This week we continued the conversation on sustainability. Specifically, we were discussing the concept of poverty and sustainability. Some things that we began discussing were how poverty was an endless cycle that could be both a direct cause of environmental degradation and a direct effect of environmental degradation. A few of my peers defined primary economic activities as activities that had to do with the Earth’s natural resources. These activities are vitally important to poorer people living in mostly rural areas. I was able to contribute to the group discussion by adding that poor people living in these rural areas must depend on primary economic activities to survive. The downside to this is that they are unable to control how much they are using and, in some cases, run out of resources. We then threw out the question, what happens then? What happens when their resources run out in rural areas? I thought this was a very interesting question and there were a few solutions proposed by my classmates. I, personally, was very puzzled by this question. I thought the solution for them to go to an urban area was interesting. I began to think about how they would get there, if they would like it, and if they would make enough to earn a living there. These people living in rural areas have a set idea about what they can do, what they want to do, and how to perform certain tasks. I had a solution to this problem that I would like to share. Perhaps, there could be some sort of organization or corporation that goes into these rural communities, where primary economic activities are taking place, and share with them how to be more sustainable. I know this solution has many challenges to it, but it is just an idea I had.
I had a few takeaways from this week, but one that I kept coming back to was the topic of poverty. I first began to reflect on what classifies a person into poverty. How do you cross the poverty line? I know there are many facts and statistics about the poverty line, but I was taking time to reflect on certain factors that can cause you to enter poverty. Some of these factors are wicked problems themselves such as drug use, loss of income, etc. Once I gave that some thought, I began to think about the cycle of poverty. Specifically, how it seemed to be a never-ending cycle. There is no one good way to solve it and it seems like every proposed solution has its challenges. That is what makes it a wicked problem. I was also reflecting on poverty as it relates to sustainability. The economically stable people have much easier access to sustainability practices than the poor do. How can we help the poor have better access to sustainability? I believe we all care about the environment, so why are we not all working together to save it. I know this is all easier said than done but I was just left thinking about these things.
In regards to my mindfulness practices this week, I was able to squeeze in ten minutes of mindfulness. As the semester continues, it gets harder and harder to find time to practice mindfulness and relax. However, for ten minutes I listened to a guided meditation. This meditation has to do with breathing as I was feeling frantic about my work this week. We took a breath in as the circle in my mind expanded and breathed out as the circle retracted. After the mediation, I felt much calmer, focused, and prepared to work.