Mindfulness is defined as a mental training technique that promotes awareness and a more mindful way of living. I had never thought that the way a person is able to shift their focus could have such an impact on the environment and sustainability, but in reality, the improvement of mindfulness increases well-being and in return, empathy. Mindfulness training can allow for people to shift their values to less materialistic things and focus more on quality items and therefore produce less waste by chasing quantity. It has also been shown that those with such materialistic values tend to aim for achievement in money and status and have less empathy toward the environment. People are hurting the planet by striving to have more items without even realizing the damage being done. Marc Cohen made a simple point in his TED talk about how people are dying faster from overconsumption than underconsumption on average. I was surprised at how this one fact is not more known, as it seems only those who are starving or in need are advertised. It is rightful to want to show that millions of people are lacking in what those in the United States have, but I never realized that we have all been missing out on the part where we just have too much.
A problem I also did not realize the extent of is the overfilling of landfills, and how they are being piled high with dangerous waste. Specifically, construction and demolition waste contributing to around 60 percent of hazardous waste in the United States. I am interested to learn more about sustainable design for buildings in order to utilize the waste already being produced and prevent further damage to the environment through construction. The hazardous waste not only contributes to the overfilling and excessive trash buildup but the chemicals and treatments put onto most building materials are causing dangerous pollutants to be released into the air.
I feel as if I know enough about the environment and sustainability to make a difference, but if I were to practice some sorts of loving-kindness meditation I would be eager to do so much more. I have not found success with breathing techniques, but I believe that I could with more practice. I believe that mindfulness training and meditation should be taught to younger generations so that they can grow up having been taught healthy ways to value more environmentally-friendly ways and have empathy.