Mindfulness and Sustainability

Mindfulness is something that I think we all should try to work on. We should be mindful of our impact on the environment and our impact on other people. When walking to class, one cannot help but see people who are absorbed in their phones. When going to eat, you can see people that are more interested in their phones than the people they are with. In an effort to change this, I often put my phone in my backpack or down on my seat. In doing this I force myself to talk to others or enjoy the weather. When we start to be mindful we can start to become better people. Marc Cohen’s TED talk mentions that as humans we continually strive to find happiness and in doing so try to find wellness. He also mentioned that if one is in crisis then wellness is also in crisis. The Mindfulness and Sustainability reading also touched on this. It mentions that having mindfulness positively affects well-being. To be mindful one does tries to change their reactions and how they relate to thoughts or feelings. If we can start to change the way we ourselves think and react then we can help ourselves become more mindful. With this we can start to impact how others react and think too. In the second reading, it mentions that in an effort to become more sustainable and mindful we also need to have a balance of income and regulations. Regulations can help us have a healthier environment, but too many regulations can also hurt it. We have to keep the right balance on the Environmental Kuznets Curve.

My investigative report relates to mindfulness and sustainability. As designers, we need to be aware of the life cycle of our spaces. If we design spaces that need to be updated in five years then we have to think about how those materials and furniture will be recycled or thrown away. If our materials end up in a land fill then we need to make a conscious effort to specify materials that are sustainable and that will meet the needs of the client. This is an issue that many people try to ignore and in doing so they continue to contribute to the problem. This is the titanic syndrome. If we can change our self-narrative to re-look at the sustainability issue and become more mindful then we can start to influence change. This change can conflict the dominant paradigm of the time, but it can be a change that is needed. The dominant paradigm is: if the world truly is not environmentally safe then can we as one person make a change? This proves to be a wicked problem because there many views on sustainability if it is needed. There also are many ways that we can choose to become more sustainable. But, if we can become more mindful of the materials that we are using and the means of transporting and maintaining them then we can start to help the environment.

The responsibility mapping and wildest thing activity showed me how we can look at this problem. While chopping hands off as punishment for breaking rules is pretty extreme, we can start to look at solutions. This shows that sometimes it is the most extreme solution to a problem that may be the best solution. This exercise showed me how I can push myself to think of an “out of the box” solution. With growing up, we often are told that we need to “take things seriously” and we can sometimes incapacitate ourselves and how we think creatively. This way of thinking can even help us become more mindful. If we acknowledge the challenges in life then we can think of solutions.

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