Hope From a Hopeless Heart

Over the course of this semester thus far I have been made aware of the different wicked problems that have plagued our planet. There are issues regarding environmental sustainability, economic stability, and social wellbeing that simmer together to make a very evil and continuously overflowing pot of junky situations that are hard to swallow and even harder to clean up. In efforts to solve one problem, another problem is made increasingly larger. The issue of sustainability is an ever tipping scale of inequality that has little hope of ever being balanced. This lack of hope is heavy and therefore my heart is weighed down all the more as I become increasingly educated on the destruction of beautiful creation that can only be solved by destruction of the livelihood of the creation dwelling in it. This heart that is weighed down by hopelessness paradoxically creates a small glimmer of hope because of its existence and continued stride towards a deep care for the land, humanity, and joyous opportunities that are positioned around it. 

I am in awe of the many perspectives of these wicked problems and how they are presented in class each week. Environmental sustainability is no new concept to anyone who has ever been in earshot of cable news or entertained green hippie classmates or even proceeded past the first grade that addressed the sin and legalities in littering. I have never before heard the idea that these problems have no solution, or that the solution would create unsustainability for other important aspects of life. There is a great divide that is widened every day as individuals argue for a sole concept of sustainability while grasping harder onto their beliefs as they are challenged with the arguments of others. This contibites even more wickedness to the problem that has been created by humans that had the desire of bettering the lives of themselves and others. People still have that interest at heart, but have different approaches to improvement. Each week I learn about views from more than one source, and I am taught that there are so many potential solutions to this ever increasing problem.

Some of these perspectives include arguments for the free market model, government regulation, support for the ever changing fashion industry, and a push for mindfulness that encourages less consumption. I personally really resonate with the free market trade concept because I believe in the power of choice. In reflection over the choices I have made that have either contributed to or lightened the load of negative impacts on the environment, I see where I have faulted in my reasoning for many purchases that I have made. I see a lot of opportunity for my personal choices to positively support good stewardship of environmental creation, increasing productivity of the economy, and the people who create the items I consume. Do I need to purchase new clothes whenever there is a mass sale? No, because I will grow tired of it shortly due to my rushed indulgence in retail therapy, and therefore I will discard the forgotten pieces to a landfill that my environment will never be able to forget. Do I need to choose quantity out of quality because I have conditioned myself to think it has a lighter impact on my wallet? No I do not because chances are those cheaply produced items contributed to the physical destruction of my environment and the social destruction of the worker. Do I need to choose trendy fashions that the people around me are sporting all over campus? No I do not because not only will I regret the choice as I look back one day in my college photo album, but I am contributing to a society that will never be satisfied with the overconsumption that occurs each and every day in our broken world.

I want to start choosing timeless pieces to express my love for the places I have come from and the opportunities that lie ahead. I want to enjoy the air I breathe, the soil I walk on, and the beauty I observe around me. I want to support the lost people of the world who are continuously taken advantage of. I want to work on my own daily choices that drive so many choices of the industry and people who run it. My experience in this class has heightened my views of what sustainability can look like, and how personal it is to each individual on the journey. I appreciate the education this class has provided of not only the impacts that our efforts have on the environment, but also the allowance of opposing views on how to address the issue. To accept the diverse experiences of each individual and extend empathy towards the personal choices they have made. There is no right answer to these problems because there are too many problems to address with solutions that negatively impact the other. A lot of times an individual has to pick and choose their cause, and there has been great division in what that should be. 

This division can work to create unity however. Educating ourselves to make choices that have little negative impact on the other areas of conflict is the key to a unified contribution to the betterment of planet earth and the inhabitants of it. Support of one person’s efforts although they may not look identical to the ones you are making. Accepting that we are all trying to achieve a better life for ourselves and others. We can not over extend our own energy or personal resources out of a desire to fix the problems that plague this world because this prideful approach further contributes to the problem of overconsumption. Moderation is the key to letting the potential that lies within all beautiful things to flourish into its greatest fulfillment of its role. When we over consume, overwork, overplay, overthink, overdo, or too anything that is not within the realm of capabilities for limited resources and beings, all of our efforts go to the destruction of ourselves and others around us. Let us humble ourselves to work hand in hand with others to make a beautiful place to live and grow in even if that means the place they rest is different than our own. Let us slowly dig our way out of our hopeless hearts by clinging to the hope that is magnified by working side by side with others.

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