Understanding my responsibility

For as long as I can remember, I have never consciously thought about the how I personally contribute to the environmental destruction that takes place day to day. Now, I find myself more involved and more passionate about my responsibilities to keep this world healthy for future generations. After all, this what I would have wanted from the generations before me. As an artist and photographer, I am constantly observing the world around me searching for inspiration, and in aw at the amazing things I can find. Come to find out, that that very world I admire is in desperate need of help from its inhabitants. A photograph I took just a few weeks ago has been coming back to me each time I begin my mindfulness practice. This photo was taken in the historic district of St. Louis Missouri not too far from the Mississippi River. The juxtaposition of beautiful Victorian architecture surrounded by littered streets was gut wrenching. I felt blind when I went to review the processed film. Since I’ve started meditation, I have found that my fixation on the problem as grown and continues to grow. I have started sorting my waste and found a few places around Stillwater where I can recycle. Going out of my way to find recycling is something I would have never thought I would do. That sounds selfish, and I feel awful realizing that is how oblivious I was to the problem. The things I do are very small in terms of overall impact, but I look at where I am right now as a steppingstone to greater feats. I am now looking into furthering my sustainability knowledge within the design industry so I can one day, make larger strides toward a better future. For many reasons, sustainability is a wicked problem that is likely to never be completely addressed. Many large corporations find it easier and far more cost efficient to dump either waste outright. Rather than, taking the necessary precautions to properly discard their biproduct. Whether that may be instilling recycling habits in the workplace or completely altering their production strategies to limit their waste biproduct. These examples, and many more are problems that frustrate me the most. I appreciate mindfulness practice for enabling the ability to clear my mind and allow me to focus on what is important to me. I have ADHD, so focusing on one thing at a time. I am not saying meditating was a complete cure for my ADHD, but it has really helped. I feel like in my day to today life. I am constantly doing one thing and on to the next. Always thinking about something. I could be working on an assignment and my mind will start thinking about some random childhood memory about loading the dish washer when I was 8, then I am thinking about taking out the trash when I get home. Oh, and my laundry is overdue, oh yeah also don’t forget about doing the dishes when you get home. What was I saying? Oh yeah, I get distracted easily. My point here is, I never had the head room to think about the world I live in. Now that I have started allowing for 10 mins to just clear my mind. I find that right after my session, I start to hold on to those thoughts longer. This is how I was able to really focus in on my genuine worry about the future of the environment. I have started to change my future aspirations and turn them into conscious acts to help the environment. My girlfriend and I are big dreamers and want to build a better life for ourselves and our family. We want to invest solar power, electric vehicles and possibly even rainwater filtration systems. Something that I am trying to convince her on is growing our own food to minimize our input on large scale agriculture. Moving forward I want to continue my research on the topic and dig deeper to find new ways to better the environment. I am hoping to make a bigger impact as I get older. I want to spread awareness, but this dream can be a little discouraging given the countless experts that struggle to get people to listen. This is yet another reason, pollution is a wicked problem that will likely never be completely addressed. Majority of people cannot agree this is a very important problem that needs to be addressed. Some people believe experts are blowing statistics out or proportion and that the problem isn’t as serious as it is made out to be. Some people just do not care. With many people I know that do not care just having the mentality that they are going to die before they ever experience the negative repercussions. When in fact, they are living with the repercussions daily. Their attitude toward the issue bothers me because I come from a family where family is the most important aspect in life. I feel that is kind of ironic that they feel family is the most important, but too ignorant to realize there are generations of their family they haven’t even met yet that are going to suffer though this for the rest of their lives. On the other hand, I genuinely look forward to the future as I am able to pass down environmentally conscious practices to the generations to come. I am just hopeful that I can make an impact before it is too late, because each time I see a natural disaster in the news I can not help but think this is all because we forgot to listen to nature as it begins to fight back. After all, nature has been giving us signs for decades telling us the footprint we have on this earth is only getting larger. Before we know it, we will reach the point of absolutely no return and that time is not too far away. As the most dominate species on earth, we need to do something.

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