Sep 23, 2022
I think that most actions, unfortunately, will have some negative effects, but we can make our world more just by coming up with a middle ground for all the parties involved whenever making ecological decisions. A big component of this is ensuring that all parties are a part of the discussion and are respected as equal parts, be it in businesses, corporations, governments, or other institutions. Ensuring representation at different levels of decision-making, but particularly higher levels, will help. To increase representation, we need to make this employment accessible to underrepresented communities, as well (e.g., outreach to indigenous high schools to provide these career paths as potential options). We also need to start incorporating environmental values and ethical discussions into our education system - not just as a separate subject, but as a part of everything that we already study. This will help us engrain values of our relationship to the land and increase our empathy for others with different perspectives. A lack of connections to others (including the environment) is what allows those in powerful positions, mentally, to disconnect from our responsibilities. We need to rediscover and expand our empathy, so that wherever people are present, a consideration for justice is also present.
Sep 19, 2022
I envision a future where present happiness and future sustainabilty are not at odds with each other. Our society tends to believe that protecting the environment must come at the cost of a good lifestyle. I don't think "sacrificing" these comforts and/or returning to an agricultural society is the goal. Rather, we must take the time to understand how to exist as a part of the environment, rather than as this dominating force that takes. We must evaluate our understanding of what makes us happy and what happiness is. Diamond rings make people happy because they are a symbol of love and commitment, and it's now tradition. But these are things we can change, if we do it together. If one person doesn't buy a diamond ring, they will be seen as inadequate. If thousands don't, then buying rings will be a dying tradition. That's the power we have. Our self-image and worth is so heavily dependent on what we have and lack. Those with money remind us of everything we don't have, and feelings of inadequacy rise, even if our lives are good, motivating us to search for money and things to buy at the cost of the environment. Shifting our priorities from excess to meaningfulness is what we need. Some of this is producer-driven. They want profits, so planned obsalescence occurs or exploitation. However, even their desire for profits would change, if we did not value hot tubs and indoor pools and extravagance as much. What if those who spend their money on excess were viewed differently, rather than revered - would we still want their lives? What we can do right now is repair things, understand the ephemeral nature of trends and dismiss them, and change our actions and even traditions to benefit the environment and ourselves (rather than either or). And... work together. Making these changes together is what will spark change. I already see it in all the posts here. We're all talking about the same thing and desire a very similar future, so we should take steps towards applying it, be it in reducing our daily consumption, striving for jobs that help the environment (or don't encourage consumption), or educating others about consumption and how to lead a meaningful life. Awareness of companies manipulating us to increase our consumption means we don't have to be victims to it, and we don't have to be perpetrators in the destruction of the environment.
Sep 16, 2022
My name is Vani Gupta, and I'm a fifth-year Biology major. Most of the courses in my degree are about ecology, evolution, and evolutionary ecology. I really love animals and plants and the diversity that exists in nature. It is incredible to see how different species have come to exist and how they have utilized and adapted to their environments. Our impact on the environment is devastating, and that is made so much worse by the fact that it's an issue that's ignored or deemed to be a lower priority. As an individual, I also feel that I don't have the power to truly make a difference. This is why I took ENVR 430. I wanted to learn how I could help in a meaningful way, whether that's as an individual, by understanding what needs to be done, and/or by entering fields and jobs where I have influence over larger-scale actions and decisions. As a Biology student, my courses have been very specific and structured, and while we do go over the problems of loss of biodiversity and environmental degradation, we don't discuss as much what we can do to resolve it at an individual and industry level. This course seems to be far more interdisciplinary and focused on finding strategies, solutions, and ways to empower people, and I am excited to be a part of this learning experience. I'm grateful to be exposed to a platform like CoSphere, and I hope we can really use this to reach people and #UnleashValues!