A Selfish Ending

Mindfulness and paradigms; two things I’ve never thought much about, if any, before this class. The mindful meditation we did on Tuesday and Thursday really made me realize that I don’t take much time out of my day for myself and myself only. By doing these activities daily (or as many times as I can a week) my anxiety about little things throughout the day has decreased. I am very open about my struggle with anxiety and these exercises really allow me to dig deep within myself and let go of the chaos that is in my brain most of the time. Not only does being mindful help my anxiety, according to the reading this week it will also help my overall healthy in the long-term. Four main benefits are the increased ability to live in the present, compassion and empathy, clarity of one’s values, and the reduction of the hedonic treadmill or the need for material goods/income.

Much like week one, week two brought along many times where I asked myself “how am I contributing to these issues?”. A paradigm is a collective shared idea or assumption. For this week’s reading I was on the “yes” side, meaning I read the article arguing that globalization is good for the environment. However, I could not disagree with this article more. One main point the article made was that countries can out grow pollution problems using their wealth, although it is clear to me that this is not true in the slightest. I believe that the wealthier a society is, the less concerned they are with the well being of the environment around them and the more concerned they are with gaining more wealth. This goes along with the paradigm that we are separate from nature. Many people believe that the Earth is its own separate entity and we have no control over it. Honestly, I was kind of one of those people before being in this class. Turning a blind eye is not the answer to the issue at hand. Having faith in science and technology, another paradigm we discussed in class, is not the answer.

We are stuck in Goelker’s Tip of the Iceberg theory. The patterns we have developed over the years like not getting disposing of waste properly has led to events like this recurring everyday. There is little enforcement of environmental regulations because most big companies live under the paradigm that they will not be effected by these actions since nature is separate from us. This is one of the biggest wicked problems today; it is a chain reaction that could ultimately wipe us out.

People bring up questions like won’t the Earth balance itself out? Well if the human race is meant to die off, what can we do about it? How big of an impact can one person make? Won’t it take more than that? The answer to those is simple; we don’t know. What I do know is that it won’t hurt to try. Why risk our quality of life for something that we think might happen? “The world might end during my lifetime so if it gets trashed then so be it”. This philosophy is selfish. What if the Earth doesn’t end in our lifetime, but our children have to live with the effects of what we have done? Will they have to wear breathing masks when they go outside because we have emitted too much into the atmosphere? Possibly. Will they be living in an eternal Summer? Maybe. Will we know the answers until it is too late? No. But we do know that the Earth is in bad shape and we have to do something to combat it—for our safe and for future generations to come. The world is not separate from us, it is a part of us. The signs are as clear as day, now it is time to listen to what the Earth is telling us and save it.

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