The Poor and Me

The overall main theme for this past week that got through to me was poverty and their importance in sustainability.  The poor do not necessarily cause environmental degradation, however, they are surrounded by it.  They are living in the middle of the problems that we are trying to fix.  While the blame does not rest wholly on the poor, they have a lot of opportunities to help fix the problems.

Going into this I already know a lot about the poor. While I grew up privileged, it was not the same for the rest of my family.  My grandfather had to drop out of school when he was in the 6th grade, so he could go to work on a farm to provide for the rest of his family.  He knows what it takes to work hard, and to do whatever it takes to make money to feed his family.  As a farmer even to this day though, he knows also how his work degrades the environment.  As his only granddaughter, he listens to me closely, because I am kind of his favorite.  Growing up I was a vegetarian, and this mystified him.  He did not understand why I would be limiting my options for food on purpose.  He knows that it was important to me though, and he listened.  Even though he is not an animal farmer, he knew how I felt about pesticides, and has been implementing more of an organic approach to his own farm.  Once I told him all the harmful effects that pesticides have on the world as a whole, he has been more encouraged to do it for more than just me.  He not only wants to help other people, he thinks it tastes better that way anyways.

As a future interior designer the poor have a close relationship to me.  They are the people who will be making the products that I want to sell.  Interior designers rely on them to help us.  We need them.  Without people to make our products, we have nothing physical to sell.  This is why it is imperative to work with them.  We all want the world to be a better place, and to do that we need to work with each other.  Not only as boss and employee, but as peers.  We need to see their side of the story, to improve and make changes.

When looking to the future we need to invest in the poor.  They are the most important people in the mix of fixing these wicked problems.  They know what is happening on the local level.  We see different things, but want the same goals.  We need to give more rights to poor people when it comes to fixing environmental degradation.  Those living in poverty are not lesser than other human beings.  Their ideas are just as important as anyone else’s.  We need their ideas.  When refining and improving our objectives we will need the people on the front line to tell us how to do that.  While there will be many issues that arise, we need everyone’s thoughts and ideas working together.

We should give more opportunities to the poor.  We should be giving jobs that involve fixing the wicked problems on the local level to those who are living in poverty.  We need to educate them on how to fix them, but from their they should take the reins.  They are the most important people involved, because they are the ones who are living in the worst conditions.  They know what is going on, and are not stupid.

The responsibility of these problems lie on the government, the people, and those living in the worst conditions.  We need to come at the problems from all sides to attack it.  However, those living in the worst conditions know what’s going on, they just need help and more reason to fix it.  We should trust that the poor will continue on the path to goodness, but everyone is human and has greed.  With the help of each other we can keep each other in check.  The responsibility should not lie with just one person, otherwise it can be overwhelming and could become dictated.  We need to work together from all sides.  We all need to stay on track.

Instead of looking at who will help fix the problems as us vs them, we need to look at it as all of us.  We need to be a collective.  We need rely on each other.  These are OUR problems, not just a certain group of people’s problems.  We are a group, and we need all of each other. We need to start thinking of ourselves like this, including myself.

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