Treating the planet as if we plan to stay

I’m currently sitting in my local Starbucks and a sign they have had for almost a year is really captivating my attention. This sign isn’t of some elaborate artwork or creative designs, it’s rather simple really. The sign reads in white letters  “Sustainability: treating the planet as if we plan to stay”. I’ve glanced past the sign at least a hundred times over the past year. The thing is that I’ve read the sign countless times before and didn’t really register anything from it until now. Over the past 4 weeks of this class we have learned of many of the wicked problems that are happening in our everyday lives. I believe that being made aware of the wicked problems we’ve talked about and seen in class over the past four weeks has changed the way I view sustainability and even define it. It has made me form a more sensitive and emotional response to taking care of our planet. For this blog post we are asked to briefly talk about another wicked problem that we are aware. There are a dozen wicked problems I could write about for this blog but the one that I feel is being ignored the most is the child labor happen in mica mines. In case you might not be familiar with what mica is, it’s a natural occuring mineral dust frequently used in the majority of makeup products. It gives the makeup products the soft shimmer we often see in makeup products. Up until 3 weeks ago I had no idea what mica was or that it was used in the majority of the beauty products I use in my everyday life. This isn’t uncommon, the majority of people aren’t even aware of what mica is or what it’s used for or how it’s obtained. Many children in places like India have to mine for mica everyday in order to feed themselves. Children starting at around the age of four years old work all day every day in these mines while barely making 43 cents a day. These mines are dangerous places to work and a lot of these children die because of accidents happening in the mine or inhaling the dust and fumes from the mine. Why is this wicked problem practically unheard of? This past week in class, the class took a visit to the sustainability office, I was not able to attend the sustainability office tour. However, I still was able to learn that college campuses are one of the most wasteful places. Every year during college move in and move out days the recycling center here at Oklahoma State gets overflowed with items. The majority of these items are practically in new condition. The living habits of the majority of my classmates is to throw out everything they own at the end of a semester and buy all new items again during move in the following semester or school year. This nasty habit is killing our planet faster than we realize. I believe that due to this behavior, all students attending any university should be required to take a sustainability course and be made fully aware of their actions and the consequences behind them. I believe that it’ll open the majority of their eyes to the real problems happening around us and become more mindful in their everyday lives just as it has for myself. How would our planet be right now if there weren’t people who are doing their part in taking care of our home? It would be a completely different and toxic planet. So why don’t you make the change and choose to live a sustainable life?! Next time you read the word “sustainable” I hope that you gain a new perspective on the meaning. So, will you start treating the planet as if you plan to stay? 

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