Development of Sustainability Knowledge

There is one key quality of sustainability and mindfulness that stands out quite a bit to me personally, and that is selfishness. The definition of being selfish is, as quoted in the dictionary, “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself.” They key word here being oneself. This is unfortunately a prominent aspect of human behavior. As we have seen throughout this class so far, it is the selfishness of humankind that has begun to destroy our very own planet. I personally have found throughout my life that it is very easy to be selfish, and more of a challenge to be humble. I am shamelessly claiming that I am a selfish human being, because in all honesty, who isn’t to some extent? Most people will not come out and say they are selfish, simply because that word has a bad reputation around it. While the general idea of selfishness is not a positive thing, there are times that it is necessary. Coming into this class, I had no expectations of what I was about to study about or learn. Quite honestly, I did not even want to come. Selfishness once again, whether I recognized it in my own mind or not. One class, we began to learn about mindfulness. This is something I have learned a little bit about in the past, however it was something that needed to be refreshed in my daily practice. At first, I was confused as to why we were learning to breath and be in touch with our feelings. I did not see how that was going to teach us to be more sustainable. Until I began writing this blog post did I truly grasp the concept of it; At least my interpretation of it. What I have found is that the more aware you are of yourself as a whole, the more you become aware of your presence. By that I mean how you respond to situations, how you communicate with people, how you treat the people and things around you, and more importantly, how you take care of the things you’re surrounded by. Over the last few days, I have found my mindset being altered. It almost like another eye was opened in my brain. Just going through day to day tasks or observing the actions of others and thinking about how those actions are making an impact whether is be positive or negative. This weekend, I happened to be at the beach and took note of a few sustainability efforts. First, there are signs all along the beach teaching and encouraging the attendants to take care of the beaches to save the sea turtles. This of course was a major trend a couple years ago regarding the plastic straws. I attended a dinner and the straw was made out of a very unfamiliar substance. My whole family was curious so we decided to ask the waitress. Well it turns out, the straws were made out of agave. I found that very interesting and began to think about this class. Another example is the paperless menu option and how a numerous amount of restaurants now offer it. You simply use your phone, scan a barcode with your camera, and are immediately directed to an online menu. Sustainable, right? Even just with those few examples, I just truly think its amazing how I had never recognized the intent behind those actions. Sustainability is all around us, but most of the time is barely recognizable! I had never really learned about worldly issues like I have in this class. It is quite humbling to take a step back, observe my own actions, and see how much I have potentially contributed to some of the key wicked problems that have been covered throughout the last five weeks. It takes repetition and practice to have down a routine of trying your best to be sustainable. For me, I have never intentionally lived sustainably, so it will be a challenge to have to continually be aware of it. It is quite fascinating to recognize that each thing we have learned about all connects and builds with each other. Even the simple daily practice of mindfulness. It is teaching yourself to create a routine of being aware. Like our teacher said, it starts with even just five minutes. It is hard but it is something that can be learned and turned into something you look forward to each and every day. I am still trying to teach myself to even get down the routine of daily mindfulness, but making those efforts is what’s important. I have decided that I am going to be intentional about reducing my negative footprint on our ecosystems. I am going to make it a point to reduce the amount of trash I accumulate, keep off lights that are not required to be on, try and use less paper products, and potentially eliminate online shopping that is not necessary. Although it make take me a long time to be successful, I can at least be proud at the fact that I am even aware of such wicked problems and that I am trying to do my part in reducing said problems. I have to say that I am amazed and impressed by the people in our society who’s career is based on the sustainability of our earth. I am inspired and in awe of their knowledge, creativity, passion, and intelligence of our world. It is scary to think that our world is slowly falling apart and being destroyed because of the actions of human beings. The world has been so kind to us, yet we proceed to be selfish and take what we want away from it. It is saddening but inspiring to see that there are still people who care. I can be one of those people in doing my part to create and maintain a sustainable future for not only society but the beautiful earth that we get to proudly call our home.  

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