Our world has become a society of London Tiptons. London Tipton is a character from the show ‘The Suite Life of Zack and Cody’ and one of her most famous lines was “wear it a day then throw it away”. While I thought London was crazy and ridiculous for saying this, and the audience of the time laughed, that is exactly what is happening in our current climate.
Our society wears an outfit in an instagram post and then has to get rid of it because they cannot be seen in it again, it is a ‘faux pas’. This culture of waste that we are living in is having a negative impact on our environment as well as for future generations. Instead of buying a new dress for every party, we could swap dresses with our friends or thrift a dress and help our environment, not simply harm it for the sake of fashion.
My progress towards the goal of taking a compassionate curiosity to the multiple ways one comes to understand a wicked problem has slowly become more important to me in my daily life. I am using my compassion to understand a wicked problem intellectually as a lens in how I see my own world, such as I want to drive to the colvin, but I should just walk to reduce gas emissions. I am using my compassion emotionally in wanting the best for future generations and the children to come after me that deserve a healthy world around them. The emotional part of sustainability is arguably the most important because if you do not feel that what you are doing is important or worth your time, you are less likely to feel the need to do anything about it or care for the issue at all. Somatically, I feel that by having more compassion, I am able to focus on myself less and have less anxiety through knowing that I can make a small difference in my life and those around me by small acts of kindness and helpfulness each day. My mindfulness is also helping me somatically in how I have less anxiety and focus on myself less as I walk to class or go to dinner alone. I am focused on thankfulness of my circumstances and my present ability to be walking with an able body. While my meditation practice has helped me with stress, it has also helped me to be more grateful for everything I am blessed with and I feel that being more grateful and compassionate has also helped me to be happier in my daily life and therefore kinder to those around me on a daily basis as well.
My progress towards developing humble and compassionate responses to wicked problems has developed quickly during this class, especially when I see how our environment is struggling. Watching the video in the very first class showed how quickly our environment is degrading and how we, as humans, are doing nothing to help it. I also gained empathy for this issue when we talked about Easter Island and how that could be our civilization as well. In my daily life, I see my humble and compassionate responses taking place in trying to thrift clothes instead of shopping on Shein because it’s cheap, or instead of buying a new dress for every date party, just rewearing my old high school dresses. For example, two weeks ago, instead of buying a new, cheap dress, I wore my homecoming dress from my Junior year of highschool, even though I had already posted in it and was afraid it might be weird to post again. In addition, I also started a thrifting account on instagram last week, since many people, my friends included, feel lost thrift shopping, but I go and thrift shop for them so that they can still have sustainable habits without feeling stressed or lost in a big thrift store. Sustainable habits can be overwhelming at times, but through my meditation practice, I have been able to combat some of that and find new ways that I love to be sustainable. I love shopping, so being able to shop at discounted prices while also helping the environment and my friends is a win-win. I also love getting to wear old dresses and feel the weight of how far I have come and how different I am than younger me and the experiences that have helped me to become a better version of myself in the past years. In addition, getting to find new lives for old clothes is rewarding in how you are creating a new story for the clothes that someone else has lost use for, or that they think have gone out of style as they are evolving as well in their own lives.
My experience in this course has led me to desire to create positive change in my circle of influence in many ways. First, I believe that in my sorority house we can add recycling bins instead of solely trash cans, reducing our waste and helping our environment. This is such a simple idea, and yet we do not even have recycle bins, for reasons I do not understand. Secondly, I feel I can create positive change by having a minute of silence to relax in chapter each week. Chapter is already mandatory, and if we were to just have a minute of silence, it might help the stress and the talking in the room go down so that chapter runs smoother as well as prioritizing mental health. Lastly, I think that carpooling with my friends when we go to dinner can be helpful in the battle for sustainability and can help me to grow closer to those around me. I could also carpool to class, so that instead of going to class later in favor of sleeping in, I could go early with my friend so that we don’t use as much gas. These are all small things but things that could help the environment nonetheless and if each person in the world did one simple thing on a daily basis to help the environment, it could get better much faster than the rate we are going at now, where each person is simply only focused on themselves and their own world. As a culture we have a very individual and self-centered mentality and often say ‘it’s not hurting anyone’ when it may be hurting ourselves or our environment more than we realize and when we can be more conscious of the decisions we make.
This class has helped me to step out of my own world and focus on the world around me and how I can use sustainability to positively influence my life and the lives of those around me while also helping the world and future generations. I did not know that textile waste was so great and I wish more people understood the gravity of the impact we had on our world in mindlessly buying clothes as well as getting rid of them just as fast. This class has taught me so much about the importance of understanding and working towards eliminating wicked problems in our lives because of the threat and the risk they pose.