take the time to think about the actions we are doing and what the consequences may be. In my next couple years learning about interior design my goal is to greater my knowledge of the issues we are facing, as well as looking for ways to solve these exact issues we face. I feel that we as humans need to be more appreciative of the resources we do have and that they need to be cherished. As far as design goes, practicing mindfulness has helped me to be more of a humble person towards my thoughts about the environment and the world we are currently living in. 

Beginning to be able to understand where all these different types of problems arose from has led me to perceive the true amounts of work it will take to turn this around. It is easy to see how businesses and big corporations have exploited the environment and local communities where they possibly live or don’t live. In the very few four classes that we have had for this class, I have been able to greater my knowledge in many different ways. If I am being honest many of the days I have been completely confused but by the end of class I have learned thousands of new things. Being able to organize my thoughts through mindfulness practice and meditation has eased my stress levels over the past couple of weeks. As well as being able to look more toward the bigger picture instead of nitpicking every little detail. I am still so far from fully understanding the concept of wicked problems and ways to solve them, but my vision is clearer to the fact that we are ruining this earth. The first day of class we watched a film called the 11th hour, this film was documentary describing the state of terror the world was in, I had no idea how bad it truly was so the film was very eye-opening to the fact that change was needed. 

In order to create a change in our industries, we will be required to understand the problems at hand and the possible problems we may face in the future. So far, throughout this course I have learned that there is not always one solution nor is a change of perspective needed. Instead more knowledge on the problem is needed to further your perspective. Before this class I had always believed there is only one correct solution, but now I am understanding the fact that there is an unknown amount of solutions for a specific problem. 

Taking into consideration everything that has been stated so far, within a short amount of time it is clear to see creating a sustainable world for the future, we must understand all aspects of design. Mindfulness practice has assisted my thought process by adding to my understanding of what wicked problems truly are and how we can create solutions to head toward a more sustainable lifestyle. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Understanding What is Wicked

When I first enrolled in Wicked Problems, I did not have any knowledge of what it was or what we would be learning. When I heard the term “wicked problems”, I never figured that we would be talking about real life issues that are borderline impossible to solve. I also did not understand why this would be an important class to be involved in because it seemed completely different from the classes I am taking for my major. The first day of class really opened my eyes on what wicked problems are and why this class is so crucial to participate in. It is because the careers that we are wanting to pursue are a part of the problem with our perishing environment. These industries play a big part in damaging the earth and continue to be partly responsible for the way our home is today. I now understand the significance of this class, it is to inform us of what is really going on and to teach younger generations of people to do better and to be smarter with how they do things and how to use the resources we have efficiently. 

Learning about wicked problems and becoming more aware of what is happening has been a huge awakening. I always knew the seriousness of these worldwide issues but sometimes I forget to stop and think about them and what I could do to help. I know that many people care about these issues too but they don’t do anything about it and I unfortunately have to say that I have caught myself being part of the problem and not doing anything to help either. This class has served as a motivation for me to really think about these problematic occurrences and truly begin to do what I can to help weaken these wicked problems. I definitely approach wicked problems from a more emotional standpoint. My newfound knowledge and heartbreak for our world’s current state allows me to fully acknowledge what is happening and it pushes me to want to learn more and start talking more about it with others. My awareness started to progress further when we watched The 11th Hour. It was devastating to see what was happening and made me wonder if we will be in existence in the future or if we will fade away like the humans did on Easter Island. It is scary to face these issues and I know that that is what I have been doing for a long time, but now I have realized that these problems will not go away and eventually, I will be a part of an interior design industry that could either contribute to the awful goings of our earth or be a part of one that does everything in its power to improve and repair our damaged environment by doing our work with more efficient and safe resources. I have had the opportunity to think about these things too, especially with a new project I am working on with other classmates that have the same career interest as I do. We get to research human welfare and the built environment. I never stopped to realize that the resources we use to design our homes and different kinds of buildings could potentially be toxic to the environment. I started thinking why we would even begin to use certain products if they could permanently damage the world around us. I am intrigued with this assignment and I hope that I can learn more about other resources that are more environmentally friendly. It is time for me to go into this class and approach wicked problems with a clear mind and a judgement-free headspace to fully understand what I am learning in order to be able to positively contribute to our world.

This class has also introduced me to new experiences practicing daily mindfulness meditation. The thought of meditation was not extremely appealing to me at first just because it seemed a little hopeless. I did not understand the importance of it but then we talked more about it in class and I began to realize that it might actually help after all. I struggled with it in the beginning because of how easy it is to get distracted and think about other things instead of just being in the present and staying calm as well as relaxed. The more I practiced it, the more I actually liked meditating. I learned that it can benefit people who deal with wicked problems in the long run which was so interesting to me. Having daily mindfulness allows me to put my mind at peace, it helps me center myself and be able to concentrate better. Normally, thinking about wicked problems is quite overwhelming because these issues are bigger than anything I have ever known and it is easy to get lost with all of these thoughts and worries. With mindfulness, I am able to think about them with a more peaceful mindset and know that it will take time to make a difference. I believe that practicing mindfulness everyday and incorporating it into our lives will help people come together and connect better. I feel that without it, it could prove very difficult for people to see eye to eye on these issues and approach them in a positive way. I am glad that my attention has been brought to this practice. It overall helps me be a better person and it benefits me in class with my studies. The world is always moving and it does not wait for anything or anyone. I think that is why this practice is so important because the more we use it in our daily lives, the faster we could really make a difference. I believe that I sort of always had a humble outlook on these tremendous issues but now that I have learned a lot more and have had conversations about wicked problems with other people, I for sure can say that I am more compassionate about it. My perception has significantly changed for the better and now I can use what I know for good and continue to treat our world with compassion and love. These wicked problems could ruin us but I have faith that with slow but progressive steps, humanity will come together and we will build a more sustainable future for the world we live in. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Daily Mindfulness Can Go A Long Way

In this course, being mindful about my learning has shown me a lot about my anxiety, stress, focus issues, spiritual needs, and so much more about myself and the world around me in the now. I have become more compassionately curious to my own thoughts, feelings, and emotions. As I have been mindfully meditating in class, at my dorm, and anytime I begin to start feeling stressed, I have been more attentive to what is going on inside my head and how my body feels. I start to focus on how each foot feels on the ground to how I sit comfortably in my chair and even to how my hands lay gently on my thighs. Before being in Wicked Problems, I have honestly never meditated before, so it was new to me and a new feeling.  It has made me more relaxed and ready to learn other kinds of mindfulness meditations. We have learned numerous of ways to meditate and all of them can work and help me in my day-to-day life experiences. Sitting there peacefully helps me relax, as long as it does not make me relax so much to where I fall asleep. Unfortunately, the meditation would make me feel tired and almost fall asleep half the time, but when it did not, it was still very relaxing, calming, and put me in a better mindset for the rest of my day. If I was too relaxed, I would not be able to focus in class and only think about sleeping. Not only that, but throughout the period of the ten-minute meditation, I focus my thoughts on what is happening now and how I feel personally, rather than the future or anything that is happening around me. At first, it was challenging to focus on the now rather than the future, but the more I practiced, the easier it got to focus on what was happening at that exact moment. So much is happening around me and in the world in that moment. If I started to think about my schedule, my next class, what grade I got on my project, or even what I will have for dinner, I would lose the feeling and thoughts of now and would have to refocus my brain over. This happened quite often in the beginning, but the more practice I did, the easier it got to stay focused. In fact, not only did it make it easier to focus, it made me want to meditate more to be more in the moment. Being in a state of worry always seems to come when I think about the future, but if I was more in the moment and only took one step on the time, I would be in a state of relief from stress. After meditation and practicing mindfully, it allows me to see more about what is happening in the world and to be humbler about it. Because I am at peace with things and compassionately curious, it lets me see more views on the world without the stress and anxiety about what is happening. In fact, it makes me even more curious. As I am curious about my body and how it feels, it makes it to where I want to see how others feel and how the world feels. Mindfulness allows me to be more open to the wicked problems happening today and search for ideas to help. It gave me a new perspective and allows me to think more positive about finding ways to stop these issues. In mindfulness, I started to do the label meditation. When I started to think about other things rather than the moment, I would say thoughts in my head. Labeling what is happening helps me reevaluate what is happening and refocus to the moment I am in. The first time I heard about label meditation, I was very curious to see what it was about and to see if it could help more. It was weird at first, randomly labeling my thoughts in my head, but it helped me focus more. Since I started meditating daily, I have noticed this to increase my attention span, help improve my sleep cycle, make me more compassionate and caring towards the people around me, and has overall helped my wellbeing. I have added this type of meditation to my daily routine, and I have reaped the benefits because of it.

My learning process has always changed throughout my life. I never really had a set process or way to do things until college. I would always procrastinate and worry about the future. My work would take me much longer than it should have, and nothing seemed to help me. It was so much of a challenge that my grades would start to struggle, and I would need to find a tutor. Now that I have taken this course and been on my own for a while, meditation has helped me grow and focus on the now. I am more focused on my homework, activities, responsibilities, and what is at hand. The process of doing homework has gotten much quicker and more efficient. My grades have improved exceedingly since I have started this mindful meditation practice. There are not as many distractions as there used to be, as well. Even if I have a lot to do in school and life, I try to meditate before starting so I will not be as stressed or anxious. Being mindful in my meditation and more compassionately curious about my thoughts, feelings, and emotions has allowed me to be a better student and person. My anxiety goes away, for the most part, and puts me in a better mood to do all my other activities and responsibilities. I have become more positive, in fact. This had made me a more proactive and productive then I was in high school and throughout the rest of my early life. Because of this daily practice, I feel more physically, spiritually, and mentally well. Not only has daily mindfulness practice helped and changed me but challenged me. Change is always hard for me, so it is not easy for me to add meditation to my daily schedule. I like things to be organized and the way I like it. I never want to truly add something unless I am trying to change who I am or I live in a different place/go to a different school. I need a completely different setting. When I added something onto my schedule, it took some getting used to. I often dreaded the fact that I had to do it because I did not think it would help me in being compassionately curious about myself. Once I began to make it more of a habit, I realized how much I changed mentally, spiritually, and even physically. Challenges may seem hard but making it a habit can help a lot. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Wicked problems versus me

I am a very open-minded person and always willing to challenge myself with new things. I always have questions in my mind about everything that happens in life. Sometimes, I think about what people on the other side of the world are doing, thinking, how is their day, and are they enjoying their life right now? That was my premise to begin to explore the good as well as the bad things that are happening on our earth. And the problem is, although we are living on a beautiful earth, everything is provided for free by mother nature. But with our greedy selves, we have destroyed the environment badly. I am quite disappointed in humans, and myself in particular. But things slowly changed in my mind since I started taking Wicked Problems class. In the past, I did not fully understand the purpose and why this subject was included in my major. But after a while, I realized it was essential for me and my classmates.

On the first days of class, I was taught meditation and mindfulness practice. I have heard and seen many people talk about this, but never really tried it myself. I still remember the first class, and vividly remember the image in my mind when I heard the bell ring during practice. It reminds me of a garden full of trees, flowers, and a small stream appearing. It is an image from my childhood that I consider peaceful. It’s been a long time since I saw that image in my mind. Pulling myself back to the present moment for a few seconds, I let my mind wander, then remembered to bring myself back to the present again. It is hard to practice mindfulness. After that session, I tried to push myself to practice for another ten minutes a couple of days later. In the next class, it’s a breathing lesson. It was the official day I understood how to meditate better. Sometimes while walking on the street, I suddenly realize that I am practicing breathing with my belly instead of my chest. It made me happy because I started to think about myself more. And just like that, I am more and more convinced why we need to put our minds at ease when solving a problem. It is not just only a benefit of this class, but mindfulness helps me to learn better in other classes too. I get to focus better in class, and at home, my study session is more effective. I get to learn how to be humble in my opinions. In small discussions between my friends and me, I tend to slow down on my thoughts, comprehend my arguments before actually saying them out loud. Blindly arguing and assuming that I am right in a conversation is selfish, so I try my best to stay away from it. 

A journey to becoming mindful is tough, yet I am still in a learning process right now. I will try my best to keep track of my ten minutes of practice every day. Learn how to breathe, and keep my mind as peaceful as I could. Learning how to be humble in my thoughts and opinions is also what I need to improve every day. I talked with my friends about the class, and actually convey the concept to them. In the future, I will persuade my friends to learn how to do meditate every day and help them to understand their bodies and mind while I learn about mine as well. It is something that I used to ignore, now, I just cannot wait to go home and practice mindfulness.

I began to see things more objectively about everything around me rather than emotionally. Although there are dilemmas, such as the environment and the economy that I used to get angry and annoyed when I heard about. However, after I started to understand more about compassion and understand the wicked problem better, I realized that we need better solutions, rather than finding the ultimate right solutions, because of course, that is hard to accomplish. For example, plastic straws, instead of us using plastic straws we can instead use paper straws, rice, or better yet, reusable straws. Although we have a solution to reduce plastic straws, I still see many brands selling plastic products such as straws, knives, forks, and plates in the market. Considering the truth is that we cannot impart knowledge to everyone if they do not want to be imparted. I am trying my best and doing my duty to help the environment become a better place, and I believe there are many people with me in protecting this earth. 

In the Interior Design industry, we do have some wicked problems as well. Buying duplicate and fake products that copy the original ideas are one of the wicked problems currently happening in the industry. As I learn how to be compassionate and sympathetic about the problem, I tried to look at a different perspective instead of just one. It might be the result of people wanting to get the same aesthetic but did not being willing to pay for the high amount of money while they can have the same outcomes. It can be considered as affordable as well. 

Through this class, I realized that we as a human will make mistakes and the key thing to take away from it was forgiveness and we need to learn how to move on. Furthermore, our body, mind, and imagination can work more effectively. That will help us see problems and identify new directions faster, more positive, and more effective. Being humble about our solutions and listening to others is a great way to learn and master wicked problems. It will help us to see the problem from many perspectives and benefit us with a better solution. In my opinion, letting go of worries from the past and learning from our mistakes will make us more compassionate and humble. On the other hand, practicing mindfulness will guide us to come up with wiser, equal solutions. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

The abnormal “normal”

The discussions in this class have led me to become more passionate about how we, as a society, make an impact on the environment that surrounds us and provides us with the resources we need to survive. When I take a second to reflect on the impact that I have made on the environment, I know that even though I consciously tried to keep my waste production as little waste as I could, I still could have done better. It is so difficult to go without using something that is disposable in the world that we live in today. This class has really put it in a whole new perspective for me to realize how much of a problem this is and how it needs to be fixed as soon as possible. When you just think about it as the corporation’s fault for not trying hard enough to fix the waste problem, it becomes easier for you to carry on throughout your day without feeling any guilt. However, this class brought to my attention that we live in an economically driven society rather than just being focused on what’s actually important. When you think about the log industry and how it is causing deforestation it becomes pretty easy to decide that it should be solved by stopping the production of cutting down trees, but you don’t think about how many jobs will be lost and how we will recuperate without any paper products. Vast amounts of money will have to go into research on how to replace the need for lumber.  

Every wicked problem that we have covered so far has left me thinking about how I can make a difference by making responsible choices through my daily life. I may not be able to stop deforestation or end world hunger, but I can shop more responsibly by doing things such as bringing my own grocery bags, or buying food products in recyclable packaging, or even biodegradable packaging. It may not seem like a lot on its own, but every little thing counts, especially considering there are 7 billion people who live on this planet and the more people that contribute, the better off we may be in the future. I can remember a time when I was little, and I was trying to catch some small fish in a stream while sitting on a big rock in the middle. They started to swim a tad bit too far out of my reach and the plastic cup I was holding fell out of my hands and the current of the stream swept it away. I instantly felt terrible and could not stop thinking about how I had just littered, but my mother reassured me that it was merely an accident, and I should not feel guilty about it. I think about that memory when I look back on how I treat the world today and how much waste I produce now compared to that one plastic cup I lost in the stream. How could I feel so guilty about that incident when I don’t think about how I live in the present? The notion that what we are currently doing is normal has become so imbedded into our mindset as something that is just merely part of how we live, and we don’t think about how much of a problem it actually is. How we are living has become so standard to all of us because it is just brushed off as how we get through the day when all our focus is instead put towards money and success, but none of that truly matters when our environment that we need in order to live is slowly becoming less habitable.  

Currently, I try to avoid plastic items that are not recyclable, especially straws, and I collect my plastic grocery bags to recycle them at Target because they have recycle bins specifically for plastic grocery bags. Even though I grew up in the country and we don’t have trucks who come pick up recycles, my family has collected their recycles and taken them to that city about once a month for as long as I can remember. I know that we are some of the few that live there and take the time to do this so I am hoping that maybe one day this service will become a free incentive that is funded by the government in order to promote more people to take part because you might as well if you are given a recycle can to put them in and someone who picks it up just like your trash. Yes, I could sit here and type about how these people could be considered selfish for not taking action, but that is why this is a wicked problem, because there will always be someone on the other side of the argument. So instead, I will think about how we can provide this service in a more accessible way rather than trying to provide an incentive for going out of their way. There have been discussions about how we could get more people to recycle by giving them rewards but I don’t think that people will do anything they don’t want to in order to receive a small incentive, however, if it is just a as easy for them to recycle rather than disposing their waste in the trash, then they will all most likely choose the better option to recycle and then feel a slight feeling of content with how they made their decision.  

Personally, I believe it would vastly benefit our future of sustainability if we required more students to take a short class on this topic. Everyone should be exposed to reality, that is how we recognize what is normal to us is what needs to be fixed. We can’t expect to go tear down large corporations for their pollution until the little things in our daily habits change first. The companies causing waste are perceived as the Goliath of our story but really, it’s the impact that 7 billion people have on our planet. Our resources are not meant to supply what is needed for all of humanity, so we mass produce what we can’t naturally get. Until we fix our habits and how we as humankind make an impact, we can’t truly change what needs to happen in order to prevent our environment from shutting down, and it needs to happen before it becomes too late.  

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Wicked Problems Need A Rad Mindset

When someone says the word wicked, many people think about it as a throwback slang word. The words rad, groovy or totally may pop into mind. Others may think of its actual definition, which is evil. We live in a wicked world with wicked problems. And as cool as we may want it to sound, it is not the case. Wicked problems are problems that have many interdependent factors, which make the problems seem to be impossible to solve. The film The 11th Hour, talk about a few of these problems. It discussed and showed the impacts made by wicked problems like throwaway culture, population growth, and deforestation. All of these are wicked problems, that made me feel overwhelmed. Before watching the film, I already had an idea of what was wrong in our world. I knew that there was a problem with throwaway culture and how it was impacting companies, economies, consumers and workers. I, myself, realized that I was guilty of it, but did not know how to change my habits and mindset. Through the first weeks of this my class Wicked Problems of the Industrial World, I learned that the first step to finding a solution is to simply understand the problem. That thought sounds big and scary. Grasping the concept and understanding a problem that effects an entire planet seems like such a big feat. After watching The 11th Hour, I went home feeling very overwhelmed. I saw the wicked problem in a way that placed blame on the world as a whole and myself. I questioned why anybody would let it get that bad and why I, myself, would let it get that bad. This was my first  mistake in understanding a wicked problem. When going about understanding a wicked problem, one must have an open mind and compassionate curiosity about the topic. Compassionate curiosity was a term I had never heard before. I learned that it is just being able to learn and gather more information about something without having judgement while simultaneously identifying how it could be affected or feel (when talking about a person). Personally, this definition felt very similar to the definition of humility. I also struggled with the concept of humility when I first came across it; so it seems fitting I also struggled with compassionate curiosity. Having humility taught me that I am not always right, and I will make mistakes. But I have to use those mistakes to better myself and my work. So I have started making progress in understanding wicked problems by combining humility with compassionate curiosity. I changed my mindset to a new mindset; one where I see myself as though I am not always right, and that everyone else will not always be right as well. We all make mistakes, but we all need to use those mistakes as learning opportunities to better ourselves, our thinking, our responses, and our work. This new mindset has greatly impacted my progress of understanding wicked problems in a beneficial way. I feel like since having this realization, I have been able to take a step back and become more empathetic of others. Another way I have worked on my compassionate curiosity is mindfulness practice. In class we have been learning about different mindfulness practice methods. My favorite method is just simply identifying what is going on in my head, whether that be thinking, making up scenarios, or how I am feeling. This has given me the ability to validate what I was thinking or feeling, but then taking those impulsive thoughts and feelings and recognizing they are not going to define me. This has really given me the chance to learn how to ground myself, my thinking and my responses.  By being able to identify what is happening in my head, labeling them, and then grounding myself has opened my eyes. I realized through this mindful practice method that I was closed minded, overthinking and getting worked up a lot more than I needed to be. Being able to ground myself, showed me that I am able to look at situations and feelings more than once. Taking a step back from my impulsive thoughts and responses allowed me to approach them in a new way. This lead to a new awareness that I need to separate myself from my impulsive thoughts to create a kinder, more compassionate and humble response. This new awareness has helped me foster a new outlook, not only on wicked problems, but also in my everyday encounters. By using mindfulness practices, I am able to give myself many different ways to separate myself from situations I come in contact with. This process of grounding myself and my thinking has given me an open mind. An open mind where I am able to see situations from a different, more caring, perspective. With this new perspective I feel like I have become more humble in my thinking and understanding. I have been able to see that my thinking is not always right and I do not always have the best responses to things. This new perspective is a great start to being able to come up with compassionate responses to these wicked problems we are faced with. I have learned that our responses to problems will not always be right and will not always work the way we intended them to work. So being able to step back, recognize that this is okay and inevitable, has help my progress in finding a response to these problems. I have been able to have healthy and communicative conversations about how I would like to see a change. Being able to talk about, understand, and humbly talk with others about their response ideas has changed my perspective on these issues. I now see that others want to see a change, and that those same people are making mistakes in those responses. However, I can now see they are not all making the same mistakes. These different mistakes can lead to finding better solutions to wicked problems. These first five weeks of this course has been so incredibly beneficial for me and my mindset. In just learning about wicked problems and how to understand and respond to them, I have been able to change my perspective. My perspective has changed to one that is strengthening my relationships and connections with people, but it has also increased something. It has increased my passion to make a difference in the world. I now, more than ever, want to have hard conversations about wicked problems and find a solution to those problems. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Growth Through Sustainability

Learning about the topics in this class has made me more compassionately curious about what is happening around me. When I take a step back and put myself in the problem it makes me realize how big of an impact the problems could make in my life or even the effect they are having on my life without me knowing it.I have realized how big of an impact we as humans have on our world and society. Evaluating wicked problems has made me feel guilty because I may be part of the problem and I did not know til now or still not know it. Each wicked problem we have learned about has left me wanting to learn more about it and what I can do to help if there is any way to help. I tend to think of myself as a sensitive person and knowing these problems take place around me that are considered wicked problems makes me feel empathy and sorrow for the people involved. After being able to achieve daily mindfulness, it has made me more aware of my place in society and the impact of my decisions. Not only my place within my everyday life but my place within the wicked problems; I now realize that my everyday life may contribute to wicked problems because of my mindfulness practice. 

As I grew up I was always fascinated by the ocean and at a young age I would look up articles and read many things about the ocean. In elementary school I was aware of the effects humans had on the ocean. I even was a part of the no straw trend starting my freshman year of highschool- and honestly I am still a part of the no straw trend due to the fact that straws end up in turtles’ noses and cause them to die. Due to my love of the ocean I love watching shark week and one of the people on shark week was Paul Degelder. After shark week I followed him on his instagram and he was raving about the documentary he was a part of: Seaspiracy. I decided to watch seaspiracy and learned the many other effects humans have on the ocean and the after effects of commercial fishing by humans. I felt ignorant about not knowing about a major impact on the ocean after all those years of looking up information on the ocean. I had discovered a new wicked problem in my eyes before even knowing what a wicked problem was. After watching more into the documentary I realized that fishing nets get left in the ocean-purposely- by commercial fishermen and the nets wrap around fish and kill millions of sea creatures every year. Commercial fishermen are responsible for taking far too many fish out of the ocean and when they accidentally catch another animal besides a fish, say a dolphin, they leave it on board to die and then throw it back in the ocean. I also learned that I was oblivious to the great pacific garbage patch. I felt baffled that I didn’t know about most of these facts and that I also did not know that the main source of trash in the garbage patch was fishing nets. I thought how could people be so selfish and rude? What makes people want to willingly kill an animal or willingly leave a fishing net in the ocean. The information I learned sat with me because of my love for the ocean. After practicing mindfulness in class I focused on my place in the world. I have concluded with even the little time I have had in class and the little time I have been practicing mindfulness that I can use my love for the ocean and my scuba diving skills to make an impact on this problem. 

In class I was very hesitant to the idea of practicing mindfulness. I thought that it was unnecessary and weird to be honest. Fear of judgement and fear of people looking at me made me not able to achieve my thoughts.I would sit in class and try to just look around or sometimes would even take a quick power nap. Once I gave it a slim chance in class one day I realized it truly was a good way to reflect on my thoughts. I then set the idea aside for a few weeks during homecoming because I was simply too busy. Just recently I came back to the idea. The Monday after homecoming before winding down for bed I took time to practice mindfulness but It was very hard for me to concentrate because my roommates are constantly having people over and being loud. I concluded night time was not the right time to practice mindfulness. I then thought to try one morning that same week because all my roommates were asleep and I had time before my class started. Starting my day with mindfulness practice allowed me to be more open about others opinions and think about qualities in myself. I started making time every morning for mindfulness practice and made it a routine. I have seen myself change for the better because I have the ability to take a step back and look at problems as a whole and not just what goes on in my life. Mindfulness has affected my mind because I can take into account many different ideas and perspectives from a broader view. Mindfulness has affected me emotionally because evaluating problems has made me emotionally attached to them. Mindfulness has also made me less stressed. That being said, I definitely have anxiety. I overthink everything and constantly have the feeling something else needs to be done besides what I am doing right now. With mindfulness it has made my body less tense and stressed because mindfulness focuses on breathing and being present in the moment. With the information I have learned in this class I can inform others of my daily meditation practices and how it has made me reflect on wicked problems in the world hoping they will do the same.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment