Poverty: Can the Cycle be Broken?

This last week we discussed the connection between poverty and environmental degradation. I read the Yes article and found what the author said to be logical. In our learning communities, my group elaborated on this point, talking about the lack of resources people in poverty have to escape their living conditions. I contributed by discussing the continuous cycle between poverty and environmental quality. In developing countries with limited technology, the only way for citizens to make money is by using their natural resources, like agriculture and forestry, for example. As they continue to overexploit these resources, the environmental quality declines, creating even more unsatisfactory living conditions for these people than before. The cycle continues over and over, each side destroying the other. Together, our group agreed that large corporations who can help in these situations should do so without hesitation. If they can help people less fortunate than them and still make a profit, why wouldn’t they do it? A peer brought up, though, that, unfortunately, many companies would use helping the poor as a cover-up to take advantage of the poor instead. They proposed that instead of leaving the responsibility of assisting solely to corporations, the government should be involved in the process. I found this to be a valid point because if the government were to put policies in place regarding how companies can help developing nations, it could provide extra protection to those people against greedy corporations. If we had more time, I would have liked to discuss this concept further, including what types of rules and policies would need to be implemented by which governments for this idea to be successful.

My primary takeaway from this week was that so many people in the world are struggling on their own with no way out of this poverty cycle. If others who can help don’t step in and do something, then it will never end. I see this as a reminder to be grateful for all that I have and give to those who have less than me. Listening to the conversation about big companies underpaying impoverish people to make a profit made me feel sick. Talking about how certain corporations will send their waste off to be ‘recycled’ in other countries also unsettled me. Instead of finding ways to reduce their trash, these companies are just shipping it off to poorer countries and letting them live in their filth. This is why the government must get involved and write policies to prevent this from happening further.

Every day this past week, I have sat down for ten minutes to escape from reality and practice mindfulness. I’ve tried different techniques this week to see which ones work best for me, including using music, natural sounds, and the coloring we did in class. Filling in all the spots while coloring was so satisfying, and I forgot how relaxing it was! Anyway, I have enjoyed practicing mindfulness throughout this course; it’s like hitting a giant reset button on a stressful day.

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