Mindfulness and Sustainability

Week two we touched on the understanding and application of sustainability and mindfulness. These concepts are important but overshadowed by my busy life style. It is easier to live everyday step by step forgetting the environment around us as well as the people and things around us. After reading the article Mindfulness and Sustainability by Torgeir Ericson, Bjørn Gunaketu Kjønstad, Anders Barstad, I had a better understanding and awareness of the elements of life I was missing. I started being more sustainable by purchasing a reusable water bottle, limiting my plastic waste, and limiting my use of straws. I think in order to be more sustainably minded, people and myself have to approach this transition slowly. A lot of people tend to jump into sustainability practices way to quickly, causing their routine to change dramatically. This can cause people to resort back to what they know because it is easier. People need to alter their carbon foot print slowly so they can maintain it. Being mindful is relaxing and a healthy practice to take on. Being mindful to me is thinking and appreciating what is around is around me. Meditation is a good example of how to practice mindfulness; discovering what I need to change, how I am feeling, and what I want to accomplish. Marc Cohen Ted talk help explain the importance of mindfulness by creating an illustration of wellness and illness in a spiral effect see bellow.

Cohen explains how illness is defined as “it’s about me” and mindfulness is “it’s about we.” These simple but effective definition of the to words help me understand what and how I am feeling. When we are ill we focus on ourselves and when we are well we have more time to focus on others. Cohen shows illness as a descending spiral or “vortex of terror” and wellness as an ascending spiral of bliss. The reason a lot of us are riding the vortex of terror is because we separate ourselves form the universe; “the universe is there; I am here”. For me I am guilty of this because when diving deep into the element of the universe and the vastness of it, causes me to diving in my anxiety and doubt. Cohen explains that this separation is causing an increase in entropy and disorder. Mindfulness is the ability for one to combine oneself with the universe. This relates to sustainability because, for human kind, we overcome entropy by transferring and exporting this entropy to the environment through pollution and waste. He explains what comes in is food and money and what goes out is waste and pollution. He wants people to understand that wellness is what we need to desire instead of coping with illness.

Continuing on the topic of sustainability, I watch the movie the 11 Hour. This movie was a huge realization of what the world has become and how we are gradually and more rabidly destroying it. This effect on the world started during the industrial revolution when steam engines and fossil fuels were discovered. This discovery allowed a huge expansion in the area of technology because nature was now converted into a resource. This discovery caused people’s mind to think of limited growth and expansion. It sparked the idea that “people are separate from nature,” which is a serious fundamental misconception that has cause majority of our issues. What surprised me the most from the film was it stated that people think we are going to kill this planet, but in reality the planet will survive, and we will not. The movie highlighted what we need to do differently and after watching it I am determined to limit my carbon foot print and help save what we have left.

Activity 2 help me understand a wicked problem I can help solve in order to help save the planet from my industry. In activity 2 I discussed the wicked problem of water waste in the fashion industry. Ton and tons of water is being wasted on the production of clothes and in order to prevent this I think companies need to think more sustainable and lessen their water usage.

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