Ways Mindfulness can help achieve sustainability
How I view it, mindfulness is a psychological process of bringing one’s attention to what is happening around at the present moment. It is about having a kind, non-judgmental awareness that could help to relate us, those around us and our environment with compassion. It can be developed through meditation, or other contemplative practices such as yoga or deep listening. These practices help in the person’s wellness such as improves brain performance, alleviate stress, curtail anxiety, increase compassion and overall promote a healthier lifestyle and positive way of thinking and the person becomes more open to change.
Wellness is what Marc Cohen talked about in his Ted talk, “Wellness, Mindfulness and Sustainability”, where he emphasizes on the importance of wellness. The talk helps us in understanding how necessary it actually becomes for a person to work on themselves and lead a life that’s more balanced in terms of work, personal care and happiness, because if you can change yourself, you hold the power to change the world and bring about the desired changes in yourself or lifestyle that can help others and the environment.
The same idea of how mindfulness leading to well-being promotes sustainability, is what I understood by reading the “Mindfulness and Sustainability” excerpt. It introduced me to the loving-kindness meditation that aims to evoke positive emotions more directly and is used to increase feelings of warmth and care for self and others, thereby promoting personal well-being and it is only when one’s basic needs are fulfilled that caring for environment would not be looked upon as a luxury problem. Teaches how mindfulness and person’s increased awareness of their own life can reduce cognitive and emotional habits and give way to a more flexible and objectively informed lifestyle where our decisions matter in how they would affect us and the world around, eventually leading to actions that would help sustainability.
But is sustainability really being promoted by the western values, well there seems to be debate on that. One researcher agrees claiming globalization is a basic part of solution of the global problems that the world faces whereas, those who go against, blame consumer culture introduced by the west the reason that lead to the global culture of excess and has emerged as the biggest threat to the planet. This study actually makes one wonder what the real reason could actually be or rather than blaming certain aspects of the society, we really need to work on promoting sustainability on individual level because where some would agree with the functioning of the society, there would another side disagreeing with it, making it difficult for a mutual consensus to be reached.
Is consumption of resources the biggest problem, well Leyla Acaroglu in her talk, “Paper beats Plastic? How to rethink environmental folklore” talks about how consumption could be the biggest problem, but design is the best solution, presenting with the simplest example of how a paper bag which we consider to be more environmental friendly generally, but to make it as strong as a plastic bag we need to use 4 times more paper, so when it ends up in a landfill, it would produce more methane as compared to a plastic bag. The talk makes us realize how the design of a good could actually help in making it more efficient in use and also making less harmful effects on the environment around us, hence when designing products more than the lavishness of it, we need to work on how well it would actually help in creating a more sustainable environment.
The idea of a good design has been further strengthened in Ted Ten, giving an example on how textile industries should design to minimize waste, recyclability, reduce chemical impacts, use technologies that do better for environment, designs that would reduce energy and water use etc. All this basically emphasizes on how focus on designing could help in creating a better environment and the emissions from the textile industry could reduce. Similarly, this way if other industries would also ty to emphasize on their designing techniques and make them more environmental friendly, it could mean that we as a society are growing to be more sustainable. In order to achieve sustainability, we need to address the issue of poverty which happens to be the wicked problem I have picked in my Activity 2. I am still trying to look out for possible solutions which if not can eradicate poverty at least work in ways which could eventually help to improve the lifestyles of those people.