“The internet has smuggled in isolation in the guise of communication.” This is a quote from one of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow (@aredotna). This quote has stood out to me because of its relevance in my life. I have grown up in the age of communication and information. I can attend classes online while in my pjs and add to discussion boards without opening my mouth. I have endless possibilities at the swipe of a finger. I have infinite amounts of information and communication in my pocket. My first takeaway from the material I’ve absorbed so far is that I do not use my access to information and communication wisely. I spend hours taking selfies or scrolling through Instagram. I am mindful of how much time I spend on my phone and still I am wasting so much time. I think how much time we spend gathering useless information is a wicked problem of its own. I am able to ignore all of the wicked problems we have identified in class because I am consumed by consuming. Watching 11th Hour has really opened my eyes to how vast the problems that loom behind the curtain of consumption are. We do not pay the real cost when we pay our electric bills or when we purchase a tank of gas.
We have become so disconnected with nature. We use nature like it is a play thing. In reality, the natural order will be our demise. The mindfulness of other students in our class has helped me see where I need to step in. I have been taking more walks lately, despite the cold weather. Nature is here to be appreciated. We must not take it for granted. I truly believe that the universe will provide just enough for us if we let it. I have been able to slow down a lot more lately. Being a vegetarian is even more important to me than it was before this class started. I have been doing more research on things like the meat industry and seeing how consumption culture has truly affected the Earth.
Another takeaway that I have learned from speaking to my classmates is that I lack a foundation in my community. I was planted in my community and that is where I must bloom. My classmates offered insightful thoughts about how to solve problems in the world. Everyone has different experiences and thus new things to add to every conversation. It is hard sometimes because it feels so safe to communicate online and so scary to talk to people in real time. This is something I want to work on so I can understand my classmates, my community, and others in general. I have been digging deep into myself and why I choose to communicate online so much when real people stand next to me. I think it is because online everyone is projecting someone they want to be or someone they think they are. It is easy to find people who line up with who I think I am online. When I am faced with real life communication, I find that I am more like those who live in my area than those who live in places I wish I did. Connection is supposed to be slow. It is supposed to be daunting. This class has been so helpful to me already. I am more self-aware. I am more aware of every thought I carry on in myself. I am aware of how I affect others in my community. I am more aware of the true cost I pay when I consume anything I did not create myself.