My journey to a more sustainable future

Throughout this course, I have been able to grasp a better understanding of what sustainability is, what makes a problem wicked, how mindfulness impacts us, and so much more. Compassionate curiosity has changed the way a perceive the world and allows me to better understand a wicked problem. I am able to recognize and comprehend all sides of the argument. When it comes to a wicked problem, you need compassionate curiosity because the wicked problem affects everything and everyone. Although you may not realize it, said problem may affect your mind, body, and even emotionally. That being said, I believe that’s one reason why mindfulness is an important factor in this field. As I have stated in my mid-term blog, I have always had the need to try mindfulness meditation, but never knew how. It seems like an easy thing to do, but it is not as easy as it may look. At first, I would get tired trying to incorporate it into my daily routine, or my mind would end up getting distracted by thousands of thoughts that would pop up all of a sudden. A couple of years ago I heard someone say that you have to do something daily in order for it to become a habit. As I have incorporated my mindfulness practices, it has become a habit. Never would I have thought that it would have a positive impact on my life and the way I have started to view the world. After writing my mid-term blog, I started using my mediation as a way to explore my feeling and thoughts which lead to me having a healthier acceptance of my thoughts and feelings. I’m able to acknowledge why I feel this way, or why I might think a certain way and come to an understanding, rather than avoiding my thoughts and feelings.

Before this class began, I had never heard of the phrase “a wicked problem”. I knew that coming up with a solution to a problem much bigger than us was not an easy thing to accomplish, but it was not until this class that I was able to fully grasp what a wicked problem is and why it’s a wicked problem. I wicked problem is a problem that doesn’t have one particular solution because different parts of the world are affected differently. An example would be deforestation, it seems like a problem that could be resolved fairly quickly, or so I assumed. Passing a law that would limit how many trees can be cut down, seems like a reasonable way to reduce deforestation. However, this affects different parts of the world differently, in some places, they will not have a problem cutting down trees, but in other places that heavily rely on wooden will be affected greatly. By taking this course and having learned about mindfulness mediation and compassionate curiosity, I am able to have a better understanding and have the ability to suggest solutions that are right at this point in time, while still trying to find newer and better solutions that benefit everyone. We won’t know whether a certain solution is the best until we decide to give it a try, and that can be worrisome, but with the understanding we have, I believe we can try to make an educated guess as to what might be better for everyone.

Not too long ago I was informed that the fashion industry happens to be one of the biggest producers of our carbon footprint. Fast fashion has become the new normal for society, and because of that, I knew that the fashion industry contributed to pollution, but I never imagined it would be one of the biggest contributors to pollution. The textile industry alone produces a ton of water waste, the transportation of garments and fabrics from one country to the other has to have a negative effect on our marine life. I have come to terms with the fact that not everyone is worried about these problems because they do not have a compassionate curiosity, and that is okay, but we have to help them understand why this is important. I have learned that we need to understand the problem first and figure out who are the stakeholders and how they benefit from the problem while also focusing on those who are at a disadvantage. We do not allow ourselves to acknowledge all those who will be left at a greater disadvantage, we will never be able to solve and/or reduce the problem. Some of us may feel like we do not have much of a say when it comes to demanding change, but in the movie “The last hour” someone said “Society has to start voting- not your typical voting, but rather you vote by purchasing a certain item. Telling the manufacturer that you agree with everything they have done in order to produce the item”. I could not agree more with this phrase. If we, as consumers, citizens do not demand change to happen, no one else will. My outlook, ever since finding out that we need to reduce our carbon footprint, has changed and widened because of this course. It won’t be a dramatic change, for example going waste-free in a matter of days, but if we start off by slowly incorporating that waste-free mindset, we will be able to make it a habit. Some people might think that in order for them to start making a positive impact they have to change everything in there as soon as possible, but it really isn’t that way. I’ve started using the tote bag that I made for my basic apparel class, to replace the unnecessary use of plastic bags. I have influenced my dad to use the big reusable plastic bags you find at stores for 99 cents, instead of having to use 5 plus plastic bags to carry our groceries. It may not seem like a whole lot, but once you start noticing how many people use plastic bags when they go grocery shopping a year, and how many plastic bags we’ve ended up “saving”, so if people would go and buy 2 -3 reusable bags. They’ll end up reducing our plastic bag problem. Through Tiktok, I’ve come across small businesses that are encouraging consumers to be eco-friendly. There are new technologies that have been produced in order for us to cut down our plastic bottle problem, yet I had not realized because it was not being promoted. I’ve seen that there are some refill stores, where you take your own container and refill it, you can also buy sustainable loofa, soaps. If you do not live near, they will ship it to you and it’ll come in a biodegradable box and tape, so it won’t harm the plant. I plan to start shifting to a more eco-friendly and sustainable way of living, as a college student I cannot switch in a day, but I hope that when I do start changing my way of living that those around me will be inspired and start implementing those ways as well. This will hopefully spread like fire and allow those closes to them to also start changing their ways of living.

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