Poverty – Both a Cause and Result?

The course topic this week was extremely interesting to me, as well as more difficult to understand than the past topics. Our introduction to the question of whether poverty is responsible for environmental degradation was a reading in which the no and yes sides of the argument were discussed and explained. I was assigned to read the YES argument, and I will admit that the concepts were extremely difficult for me to grasp. In my reading, it seemed that the author took a lot of time to explain the meaning of poverty, but he explained very little about how poverty was connected to environmental degradation. Because I was so confused, it was super helpful to have the ideas discussed in our virtual class. Through the class discussion, I was able to find a few major takeaways on the topic. Firstly, I learned that there are two main ideas as to how to approach the issue of poverty – one is to let corporations take leadership and the other is to work as communities instead of letting corporations lead the charge. After discussing the two sides with my breakout group, I came to the conclusion that I side more with the latter idea, that communities should do what they can to change poverty rather than corporations. We thought that if large corporations were to take control of the poverty situation, they would expect something in return and not actually be doing it for the betterment of society. Another big takeaway from the topic this week was simply the idea that poverty has connection to environmental degradation. In the past, I thought that those with money contributed the most to things like waste and pollution. I never considered how poverty may affect the earth. An interesting point the author made is the yes reading was that poverty is both a result of environmental degradation as well as a cause. This sentence really stuck out to me and screamed “wicked problem”. It goes to show how difficult it is to rid society of poverty, but also shows how important it is that we try.

I always learn so much more by discussing the topics in the breakout groups as well as hearing other student’s ideas as a whole class – I especially like hearing from Lucas! He always brings new points to the discussion and brings up things I haven’t yet considered. I believe my thinking is reshaped every time we have class discussion. Although this week’s reading was hard for me to understand, without hearing other ideas I would’ve simply gone along with that I read and believed that corporations should help take care of poverty.

This week has been super busy and stressful for me – I’ve had more assignments than usual along with work, pom practice, and activities with my friends as we close out the semester. Taking time to meditate and practice mindfulness this week did so much for me and my mental health. I decided to follow a guided meditation, much like the ones we’ve done in class. I find it hard to focus if I’m not being told what to do and reminded when to breathe. I’m so glad that I’ve been introduced to mindfulness practice because I find that it makes me feel so much calmer and at ease.

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