Bean Bag Chairs, Mindfulness, and The Degradation of The Earth

In all my years of going to school, never have I ever not had to sit in uncomfortable desks and chairs. I was beyond surprised on the first day of class of Wicked Problems when I walked in and there were no desks or chairs, but instead bean bag chairs. The bean bag chairs added an element of comfort, it made the 9:00 A.M. class more welcoming. I also have never had a teacher or professor who encouraged students to meditate and focus on improving their mental state. Throughout the class, I was able to gain new pieces of knowledge from every single class about the Earth, it’s environmental state, and its inhabitants.

During this course I was able to contribute knowledge I had previously learned before starting the course as well as knowledge that I learned from the course-either in class or from the weekly pre discussion readings. The knowledge that I contributed was knowledge regarding what I knew about the environment and what factors harm the environment. The group and class discussions were a huge outlet for other students and I to participate and share. Personally, I felt it was easier to contribute to discussions when I was in small groups rather than the whole class. Even though the class was only twelve people, I still felt more comfortable talking to and expressing my views to three people. The class helped me a little with my fear of stating my opinions and views in front of people.

This course was the most discussion involved class I have ever been in. Every class was a different subject where every student was able to talk and state an argument, counter-argument, view, or opinion. From this course I was able to gain knowledge from readings, the documentary we watched, my professor, and my peers. The class started off with a documentary that starred the beloved Leonardo DiCaprio and introduced the mayhem going on on Earth. From the beginning to the end of the class there was a never ending flow of information being given to us. Throughout the class, my favorite thing that we did, even though it caused me anxiety, was the class discussions where we would be called on or sometimes we would toss Pixie around. Unfortunately my argument and counter argument skills did not enhance, probably why I was never and never will be in debate. What I will probably never forget is the ‘sustainable’ bowls and cups product that we learned about that was made from cow’s milk. That product made absolutely no sense to me.This class overall offered me a lot and educated me in a different way than any other class has. Most classes involve an overload of information but with this class was different, the information we were learning was at a steady pace and it was information that we actually need to know because it impacts us and by knowing this knowledge we can take action or atleast better understand what it going on in our world.

The documentary we read that discussed whether or not poverty affects environmental degradation was one that I found very interesting and would like to gain more knowledge on. I read the ‘YES’ reading so I am not sure what the ‘NO’ readings author’s take on the matter was. I disagreed with the ‘YES’ author’s argument, especially when he said that poverty is a social relationship. I just don’t see how he found a way to blame poor people for the cause of environmental degradation. His argument makes me want to do research about why people would think like this. This also plays into how recently on Twitter I have been seeing multiple discussions regarding billionaires, millionaires, and capitalism. Most of the discussions are arguments between people saying that millionaires and billionaires worked hard for their money and pay taxes and other arguments pertaining to that, and the opposing view is people saying that no one ever needs that much money. I agree with the view that no one needs that much money, probably because I, myself am a broken girl but oh well. I want to learn more about why millionaires and billionaires are always pushing regular people to make the change to better the world when they have the funds to do so. Adding on to that, I also want to learn what I, a regular person with a regular level of income, can do to help make the environment a better place. I know there are things like recycling and trying not to use plastic, but I know that there are more things that I am able to do to make a difference. 

I enjoyed and learned a lot from the groups that I was involved in. I was able to learn about as well as learn from my classmates. The group of girls that were in my class were a group of extremely smart girls. I feel like each and every one of the girls impacted me in some type of way; whether it be that they educated me, shared something about themselves with me, or expressed their opinions or views. This class and the people in it motivated me to go harder when it comes to life, my major, and overall learning and educating myself.

I understand that as a young adult I do have a strong impact on this world. I can help to pass knowledge to my family, friends, and associates. In the smallest of ways I can introduce sustainable habits of living, as well as mindfulness to my loved ones. It is so important for old and new generations to be knowledgeable about how they can live life peacefully. To know that I could impact my peers and that that impact will go on to others which will eventually improve the world is extremely important to me. In my circle of influence I can begin a cycle of positive influence that promotes humans to care about their mental health and their environment.

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