This week we discussed globalization and western practices and whether they could be sustainable or not. I was assigned to read the Yes article, and I found the points made to be very interesting. I shared the article’s main points with my learning community, including the Kuznets Environmental Curve and political policy. Explaining the importance of property rights and the rule of law in the author’s argument to my community sparked an additional conversation with the No article readers. There was a lot of interest in the idea that landowners take care of their land and resources more responsibly than others’ land. Furthermore, the No readers took the idea that I shared and connected it to the Cradle to Cradle concept in the article that they had read. After they explained this idea to me, I too could see the connection they had made and a collaborative conversation arose, with both sides sharing their thoughts on the concept. My learning community also discussed how it would be significant to swift away from the consumer mindset. However, getting enough people to give up their current way of life to learn more sustainable living habits is unrealistic. This unfortunate reality leads us to conclude that globalization can only be sustainable if the proper policies are put in place by lawmakers, including free and open markets, property rights, and law rules. One classmate shared that the only thing they thought could change the wasteful way people currently live, is fear. I thought this was an intriguing point, and I would have loved to explore this conversation further. People often do not act until they have enough fear, or the environmental concern is immediately threatening them.
My major take away from this week was that, unfortunately, many people are currently living in poverty that can’t worry about sustainability because they have to prioritize their survival. According to the Kuznets Curve, for these people to get to an income point where they can become more environmentally aware, more pollution must occur. The fact that so many people are struggling and can’t worry about the environment makes me feel that those fortunate enough need to make sustainable practices one of our top priorities. If we can help the earth while others cannot, then why not? I understand that significant change doesn’t just happen overnight, but I know that I can do a small part to support a sustainable environment.
Also, this week for our mindfulness practice, I have been meditating for five minutes every day. I set a timer on my phone and sit, cross-legged on the floor of my room with my palms up. Eyes closed, I focus on my breathing and nothing else. There is no music, no noise, no distractions, just silence. I’ve been picking moments when I have felt stressed and overwhelmed by all the things occurring in my life. Afterward, I always feel more grounded and more focused. Moving forward through the semester, I plan to continue using the mindfulness techniques we learn to maintain inner peace.