From all what we own, how much is really necessary to live? Do we really need about 10 pairs of shoes or a huge closet filled with clothes? The more we buy, the more harm we are doing to our own future. It’s just that when we buy most of the goods, we think only about the momentary happiness and not about our happiness or safety in the long run. Another reason for this sky-rocketing consumerism, maybe the fact that people are not actually educated enough about this field. Most of the people are not aware of the damage the goods they buy have on the planet or they are aware of it but only think about the satisfaction they get in that moment. Commercialization and consumerism have the power to brainwash us and embed the want for higher salaries and more goods. Does buying stuff really make us happy? We soon get fed up of what we bought and we tend to buy something even better in a few weeks’ time. Research have proven that more the people aspire materialistic goals, lower their happiness. This actually has led to depression, anxiety and abuse. Consumerism also affects our social relationships. Nowadays most of the kids are possessed by a TV, Gameboy or a play station when they could actually be making real-life connections with friends and appreciating the environment. Scientists have proven that materialism and pro-social is like a see-saw. As materialistic value goes up, the pro-social value goes down. Research also have shown that we tend to buy more when we are feeling insecure. This feeling of insecurity can be easily got rid of, if we talk with our family or take a walk. One of the best ways to reduce consumerism is to show the intrinsic value of nature, to grow your own fruits and vegetable etc. And also to see the true beauty of nature and realize the way in which our actions can contribute to its destruction. This way will promote personal, social and ecological well-being. Then as intrinsic values go up, the materialistic value will go down. I feel that we should prioritize the things we really need in life and not the stuff we want in life. This differentiation between the things we need and the things we want has the potential to reduce the damage to our Earth. So the next time you feel like changing your phone or your laptop or buy a pair of new shoes, ask yourself whether you really need it.
A. M Ovini H Amarasinghe
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One of the key ways we form environmental beliefs is through childhood experiences that help shape who we are and where we will go. As a child I remember going fishing with my dad or always playing outside with my friends. I lived in suburbs but we still had a little “forest” behinds us, which everyone referred to as the woods. It was a scary place at first it was darker, colder, and who knows what was in there but as kids we got over that fast we started making forts. We would build teepees and then eventually just sort of made a fort out of the open space and trees. I can remember the first day we were officially down with the fort we had a cook out and all went into the woods with our food but my biggest memory was laying in the snow and listening to the snow as it fell on the forest ground. Little did I know exploring the woods, listening to the all the sounds would shape me so much.
I always enjoyed just taking a moment and just listening to your surroundings. In Clifton you hear cars and people but when you’re in nature its so much more special you hear all the little critters, the rustle of the wind and no one else. These early experiences were the kick start to my appreciation of nature and it wasn’t until high school when I first took AP environmental studies and joined Turtle Club (where we would track turtles at the Cincinnati Nature Center) that I decided I wanted to take that appreciation to the next level and further my education towards the natural sciences. My experiences as a child and teenager lead me to wanting to major in Environmental Studies and these experiences continue to drive my passion to travel the world and see all its has to offer.
A large portion of our discussion in class centered around the motivation for decisions that are related to diet. As a previous vegetarian (I went through a “save the cows” phase in high school), I definitely am aware of the humanizing of animals that can take hold of certain areas of our lives, specifically, our diets. I also watched Ted Talks videos like “Plant-strong & healthy living: Rip Esselstyn at TEDxFremont” that encouraged my vegetarian diet (which was really a great experience). The motivation behind my lifestyle change was two-fold. I love animals-I watched too many videos that showed the horror of mass production of meat. On the other hand, it was a health decision. The only reason I stopped was because of convenience and I didn’t think I was eating as healthy because I’d chow down on greasy french fries and onions rings, all in the name of being a vegetarian-which was something I never indulged in before I stopped eating meat. Also, food is a huge part of many different cultures. When I spent a summer in Bolivia, I would’ve missed out on so much if I didn’t embrace the unique that makes Bolivia the country that it is.
I researched a study that was done on the motivation behind vegetarian diets and this is what it consisted of:
<This qualitative study explored the motivations of vegetarians by means of online ethnographic research with participants in an international message board. The researcher participated in discussions on the board, gathered responses to questions from 33 participants, and conducted follow-up e-mail interviews with 18 of these participants. Respondents were predominantly from the US, Canada and the UK. Seventy per cent were females, and ages ranged from 14 to 53, with a median of 26 years. Data were analysed using a thematic approach. While this research found that health and the ethical treatment of animals were the main motivators for participants’ vegetarianism, participants reported a range of commitments to environmental concerns, although in only one case was environmentalism a primary motivator for becoming a vegetarian. The data indicate that vegetarians may follow a trajectory, in which initial motivations are augmented over time by other reasons for sustaining or further restricting their diet.>
We college students live lives of constantly doing things whether it is studying, socializing, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Group projects, work, going to the gym, attending events, going to class, it’s rare that we take time and look at nature. We almost spend more time learning about nature than we do taking a step back and appreciating it. I think its good that we are learning all of these things and our impact on nature and what we can do to keep its beauty. Over spring break I took some time to go fishing, I think everyone has their different ways of taking nature in and I typically do it fishing. I had some time over break to step back and think about how I haven’t really experienced all that it has to offer, I have lived in Cincinnati my whole life. I have been to florida and the ocean is great, but after going to jackson hole wyoming a couple years ago and climbing mountains I really got a taste for how amazing it is, I think what makes it so special is how unpopulated it is. I was thinking I want to take another trip like this soon to really take in all that nature has to offer and I found this article which has a list of all of the amazing places where nature can be appreciated.
Typically pictures don’t do nature justice when seeing them, but this list has me excited especially because these places are just a short while away, save up some money and take action towards these destinations is my goal. But for the time being I want to get out more in the nature I have at my finger tips. Nature is everywhere you just have to take a step back and see it.
During the meditation session that we had last week, the first thing that I thought about was the desert when we asked to think about a place. When I was back home, I used to go to the desert with my family and friends almost every winter. During the winter, those spots are amazing in ways bordering on magical. I thought of the cold chilly nights with the family around the fire. The endless space in the desert is really fascinating. After the meditation session I felt good, and I decided to attend other meditation sessions outside class because I believe these meditations are helpful.
Meditation considers as an inspiration station. Basically, the meditation session gives your mind the chance to have a break from mundane thinking, takes your claws out of your thoughts. Sara Lazar, Ph.D., the study’s senior author, said, “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day.”
There was a study that consists of 16 participants in an eight-week stress reduction course. Everybody was instructed on how to practice the exercises that they received, which were 27 minutes practicing the meditation, besides the normal exercises such as walking, washing dishes, and so on. MRI scan of participant’s brains were taken before and after the meditation exercise to observe the differences. The MRI scans showed that participants who had the meditation had a large amount of gray matter concentration within different parts of their brains, which those regions involve emotion regulation, sense of self, memory.
The meditative exercise we did right before spring break, where we had to close our eyes and invision a previous experience we had in nature, made me realize I haven’t had too many positive experiences. When ever I go on vacations or even at home, the closest I get to enjoying nature is tanning by the pool. Doing this exercise right before I went on vacation to Florida for spring break, made me enjoy it more. Instead of being so quick to run to the nearest mall or bar, I feel like I appreciated the weather more. I walked more places instead of ubering and ate outside in the fresh air more then being in the air conditioner.
Many people nowadays deal with serious stress. College kids know this best, I swear. The real question is, though, how are they truly dealing with their stresses? Well, for me, i take it out on nature. When classes have me feeling overwhelmed or ready to rip my hair out, I go outside and soak it up. There is just something about sitting in the grass and staring up at the sky and trees. It’s like nature has no worries, i mean it’s beautiful and obviously smart since it inhabits the whole world.. lol. But the fact of the matter is, it has more worries than any of us.
Global warming and us as humans destroying the environment is a very real thing. You’d think we would take care of the thing we all have to live in but nope. Thats us humans for ya. The fate of the environment is in our hands and if you look around, its beautiful at first then you notice the litter, the the cracks in the sidewalks, the pure laziness of taking care of our Earth. It’s a sad fate that we are creating for the environment around us, causing us to create more stress on our environment and essentially on ourselves. We are the ones making the mess that one day, we will have to clean up. We’re here at school using all our time to study something that will get us a job one day. That job will make us money. We will take that money and put it towards things we want, need, and things that are destroying the life that we have used up all our time on. Think of the last time you properly followed directions on how to save the earth. Less paper, less aerosol cans… anything. We haven’t in a long time and we know that. We’re a stubborn group of humans thats for sure and we are consuming our environment one day at a time.