Can Mindfulness Save the World?

This week in Wicked Problems, we began with a guest teaching us about mindfulness and meditation. After discussing it, we all gave it a shot. It felt somewhat silly at first, sitting there with my eyes shut, trying to observe and let my thoughts go. After we did it another time, I really tried to get into the moment and fully acknowledge my surroundings. I noticed the little things I typically ignore such as the near-silent sounds of the room and the barely-there smell of another’s perfume. I noticed the swirls of light through my eyelids and the feeling of my own clothes on my skin. It brought me to realize all the things I ignore in my day to day life and how we all are ignoring the fact we’re killing the earth in our day to day lives. Taking an extra-long shower seems to be relieving at the end of a rough day but now I’m realizing that I’m wasting clean water which is becoming less and less. Every time I start my car to go to work or to go home for the weekend I think about my consumption of gasoline and how soon we could be completely out of it. I’ve been ignoring all the little things I do that are contributing to the destruction. If more people became more mindful, maybe we could begin to preserve what we have left and possibly turn things around. If we realized the state of the world and were mindful, more people would care more. I believe that mindfulness could lead people to appreciate nature and the world around them more which could in turn lead to more sustainability and a better world for future generations.

The other thing we discussed in class this week is how globalization and sustainability relate. One side said that globalization is compatible with sustainability and the other side said that it is not compatible. I was on the “yes” side, although most of us disagreed. The “yes” article said that globalization would initially cause more pollution and harm but at a certain level would reach a turning point in which it would decline and cause an overall reduction of pollution. I personally think it’s ridiculous. I doubt the world could handle the pollution and destruction long enough to reach that turning point. It would reach a point of no return, if we haven’t already, in which we would rapidly decline. I think the world would begin to destroy humans before it reached the “turning point”. Hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, acid rain, etc. would worsen and become more frequent and wipe out mankind to rid the earth of its problem – humans. Globalization was originally building up mankind, but it is causing our downfall and, eventually, possibly our collapse.

My takeaway this week is to be more mindful of my surrounding and try my best to notice all of the small things that are contributing to our major wicked problems such as water supply, energy use, consumption of resources, and overall waste. If everyone did their best to be mindful, maybe we could make a difference. Maybe we could help reverse some of the damages from globalization. Maybe, if everyone was mindful and informed, we wouldn’t worry about future generations because we would make a difference in the world. How are we supposed to get there? Instead of worrying about celebrities and television shows, worry about the real-world issues. Begin informing everyone of the status of the world and encourage everyone to watch their actions. Limit usage of nonrenewable resources and limited resources and outlaw excessive consumption. Increase prices of goods based on how limited they truly are instead of just making them affordable. Maybe if there was a major change in the world and the views of humans overall, we could have a chance at making things better.

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