POV on Poverty

This week in class we discussed the topic of poverty. Two articles were presented, one with the point of view of no and one with the point of view of yes, I had the privilege of reading the yes article. After reading the yes article I do believe that poverty plays a role in pollution and environmental degradation, but there are larger issues that cater to the issue of poverty itself. There were two different sides of poverty that were discussed within this article, one was Urban poverty and one was rural poverty. Poverty tends to lean more towards the side of people who live in urban areas that are using their income to put towards all of their needs and trying to make ends meet, and rural poverty caters towards those who live in more rural areas that have limited resources available to them. One issue  that contributes to Urban poverty is that of overpopulation in larger cities, not even in just the US but also all around the world on an international level. After discussing these articles in class in the issues that pertain to both of them we were split up into breakout rooms and in my breakout room there were two people that read than no article and two people that read the article.

We were asked to evaluate whether or not large corporations could use their platforms to help those in need. This meant that the larger corporations could help provide resources or benefits to those that are poor. My group came to the conclusion that there were two different sides to this issue and it could play out either way. The corporations could use this opportunity to build on a community basis with those struggling with poverty and help people get back on their feet or it could be kind a scenario of the big corporations providing resources and helping create communities for these people and then expect something in return from them. 

This week I really enjoyed the mindfulness practice of coloring the mandala with three colors that speak to me. I actually got into the coloring scene a few years back in high school just trying to help me cope with anxiety and everything was going on in life. So I really appreciated that we were given the opportunity to use this exercise to kind of clear our minds and let go of some of the stress we have all been experiencing this semester even if it was just for a few minutes. 

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Poverty – Who is to Blame?

This week in class we discussed poverty and environmental degradation. Like most, I had already had my own definition of poverty but poverty is a social condition of chronic insecurity resulting from the malfunctioning of economic, ecological, cultural and social systems, causing groups of people to lose the capacity to adapt and survive and to live beyond minimum levels of satisfaction of their needs and aspirations. With poverty comes the topic of environmental degradation. As with most issues there is two sides to the story. Many believe that the primary source of wealth is natural resources and that the poor derive their livelihood from “primary economic activities.”  However, the opposing argument states that poverty and the environment share a more complex relationship. They claim that is dependent on the local analysis and if corporations are playing a role.

The Rural areas struggle with poverty for many reasons, one of which being the low levels of resource availability. Unlike urban areas there is little government assistance or transportation which inhibits ones ability to reach out for help or travel to a job. Another challenge they face is that manufacturing has placed heavy emphasis on the use of  fossil fuels which are increasing the atmospheric pollution.

Unlike rural poor, urban poor often has a wide range of resources they can reach out to. However, even though they exist they are much more crowded due to the density of the urban poor population. With the growing population in urban areas they also face an issue of overcrowding. As areas become gentrified they are slowly pushing the poor farther and farther out.

In the article it mentions enabling the poor to gain control over the resources and to capture a larger portion of the potential revenues of them through the development of systems of marketing and payment for environmental services. I was a tad bit confused on this but assume this refers to people in poverty working in the environmental services area. I find this to be a great idea. Giving people that are homeless or in need a job and something to do that is necessary to improve our environment.  If we focused our efforts on sorting recycling or inspection landfills we could prevent unnecessary and hazardous waste. .

This week our mindfulness practice was to color the mandala. I thoroughly enjoyed this assignment. For me art has always been a way to relax, however, I normally opt for starting from scratch. I realized while I was coloring that sometimes in my work the stress of messing up makes it unrelaxing. I noticed this stress was non- existent while coloring the mandala. I believe that by coloring in premade designs I relax just a smidge bit more. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed coloring the mandala and actually ended up getting out my coloring book later in the week. I will most definitely be participating in this for of mindfulness practice more often.

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Corporation’s Role in Poverty

This week in Wicked Problems of Industrial Practice we read about different ways large companies should invest in people in poverty. I really enjoyed the example that Professor Armstrong showed us in class of a city that built “halfway houses” for people who could not afford their own houses. They built half of the house for the people and they were to finish the rest however they feel. I feel that this really encourages people living in poverty to do better for themselves. This gives them a starting point where they can only go up and they know that people care. If the government can support impoverished people in shelter, better sanitation, and jobs, this can take a lot of stress off of the environment and of course the people. I read the “Yes” argument and that basically stated that poverty does in fact cause environmental degradation and it also has a direct relationship.  This side of the argument also said that good governance is the way to help this issue. When my group came together and discussed the Yes and No sides, we all decided that the Yes side was very valid. We agreed that good governance can help the environmental degradation by helping the poor. We also agreed that through helping these people, large companies can benefit also. Many people in poverty will take any job they can get, and by the companies allowing them to take the jobs that no one else wants to do, the company can fill needed jobs and the poor can support themselves. And when the poor can support themselves, you see less unsustainable materials being used and less waste issues because they can now afford good materials and basic needs such as plumbing. 

The interaction that we are forced to have with the class has really improved my learning ability and understanding of the issues we discuss in class. I really enjoy being able to hear other people’s opinions on these issues and it helps me to be able to form an opinion myself. A lot of my peers are very educated on these topics outside of the readings we do, so hearing from them really broadens my knowledge. In my learning group this week, I was placed with one other Yes reader and two No readers. I really enjoy the way this is set up because it gives me knowledge to both sides. I am still weary to really speak up in these breakout rooms, but I have felt more comfortable doing so over time. This is not only helping me gain knowledge but also interpersonal skills. 

The mindfulness practices during class have really been good for me. They make me slow down and be able to take a brain break. This week I have done a couple mindfulness exercises! Since class I have taken time to finish the mandala and I have used the Calm app before bed. The Calm app gives you many guided meditation sessions, calm playlists, and even mental fitness exercises. I think that doing these guided sleep meditations before bed have really helped me go to sleep faster and sleep harder. It takes my mind off anything I am thinking about and makes me focus on my breath. 

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Who Causes Poverty?

The most recent topic that was discussed during class was the topic of poverty. There were two articles presented to the class this week. Both of the articles discussed poverty and if it contributes to pollution. I read the argument that stated, yes, it does contribute to pollution, but I have mixed thoughts about the article. Under the circumstances that have been presented, I do believe that poverty does contribute to pollution and land waste but there are larger factors that contribute to poverty itself. The article discussed two types of poverty, the first, Rural poverty. Rural poverty focuses on those who live in rural areas and have a limited number of crops which can lead to a limited amount of work available. I believe that big corporations contribute to the issue of Rural poverty. Big corporations rely on those who live in rural areas to produce the goods they need for their companies. The second type of poverty we discussed, Urban Poverty, relates to people who live in urban areas, but receive low incomes and may be putting all of their money towards housing needs and vital resources to survive. The issue of overpopulation in cities contributes to the issue of urban poverty, not everyone has as many opportunities to get the resources they need to live a stable life. 

Whenever we were put into breakout rooms, I was placed with others who had read the yes article, but we discussed many ways that larger corporations could help the poor. We discussed that big corporations could over benefits to those who live in poverty and encourage them to come work for them or offer benefits to those in rural areas who grow resources for larger corporations. Working with classmates in the breakout rooms initially gave me a little anxiety, but it has become easier over the last couple of weeks and it has helped me learn how to communicate with students through a screen. I now feel like I can speak in front of the class, which is something I’ve always struggled with, but I feel more confident when the audience is through a screen. I feel like I am able to connect more with other students because of the breakout rooms. 

Mindfulness practice has been something that I have really enjoyed. It gives me a moment of peace where I can reflect on what is going on in my life and calm down my thoughts. I have always loved coloring to destress and I found this week’s guided meditation very useful. I was able to color a good amount of the mandala throughout the practice, and I have since added more color to the mandala.  The practice of mindfulness has prompted me to slow down and take a deep breath throughout many situations this past week. For example, I had to give a presentation on Tuesday, and right before I had to present, I felt a wave of anxiety come over me but instead of freaking out, I closed my eyes and took at least 20 deep breaths and I reassured myself that everything would be okay. To my luck, the breathing helped calm my nerves down and the presentation went smoothly. Taking a small moment to gather feelings and thoughts can help bring a person back to reality.

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Can’t Blame Who You Don’t Help

  1. My major takeaways from this week’s course topic was different ways of looking at if large corporations should invest in the poor. I believe that shelter, job opportunities, along with better sanitation which can all have a positive impact on the lower classes health can reduce stress on the environment. While talking to my group we all had pretty much the same idea about the fact that not only do job opportunities help the poor but can also be beneficial for the higher class also. The reasoning being, wealthier people for large corporations have many jobs that you sometimes can’t find a lot of people to do, someone who is willing to give out job opportunities can work in the favor for both the upper and lower class. Another reason we found that larger corporations should assist the poor is because with certain social conditions, they were put out in this world without having a choice of being the higher or lower class. If you don’t have money to start with, it’s very hard to get going. Don’t get me wrong it is possible, but some people just have more resources, more strive, or more guidance to get started than others do. 
  2. My thinking has been shaped by interaction with the learning community during class by everyone sharing their input on supporting infrastructure development for the poor. We all talked a lot about sanitation, from living in not such great places or having chemicals in water that create so many diseases for the people who are barely surviving as is. One point I brought up in the discussion was how in urban areas “poor people suffer greatly from air pollution caused by inefficient transportation systems.” My first thought goes to New York, one of the most populated cities in the world. I mean you have taxi’s running nonstop, buses, tour buses. Subways, planes, any type of transportation you can imagine, they’ve got it going. Which is a huge worry because we can’t seem to go without these resources because these are what get us to work, to school, home, to so many places that riding a bike or walking would take days or weeks. It’s not transportation that needs to stop exactly, it’s producing so much air pollution in the first place that need to stop. 
  3. The mindfulness practice assignment for the week was to print a mandala out and find a quiet space, and color from the inside, out. At first I just sat there with my eyes closed for about five minutes just taking deep breaths then we put on ocean music while we calmly colored the mandala and just relaxed for a second. It was super relaxing for me, I love when we take just at least ten to fifteen minutes just to breathe and take a minute because sometimes I forget I really need to do that. So having it be something we have to do in class really helps, especially the coloring exercise we did this week, that’s been my favorite so far. This week’s meditation exercise really helped me, at the beginning of the week, I was looking at everything due, looking at how much time is left in the semester and I absolutely wanted to shut down but just taking some deep breaths for 5 minutes really does take my mind off of things.
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Poverty and The Power Of Mindfulness

This week in class we touched on mindfulness and the importance of mindful practice. It is important to take a second to be still and reconnect with the world around us. My favorite way to do this is through running. Although I enjoyed the coloring, we did in class I found that I gained more from running. The runner’s high is a really thing and something I live. When you hit the distance or speed for it to kick in your mind goes blank the world quiets and for a brief moment during that run the world around you falls silent. By far one of the best feelings in the world and the only time I feel truly at peace no matter how much pain I am in. Pros and cons to that is I can easily over work myself when life gets crazy. Another way I have found to be a great meditative practice is sitting down and spending time with God. Just taking a second in prayer or to journal is so calming and never fails to clear my head. “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God.” – Isaiah 41:10. Another topic we touched on was poverty in rural vs urban areas. Rural poverty often stems from limited access to surrounding suppliers and markets, as well as lower education levels. With that leads to less job opportunities meaning most rural areas work agricultural jobs. These jobs are not stable because they rely a lot on the earth and animals which surpass human control to a point. Whereas if you were working in a refinery or an office job you exercise more control. This in turn leaves areas with an overall poverty level not all by choice just so happens that they were born into that way of life with little means to leave. We discussed in class that there are aa few options to help alleviate some of the poverty in rural areas. One option was to find some kind of fifty – fifty deal with a larger corporation that way both ends benefit,and it doesn’t feel like a burden to the corporation by helping out the underdog. When it comes to Urban poverty some of the top contributing factors stem from the increase in suborn home demand which has drastically increased the prices of the homes making it harder for the everyday person to afford the average home. This has created the urban housing crisis which is sending families into poverty due to them having to rent homes vs purchasing. The problem with renting is that they are losing money with no return value. Whereas when you purchase a home you are paying it off in the end and then have the option to sell the home. Plus, if you purchased your home in an area with a good market or in an area that’s in high demand the value of the home is bound to increase, and you will actually end up making money. There is also a large portion of homeless within cities, but I think a lot of that stems from housing issues and having a hard time keeping a job. On top of that we tend to notice homeless and poor people with in the cities because it’s a heavily growing and rather affluent area that homeless or poor tend to look out of place. Whereas in the rural area it’s just kind of c

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Did We Simply Assign Blame To Those In Poverty?

The idea of consumerism has been embedded into the capitalist society of America and many of its citizens have grown up with the habit of consuming what they desire, then tossing it out when it becomes undesirable. This is a topic I’ve actually been learning in another class as well, and the discussion of the huge amounts of waste we leave behind. It’s truly a terrifying thought to think about, that we’re slowly degrading our earth just by living our lives the way we are. In class, we’ve tried to discuss some of the factors that play into why we do live this way, and why we cannot seem to stop ourselves from overusing the Earth’s natural resources. Last week in specific, we discussed the idea that poverty is a rather direct cause of environmental degradation. Despite going into break out rooms where we were suppose to be with classmates who read an article opposing to our own, I ended with a group of three other people who all had the yes argument; therefore, I couldn’t truly form an opinion of the ‘no’ argument. However, from reading the ‘yes’ argument and hearing the bits and pieces I was able to from the professor and other classmates, I feel like both essays were simply… picking on the poor. 

For some reason, it almost reminded me of Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. Swift’s paper was a satire about those in poverty, discussing why those who are in poverty are simply too unconventional for the other citizens and discussed ways as to how they can slowly weed them out of their society. Of course, Swift’s satire is not meant to be taken seriously by any means, but hearing the arguments these authors were giving reminded me of his satire. The idea that living in poverty, something many people cannot control and many people cannot leave no matter how hard they try, leading to the destruction of the Earth, to me, is asinine. I feel they are simply picking on the poor and assigning blame. I’m not sure if that’s how I’m supposed to feel about these arguments, but those are the conclusions I came to. I was able to discuss with another classmate outside of class, due to the both of us sharing a different class, we came to an agreeance of these arguments solely calling out those in poverty for what they cannot control. Of course, I didn’t share these thoughts with the class, but I wish I had. 

Lastly, I would like to discuss what I’ve done when it comes to my mindfulness activities. I believe that I stated in my last blog that this is my first time doing anything like meditation. If I didn’t state that, then I am now. Last week, I continued my breathing and slowing my mind and thoughts, taking in and becoming aware of my surroundings. In Tuesday’s class, we colored a mandala for our mindfulness activity, and to be frank, I really enjoyed it. I’ve never been a fan of simply sitting down and coloring, but being able to do so then and not having to think about what I was doing was… relaxing in an odd sort of way. So, I decided to add it to my mindfulness practice for the past couple of days. After taking a few moments to settle down and take in my surroundings, I would then print off something I liked and colored it. I didn’t care how it looked in the end, just the process of coloring was something I found to be relaxing.

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learning, living, loving

This week’s topic was super interesting to me. I always wonder how difficult it would be for us to help the people who are poorer than us. I thought it was cool to hear both the No and the yes side of the argument, but I liked what Lucas said in class about the two being almost the same. The answer is yes, but there is a way to fix it. I agreed with that, thinking to myself how there may have been a cause, but there were also many solutions. There were a few solutions that stood out to me more than others and that seemed to make more sense to me, but I thought that all of the solutions were possible. If there is a solution that could benefit everyone, why wouldn’t we want that? Why wouldn’t we want to help the poor? 

My thinking has completely been reshaped by my learning community because of how we interact in class and how we ask questions. I do not usually enjoy working with groups because I have a need for control and like to know what is happening in every situation. However, in this class working with a group is extremely helpful and fulfilling. Every group I have been a part of has asked the hard questions, has been open and excited to share their learning with the group, and has been open to chatting casually and listening to each other’s thoughts. I think that (while breakout rooms stress me out) the breakout rooms have been great because it gives us an opportunity to get to know our peers that thanks to covid we haven’t been able to really meet or interact with like we would have normally.

This week I have practiced mindfulness a lot. Because of how chaotic life is and how busy school has gotten, as finals are coming around, quiet alone time has been very necessary for myself. While I have practiced mindfulness many different times this week, there was one time in particular that I feel like was the best. I was feeling stressed and a little sad for personal reasons. I live in a house with tons of girls and share a room with 3, so alone time is few and far between. As my feelings started to take over and my anxiety went rampant, I decided that a little drive would be a good idea for me. I got in my car and drove to a place in stillwater that held a lot of memories for me. I parked my car, turned to music down to a soft whisper, and closed my eyes. I started to breathe, focusing on my inhale and exhale. I listened closely to the music, the words, the melody, the memories that went along with that particular song. I inhaled deeply, taking note of the smell around me, and how the warm air coming out of my heater was filling my body with warmth with each breath. After about five minutes of breathing I opened my eyes and,,, you guessed it, grabbed my journal. I turned on my car light, opened up the book, and began to write. I carefully took note of all the feelings I was feeling, both good and bad. I looked around and remembered what the spot I was parked at meant to me. I envisioned myself outside of the car. I thought about the future and what that spot would mean to me one year from now, or even five years from now. After carefully thinking through my feelings and thoughts and writing them down I closed my journal and closed my eyes once again. As the soft whisper of the music played I smiled, remembering all the things that I did have, and forgetting the things I was struggling with.

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Industry Impact

The industry impact on over and under consumers is both good and bad. The good would be investing their time in them and giving them opportunities to work and have resources. They develop housing communities, reduce farmer suicides, and participatory planning. The bad would be we can not even help our own selves so how could we help them. Using toxic waste chemicals from their corporations and letting them flow/ manufacture in the poorer areas. Corporations exploit and remove the land. Companies are reliant on the poor to manufacture our materials. Low wage equals mass production. Some compromises are that we should come up with win-win solutions with investing in poor areas. We should also come up with a deal to have the poor rise in the end instead of letting him fall down. Respecting their resources and culture instead of exploiting them. Giving opportunities to grow on their own and not be dependent on us. Poor areas tend to go for the fast fashion because it’s cheaper so the market targets them. The industry uses the behavior of customers who only want to satisfy personal needs. As a consumer I really didn’t know much about how the industry works and how it impacts others. Since I’m learning more I realize that the industry only cares about money and how to get the next big thing out there. A few people want to make a sustainable future but they’re going to need to be more people to understand the bad effect the industry could have. The good part of the industry that is working toward sustainability is good for the future. Rural areas typically have less shops then usual because there are less people and usually those stores stick to one style. In urban areas there are more stores because of population and different types of style options also has more fast fashion type of shops.

For a Mindfulness Practice I color for five minutes. An easy way to reduce stress and anxiety and a better way. It lets me focus on just coloring, nothing else is on my mind besides the colors. It gives me a breather and lets me be present in the moment. It made me realize that I am always thinking about the future, what I have to do in the short amount of time I have, school, j0bs, license. Focusing on coloring and my breathing lets me realive any tension I had in my body. I really like the mindfulness practices that help relax me. Taking a couple minutes out of the day to leave the stress and worries behind.  I think that everybody should take their time to work on themselves and be aware of your surroundings. Throughout all the mindfulness practices coloring is one of my favorites. It’s easier to focus on coloring, the lines, shades, and  colors, than meditation because I feel sleepy every time i’m not doing anything but just sitting there. Finding a practice that really works for you then you could have less stress and anxiety.

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Overconsumption of Anxiety

Industrialization has a major impact on the overconsumption of products and services across the globe. In what ways? – you might ask. One way that industrialization has had a negative impact on the globe through overconsumption is the amount of space a factory takes up in order to accompany machines to manufacture products. In order to fill factories with products, another way of overconsumption, primary economic activities, follow suit. Primary economic activities include hunting for fur, gathering agricultural materials such as cotton, hemp, flax, tearing down forests for building materials, and mining for granite, marble, limestone, and other similar desirable materials. With access to these materials, they are overused and over consumed by the world’s population and shipped across the globe for our own enjoyment and materialistic satisfaction. Overconsumption directly affects the earth as well. By increasingly using more natural resources every year, our climate is breaking down and pollution is skyrocketing. A few companies are starting to recognize the increase of product consumption and waste and they are attempting to create more sustainable products. The lesson our world needs to learn is to be contemptuous of what life has to offer, but social media has only worsened a culture that consistently wants more. 

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been using the ‘Calm’ App for morning meditation. With time inching closer and closer to the end of the school year, it is easy to go to bed anxious, as well as, wake up anxious. Heart racing, mind whirling with ‘what if’ situations, fear of inadequacy creeps into my mind right before I even open my eyes. Will I be able to get A’s in all of my classes this semester? Will I be able to spend time with my friends before we all go back home for break? Should I stay up to finish a project or is sleep more important? Will I bring home a virus to my family that I unknowingly carry? Fears of inadequacy haunt our generation; I believe this fear is what fuels our society to over-consume. When an individual feels inadequate, they tend to turn to what will instantly make them feel purposeful. Individuals feel like they have a purpose when they are getting attention on social media, carrying around the newest iPhone, wearing popular fast fashion, and indulging in other worldly desires in hopes of gaining popularity to distract them from feelings of inadequacy. The surprising thing is that we all know our consistent consumption makes us believe it will increase our status or popularity. What our world needs to accept is that there will always be the next best thing. Even if you buy the newest model of a car, there will only be a short period of time until its an older version. The same is said for fashion and other technology. Companies know that we are creatures of habit and our habit is to want. What can we start to do every day that will strengthen our feelings of self-worth and individuality instead of falling into trends of our world?

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