Did We Simply Assign Blame To Those In Poverty?

The idea of consumerism has been embedded into the capitalist society of America and many of its citizens have grown up with the habit of consuming what they desire, then tossing it out when it becomes undesirable. This is a topic I’ve actually been learning in another class as well, and the discussion of the huge amounts of waste we leave behind. It’s truly a terrifying thought to think about, that we’re slowly degrading our earth just by living our lives the way we are. In class, we’ve tried to discuss some of the factors that play into why we do live this way, and why we cannot seem to stop ourselves from overusing the Earth’s natural resources. Last week in specific, we discussed the idea that poverty is a rather direct cause of environmental degradation. Despite going into break out rooms where we were suppose to be with classmates who read an article opposing to our own, I ended with a group of three other people who all had the yes argument; therefore, I couldn’t truly form an opinion of the ‘no’ argument. However, from reading the ‘yes’ argument and hearing the bits and pieces I was able to from the professor and other classmates, I feel like both essays were simply… picking on the poor. 

For some reason, it almost reminded me of Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. Swift’s paper was a satire about those in poverty, discussing why those who are in poverty are simply too unconventional for the other citizens and discussed ways as to how they can slowly weed them out of their society. Of course, Swift’s satire is not meant to be taken seriously by any means, but hearing the arguments these authors were giving reminded me of his satire. The idea that living in poverty, something many people cannot control and many people cannot leave no matter how hard they try, leading to the destruction of the Earth, to me, is asinine. I feel they are simply picking on the poor and assigning blame. I’m not sure if that’s how I’m supposed to feel about these arguments, but those are the conclusions I came to. I was able to discuss with another classmate outside of class, due to the both of us sharing a different class, we came to an agreeance of these arguments solely calling out those in poverty for what they cannot control. Of course, I didn’t share these thoughts with the class, but I wish I had. 

Lastly, I would like to discuss what I’ve done when it comes to my mindfulness activities. I believe that I stated in my last blog that this is my first time doing anything like meditation. If I didn’t state that, then I am now. Last week, I continued my breathing and slowing my mind and thoughts, taking in and becoming aware of my surroundings. In Tuesday’s class, we colored a mandala for our mindfulness activity, and to be frank, I really enjoyed it. I’ve never been a fan of simply sitting down and coloring, but being able to do so then and not having to think about what I was doing was… relaxing in an odd sort of way. So, I decided to add it to my mindfulness practice for the past couple of days. After taking a few moments to settle down and take in my surroundings, I would then print off something I liked and colored it. I didn’t care how it looked in the end, just the process of coloring was something I found to be relaxing.

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