Save the World or Keep the Lights On?

Alternative Title: “How it’s Not My Fault the World is Falling Apart at the Same Rate My Shoes Are.”

I never thought there would be someone out there with the opinion that the environment is degrading because of poor people. When first glancing at the readings’ title. What was I about to delve into? WHAT WAS I BEING MADE TO READ?? 

It turns out that in a much softer way, that is what the argument was implying. I was assigned the “NO” argument which made me feel a little better but very worried over what the “YES” argument was saying. A preconceived notion I had about some of the economics problems was that the 1% was a problem and that big corporations could destroy the environment and not care as long as they profited off of it. And while that might ring true to some extent, it isn’t the only part of the problems our world has in this regard. 

Learning about rural poverty and urban poverty was very enlightening to me. I didn’t know that so many health issues could be traced to pollution or the way that other people used the resources in urban settings that affected those living in impoverished conditions. I never thought about how pushing those who can’t afford living in a certain area and them relocating to a less stable environment can have detrimental effects on their livelihood and on the environmental stability at stake. 

In my reading, there were many suggestions listed that I found would be really effective and helpful for all of these situations- in theory. While reading through these, I knew there couldn’t be such simple solutions or else they would be implemented in places all over the world, especially in America, where we don’t see as many of these programs taking place. I was right. None of these were “Perfect Solutions” and shouldn’t be treated as such. 

When discussing in our small groups, I was very fortunate to be in one with a friend I could work with in a seamless way, as well as some classmates I found easy to talk to. We discussed Co-Investing, which was something I was very confused about in the readings and even mentioned on the pad link sent out. By talking with my group and discussing how we felt about it, we believed that Yes, larger corporations should coinvest in communities like the example given in Chile. 

The Government/ Company only pays for 10% of it, but still gives the community it’s supporting enough stability to flourish. We believed that this method of co-investing would provide inclusion to all people and allow for economic growth. By doing so, there could be more investment done in sustainable practices to be implemented across the economy and hopefully become a normalcy we see in everyday life. This week’s topic gave me new insights to the possibilities of creating ways to solve not only environmental problems in our world, but also social problems that tie into it, as poverty does. 

I know that with a lower income, it means there are less options for you as a consumer. You can’t afford a long lasting and quality item so you go for the cheaper version that can break easily in favor of paying the electricity bill. This lesson gave me a great deal of insight, and left me with many more questions. I’ll have to do some research on my own in hopes of better understanding this grappling concept of accountability and affordability. 

By expanding my mindfulness activities into 10 minutes, I’ve actually found my thoughts to be more focused. I find that after years of suffering from attention deficit, it is easiest to do a monotonous task while listening to a lecture or learning something new. The coloring page practice we did this week in class was a great example of this. It allowed me to put all my unused energy into something constructive so my mind could focus on the words being spoken more clearly throughout the lesson. Some examples of what I’ve done in the past have been coloring, stringing beads, knitting, lacing up shoes, folding clothes, sorting small items, and more. 

I’ve done this method for a while, but since beginning online lessons, it’s become incredibly difficult to focus fully and get the full experience. Do not misunderstand, I’m still paying attention and learning in these classes, but I find it to be difficult with so many distractions around me. I hear the explanation and context of fashion in sustainability but I’m staring at my wall with a poster on it that’s reminding me that I need to call my mom to tell her about noise complaints on the other side of said wall, and when I call her I’m going to have to remember to ask her when I can come home next and when I come home I want to do something with my sister and now I need to ask my sister how she’s doing and all of the sudden I’m in a breakout room with only ¾ of an idea of what to discuss. By focusing all those background thoughts into this string of glass beads, I can fully focus my attention on the important lessons I’m learning and know exactly what’s going on all the time. 

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