Change Starts With Us

Over the course of these last four weeks, I can easily say that my views on wicked problems have drastically changed. In the beginning, I knew that there were serious sustainability issues engulfing our society, but I didn’t critically analyze them like I do now, solely because of this course. During the last week of the course, we touched on topics such as ways to move forward in our sustainability efforts as individuals and as a society, as well as dissecting this week’s reading which posed the question of ‘Does the Market Work Better Than Government at Transitioning to Sustainability?’.

At the beginning of this course, we watched the first half of a film called the 11thHourand on the last day, we finally got to see the rest of the movie. The main emphasis, the last part of the film presented, was ways to move forward in terms of our sustainability efforts. The filmmakers went in-depth about the different factors that made our society what it is today. They didn’t single out one specific entity that caused the wicked problems we face today, but instead looked at it as a whole. I found this to be really refreshing because, in my point of view, I see that the issues we face today were caused by a collected accumulation of materialism and greed between consumers, government, and industry sectors. All three of these sectors play a very important role in how we shape our society for the good or bad. So far, we have let our society accumulate increasing levels of waste and shape our perception of what’s really important. In the film, the filmmakers proposed some interesting solutions to our ever-increasing problems. In-regards-to governmental sustainable actions, the filmmakers proposed that we give incentives to companies that transition to renewable resources and to reduce income taxes, while raising energy usage taxes. This sounds like a viable solution, however, many of these oil and gas corporations influence the government heavily. As pointed out in Leo DiCaprio’s other film, Before the Flood. There is no doubt in my mind that many Americans are in favor of lowering the income tax but lobbying for an increase in energy usage taxes will have a hard time passing in congress especially when there’s big-time money backing politicians from these oil conglomerates. Like my old man always says, “If you want the truth. Follow the money”. The real reason why this idea hasn’t gotten any traction is simple, there is too much money at stake. Politicians love to receive sponsors and donations from big-time corporations, which in turn boosts their political relevance and recognition, but in order to keep those important backers they must look after the company’s best interests.

What it boils down to is the consumer and their habits. The consumer holds the greatest leveraging power in terms of drastically changing our society as long as we come together and believe in a common goal. As pointed out in the film, personal action is very important. Small, every day actions add up. If we, the consumer, become more aware of how we’re contributing to our unsustainable practices. We can slowly start to implement changes in our daily lives that steer more in the direction of sustainability. If we all take the pledge of building a more sustainable world and change our ways of consuming, we can ultimately force corporations into accepting pro-environmental standards in order to remain profitable. Corporations only care about their bottom line, so if we change as consumers, they have to implement pivotal changes in order to adapt to our new profound sustainable preferences. Since the government is highly influenced by corporations and corporations are greatly influenced by us, the consumers, we theoretically can start to see sustainability policies and environmental protection acts put into place. It all starts with us, if we can implement small changes in the way we consume products, we can trickle-up mass sustainable change.

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A Mindful Future

It is amazing how much of an eye opener Wicked Problems was for me. I have always been generally conscious about problems the Earth faces such as global warming, pollution, and recycling, but taking this course made me think about it on a broader spectrum. I feel like most of us are in a bubble. We wake up, go throughout our daily routines, and don’t pay much attention to things that don’t concern us. This class has made me remind myself to recycle paper and plastic, wonder where my trash is going, and how many people I could impact if I told them they should be mindful too. Our consumer culture isn’t slowing down anytime soon and neither are corporations fueling consumerism. I hope that all of us, given our career paths, will remember to be mindful in the future and become corporations that conserve energy and waste. Reflecting on the past four weeks amazes me to think that my whole perspective on the world has changed.

Not only has this class benefit me by being mindful about the Earth and wicked problems, but it has also taught me to be mindful for myself. I have gained a personal benefit by meditating and checking in on how I am feeling and perceiving the world around me. I have started to look inward and realize the potential that one person has. If all of us were mindful it would have an even greater impact. I’m excited as I think about my future and how I can impact the world, one decision at a time.

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Wicked problems and solutions.

Reflecting back on the past four weeks has made me realize that wicked problems do have a solution; and that is us. As people we need to be mindful and stop and think about what the major issues are in the world and how we should fix them. People tend to get wrapped up in their own small problems and don’t think about the big picture, but personally being mindful has taught me how to do that. I do believe it is possible to solve these wicked problems, but it takes time, effort and unfortunately finances. Finances seemed to be one of the biggest issues in solving problems for a sustainable world, we need funding to start it and keep it going. Business owners tend to put first how much profit they can make, not how good it is for the earth. Wouldn’t yo think that if the earth and people are healthy they will spend more money on your company? If a material is sustainable then more people will buy it, and thats so hard for me to understand that they don’t realize that. Companies need to change first, then I know the consumers will. Overall I have had so much fun with this class and appreciated everything Dr. Armstrong taught us. I have learned a new skill  of meditation and will spread the word on how important it is. If we can get the importance of mindfulness out there and show its importance there is a chance it could lead to wicked problems being solved. We need to make a difference even if it is the smallest thing; our earth needs change immediately.

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Who is in charge of the future?

All of mankind is charged with the responsibility to change their actions in order to create a sustainable earth for future generations to prosper in. Every one of us is responsible for creating and furthering wicked ecological problems leading to the degradation of the environment. Each type class of people holds a certain role contributing to the diminishment of the world we live in today.
All individuals in this world, no matter their demographic, social status, or place of living acts as a consumer. Whether its the consumption of a final product created from a long chain of manufacturing or simply extracting pure substances for basic needs. As a consumer, we need to be aware of the impact our consuming creates for this earth, in order to have a more mindful approach to the way we consume and reduce the amount. Consumers can choose to be more sustainable in many ways of which involve buying fewer products, and of those products, choose the ones that place the least amount of harm on the environment to produce. We can ask ourselves, is the object we are trying to obtain is worth the exhaust it causes our world?
Members of industry partners also have a call to be responsible for the sake of the environment. Designers can research new methods to create clothing from natural resources that are able to biodegrade once disposed of, narrowing the amount of waste created by the textile industry. In addition, research can be furthered to create substitutes for harsh chemical treatments and dyes placed on fabrics during the production and finishing processes to create a particular type of textile product. Replacement of these harsh substances with natural additives can drastically reduce the amount of pollution thrown into the environment. Players of the industry can also take charge by encouraging their employees and customers to implement sustainable lifestyle practices. Improving customer awareness of sustainability issues should also be part of the responsibility of each business associated with the industry. Production methods for each separate entity should be able to be accessed easily by the consumers so that they can have a better judgment of the type of product they are willing to purchase.
Government and its officials can also contribute to implementing a more sustainable future. By creating regulations to manage the level or type of toxins allocated to the environment by each company in the industry the government can diminish some environmental damage. However, these regulations or laws need to be strictly enforced and watched to ensure improvement. Controls can be used to help adjust companies tactics from being enviornmental detrimental to environmentally friendly.
Despite the different methods, individual consumers, designers, marketers, industry officials, and government leaders, all carry a responsibility to create a more sustainable society. It will take a collective movement of all these parties in order to heavily change the direction of the impact our population has on the environment. We hope that change will come soon, as to not destroy the world we all call home.
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Wicked Problems Could be Solved by a Wicked Solution

Reflecting on the past four weeks it is crazy to me to think how far I have come and how much I have learned in such a short period of time. Coming into Wicked Problems I wasn’t sure what to expect, as the class finishes I am left with so much to take away. Moving forward I am now aware of how the fashion industry plays a role in environmental degradation. I know that I can help play a role in the solution by being aware of what the repercussions of trend chasing on the environment. I will begin to look at which clothes will stay in style for more than just a month in order to make them last longer and live in a more sustainable way. I now realize that every purchase I make I am voting on whether or not I support the product. From gaining the perspective of “voting” for a product by purchasing, I realized that consumers could be the ultimate solution to the problem. If consumers stopped purchasing items AKA voted no, then producers would have to find a more sustainable way to produce in order for consumers to buy their products. Although consumers could play a large role in finding a solution it is also up to the industry and the government as I learned in the 11th Hour. If industries found a new energy source such as the sun then global warming could rapidly decrease. The way that the government could play a role in this mix is by being the ones to enforce the changes that need to be made in industries. If the government, industries, and consumers were on the same page then the world could truly be transformed, it just has to start somewhere. I truly believe it must start with the industries. Yes consumers could play a big role if they stopped buying products. Unfortunately there are products that consumer’s need that have no green option available that they aren’t going to be willing to go without. Also it would be very difficult for all customers of a store to agree that they will not buy a product due to environmental hazards it’s just unrealistic and most likely will never happen. As the video was saying a heart change must occur, people must realize their passion for a place. Until Industries gain this passion and love for planet earth they won’t acknowledge a need for change. This acknowledgement could truly be the start to a very impactful cycle and would be a very wicked solution.

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Emulating Ideas with Nature

Over the past four weeks I have learned an abundance of information that has been very eye opening for me. As I reflect on this time, there are several concepts that stand out to me and make me more aware of what exactly is occurring around me. I am more aware of the idea of being sustainable, being mindful, and also what we as a society need to change in order to live abundantly on this Earth.

I believe that the film, The 11th Hour, played a huge role in this learning experiencing for me. This film explores many wicked problems and the difficulty of these issues, and it starts to get into potential solutions toward the end. It also provided many aspects of sustainable design, one of them being biomimicry. I have heard of biomimicry before but never in this much depth. It is a fascinating concept that we as a planet must adopt and practice religiously in order to live more freely. Biomimicry is the act of designing things, like structures, to mimic nature. We shall build and design our structures in a way that is similar to how nature works, therefore it will cause a significantly less amount of damage to the planet, if any at all. An example of this would be designing a solar powered building that also changes its ways and functions when nature changes seasons in order to adapt fully to the environment. The film also suggested several other solutions toward the government, the industry, and to us as citizens. This is just as much of a leadership issue as it is an environmental issue and that is where the film is targeting the government. The government must take charge of its people and start making them pay. We as a society must shift the way that we act and live to demonstrate to the government and leaders that we do care about this issue occurring in our environment. It is important for us to be educated and get involved as much as possible in order to form solutions. It is absolutely vital that action must take place. With this being said, the last several minutes of the film truly provided me with a sense of hope and allowed me to believe that something could be done to save our environment.

It is clear that measures must be taken in order to find solutions to Earth’s most difficult problems, and none of this is possible without the coming together of humans. All levels must be involved when forming sustainable solutions and designs. We must show awareness, seriousness, and admiration for solving the detrimental issues occurring on our planet today. We must remember exactly where we came from and respect nature and all of its beauty. We have the brains and technology to form solutions for a better life and it is vital that we emulate them. We must recognize that nature is not an unlimited resource and we need to reintroduce a healthier planet.

This film allowed me to reevaluate my life and my actions and pinpoint exactly where my source of hope comes from through all of this. I would have to say that my source of hope for this world comes from my loved ones and the people in my life that mean the most to me. Each of these people are very intelligent and it is amazing to see them all use their brains in such different but creative ways. It is inspiring to have so many joyful, optimistic, and encouraging loved ones in my life. Without this, I would definitely not be where I am today and I would definitely not be near as inspired or motivated as I am. These humans are what give me hope for this earth and make me feel as if I truly have a purpose.

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Reflection of Our Wicked Ways

As this semester draws to a close, I am left with some lingering thoughts about the wicked problems of our world. We have many ecological problems threatening our world’s resources and no true solutions to fix these problems. There have been many failed attempts to reduce our carbon footprint, for a number of reasons. I believe that the main one being the world’s unified effort to help our Earth. After watching the 11th Hour documentary, I see that our world is not being treated how it should. I would think that seeing all the damage that we have caused our planet that we would be willing to do whatever it takes to help and preserve the environment’s natural resources. There are so many little things that we could do to minimize our ecological damage.

We have to start somewhere when thinking about the possible solutions and plans to help preserve our natural resources, it can be as simple as donating our clothes to choosing ceramic dishware over plastic to switching out your wasteful light bulbs. Every little bit helps and can make the world of difference when everyone is making an effort. Although, for industries to make this effort is a little more unrealistic. Industries could do things like recycling all paper products instead of shredding them or using a cooling/heating system that is solar powered. They could also redesign their company’s products to be more eco-friendly and sustainable. In addition, the government can create better incentives to dispose of waste in a proper manner and require more sustainable production. The downside to all of these ideas the time and money that will have to go into them to make them real and worthwhile.

The key to making an impact on our world is to work together. No one can do this on their own but everyone can make a difference, even if it is minuscule. As for myself, I am going to make the most conscious effort that I can to handle my own resources in the most efficient way possible. This will be my contribution to preserving the world’s most precious resources. Everyone can start by being mindful, just by limiting yourself to the things that are necessities. This is a sustainable practice that is free. I will continue to share this piece of advice to everyone I can.

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