Growth Through Sustainability

Learning about the topics in this class has made me more compassionately curious about what is happening around me. When I take a step back and put myself in the problem it makes me realize how big of an impact the problems could make in my life or even the effect they are having on my life without me knowing it.I have realized how big of an impact we as humans have on our world and society. Evaluating wicked problems has made me feel guilty because I may be part of the problem and I did not know til now or still not know it. Each wicked problem we have learned about has left me wanting to learn more about it and what I can do to help if there is any way to help. I tend to think of myself as a sensitive person and knowing these problems take place around me that are considered wicked problems makes me feel empathy and sorrow for the people involved. After being able to achieve daily mindfulness, it has made me more aware of my place in society and the impact of my decisions. Not only my place within my everyday life but my place within the wicked problems; I now realize that my everyday life may contribute to wicked problems because of my mindfulness practice. 

As I grew up I was always fascinated by the ocean and at a young age I would look up articles and read many things about the ocean. In elementary school I was aware of the effects humans had on the ocean. I even was a part of the no straw trend starting my freshman year of highschool- and honestly I am still a part of the no straw trend due to the fact that straws end up in turtles’ noses and cause them to die. Due to my love of the ocean I love watching shark week and one of the people on shark week was Paul Degelder. After shark week I followed him on his instagram and he was raving about the documentary he was a part of: Seaspiracy. I decided to watch seaspiracy and learned the many other effects humans have on the ocean and the after effects of commercial fishing by humans. I felt ignorant about not knowing about a major impact on the ocean after all those years of looking up information on the ocean. I had discovered a new wicked problem in my eyes before even knowing what a wicked problem was. After watching more into the documentary I realized that fishing nets get left in the ocean-purposely- by commercial fishermen and the nets wrap around fish and kill millions of sea creatures every year. Commercial fishermen are responsible for taking far too many fish out of the ocean and when they accidentally catch another animal besides a fish, say a dolphin, they leave it on board to die and then throw it back in the ocean. I also learned that I was oblivious to the great pacific garbage patch. I felt baffled that I didn’t know about most of these facts and that I also did not know that the main source of trash in the garbage patch was fishing nets. I thought how could people be so selfish and rude? What makes people want to willingly kill an animal or willingly leave a fishing net in the ocean. The information I learned sat with me because of my love for the ocean. After practicing mindfulness in class I focused on my place in the world. I have concluded with even the little time I have had in class and the little time I have been practicing mindfulness that I can use my love for the ocean and my scuba diving skills to make an impact on this problem. 

In class I was very hesitant to the idea of practicing mindfulness. I thought that it was unnecessary and weird to be honest. Fear of judgement and fear of people looking at me made me not able to achieve my thoughts.I would sit in class and try to just look around or sometimes would even take a quick power nap. Once I gave it a slim chance in class one day I realized it truly was a good way to reflect on my thoughts. I then set the idea aside for a few weeks during homecoming because I was simply too busy. Just recently I came back to the idea. The Monday after homecoming before winding down for bed I took time to practice mindfulness but It was very hard for me to concentrate because my roommates are constantly having people over and being loud. I concluded night time was not the right time to practice mindfulness. I then thought to try one morning that same week because all my roommates were asleep and I had time before my class started. Starting my day with mindfulness practice allowed me to be more open about others opinions and think about qualities in myself. I started making time every morning for mindfulness practice and made it a routine. I have seen myself change for the better because I have the ability to take a step back and look at problems as a whole and not just what goes on in my life. Mindfulness has affected my mind because I can take into account many different ideas and perspectives from a broader view. Mindfulness has affected me emotionally because evaluating problems has made me emotionally attached to them. Mindfulness has also made me less stressed. That being said, I definitely have anxiety. I overthink everything and constantly have the feeling something else needs to be done besides what I am doing right now. With mindfulness it has made my body less tense and stressed because mindfulness focuses on breathing and being present in the moment. With the information I have learned in this class I can inform others of my daily meditation practices and how it has made me reflect on wicked problems in the world hoping they will do the same.

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