The video “Guns, Germs, & Steel” explained how geography played a major role in determining the success of a nation. Geography determined what kind of food people would eat and their lifestyle. In Jared Diamond’s words, it determined the haves and haves not. Now you understand why nations like Rome and the Egyptians were so successful back then while many other nations were so far behind. It was because the availability of all their natural resources. It allowed them to create new technologies that made them produce a lot more for their communities. Food was the only currency back then. It’s funny because when you hear theories like the survival of the fittest and then you watch this movie, you can’t help but not understand why New Guinea was so far behind. They were definitely fit and able to survive. It’s just the rate that they were able to produce in terms of food was limited because of their location and the available resources around them. So one can say that geography place a major rule in determining if a community is sustainable or not.
Regenerative studies has opened up my eyes. Before this class, I viewed the world in linear way. I didn’t take the environment into consideration as much as I needed to in my daily life. Sure I recycle and try to conserve as much energy as I can, but those are the bare minimum compared to what I have learned in this class that I can do. A couple of major things that I am going to take out of this class is my view on true cost and waste equals food. I love technology, and I always like upgrading to the new things. But now when I see the true cost that goes into making those new tech toys, it breaks my heart knowing all the damage that is caused to the environment just because of a new tech toy. Also, I can’t waste anything no more. I got to donate more to charities, just because I have no use for it anymore doesn’t mean someone else can’t use it. Changes our coming, we are already witnessing the consequences of our mass consumption ways. Who is going to be ready? Who is going to embrace the change when they need to? I believe me taking this course is definitely the step in the right direction.
In Chapter 6 of Jacob’s “The Nature of Economies” reading it describes how organisms have traits that prevent it from destroying its environment. They are definitely surviving because of the environment, consuming what they need. The interesting thing is that those organisms are using just enough so it doesn’t use up those resources for the future. These traits are crucial to their survival, but do we have these traits as well? I would like to say yes based off that we still have resources from our environment that we used throughout our human existence, but then I think about all the things that we don’t have much of anymore. Like our water supply, global warming, extinct animals, and food. We all had something to do with these problems and that does not sound like the traits we are talking about. We rather invest our time in creating new technologies that use environment resources and mass consumption. How long do we got? We can learn a lot from nature and I’m hoping us migrating over to an ecological worldview will help us survive.
My reaction to the interview of the Chilean economist was great. He explains that economists know everything about economics but they don’t truly understand it. He gives an example of when he was living in a poor area and he had nothing to say to a man that lived in that area. He states that he saw the man standing in mud while raining, and there was nothing to say to him that would mean anything. Essentially there was a language barrier. He couldn’t just go into stats on why there is poverty and why he was living that way. He just understood why. I believe it is crucial to understand things. If we learn things and understand them then we probably won’t do the things that we do. For instance, if the government understood poverty then they probably wouldn’t be so greedy. Greed is damaging us and we have to come together to change it.
In the reading “Voices of the Founders” by John Schwarz explains how we came up with the idea of our independence. It was thought that a citizen would always be thinking within the “public interest.” Everything needed to be earned and there would always be work available. Our founding fathers believed that we wouldn’t be jealous of immigrants because there would be so much vacant land as is. Boy, how that has changed. It’s funny because our founding fathers went through this with England but somehow thought that we would be different. Benjamin Franklin believed that only “Virtuous people are capable of Freedom.” They were vital to the survival and success of self-government and a free republican society. They had the right idea in mind but didn’t account for our growing diversity of citizens. Competition has made it a little harder to achieve that American Dream that we were once known for.
In the reading, “Back to Reality,” I really like the idea of cities replacing imports with local production. It helps that city become a wealthy nation because they don’t have to worry about the cost of importing goods. I believe that the United States should do more of this. Example, the US in the past relying heavily on imported oil. Imagine the costs that went into that? If we focused on how we can make renewable energy in our own home like with solar, wind, or water, then we would truly prosper. Doing this would bring so many new jobs, savings on costs on imports, and also making us sustainable. Like it says in the reading, “Economic life develops by grace of innovating; it expands by grace of import-replacing.” Sure the labor would cost more money but we would still come up on top if we calculated the costs of importing goods.
It makes you think twice when you see where your food comes from. For these local farmers it was like a walk in the park for them. The tolerance they have for killing these chickens is remarkable to me. It makes me grateful knowing we have people doing this stuff on the front end because there is no way I could get use to that lifestyle. The whole cycle from raising the chickens from when they are young is not an easy job. It’s a system that they need to follow to the tee. What an experience!
The video RIP! A Remix Manifesto showed how copyright laws relates to sustainability. In the system of our current culture, corporations play a large part in regulating the copyright laws of our creations. Whether it be a song, movie, book, etc… Makes you wonder if that system would still exist without these laws. I believe it would still exist, but the amount of content that would be available would be vastly decreased compared to what we have today. We take for granted all the content we have available to us. I definitely agree with anti-piracy laws because piracy is putting companies out of business. Granted that not all content out there is not worth the money, but hard work was still put into it and we got to appreciate other peoples careers. So in this system, it’s the regulation aspect that keeps it a system, just like many other systems that we see today.
The documentary Gasland is another prime example of the government regulating laws to benefit these big gas corporations. Money talks, even if it is our own government. The documentary showed the new process of gathering gas in our own country. Government figures why pay for transportation of gas internationally when we can dig up our own gas from right underneath us. What that means is more profit, problem is we are messing up our country. Fracking is when these gas refinery’s drill into the ground, release these toxic chemicals to cause these mini earthquakes which in turn forces the gas to rise up. It is damaging our environment tremendously. How can these companies still exist when we know there are plenty of alternate sources of energy. Looks like we are still in the industrial way of thinking. It’s sad to see this. Families having to move because their ground water is undrinkable. So many bad things just happening right underneath our noses.
Dan Pink’s video really nailed my experiences with my work life. Everytime I was excited to go to work was because there was a project that I was working on and responsible for. There was a “purpose.” It’s weird because I really don’t like going to work but when I was assigned a project, it just always wanted to make me work harder. It was like my baby that I was taking care of. To watch it grow and develop gave me some sort of satisfaction. Dan Pink mentions this in the video. Rather than just a routine, when a worker had to use his problem solving skills and innovation skills they tended to enjoy it more and perform better. Even without a raise involved they were being more productive. How important is that for a company trying to be profitable? I use to work in retail and managers were always just barking orders and wanting numbers to grow. It wasn’t a good experience and employees seemed miserable and unmotivated. Companies like these can really benefit from Pink’s research. It gives you a different perspective on what drives companies and what determines their success. And just like how a system is built from top to bottom, the same goes for business. Without employees they are not going to be successful, so why not give the employees the best experience possible while impoving your growth? Allow them to contribute with their minds rather than with their hands.
In the Blink reading it was interesting to find out how we associate things/people unconsciously with prior associations. It’s hard to believe that this won’t change over time as new practices become more common. In the reading it mentions that there is this test called the Implicit Association Test that measures our beliefs and behaviours. After taking a couple of them you find out that you are more biased than you thought you would be. It makes you understand why certain people are more successful than others regardless of their skills. When you think of a tall man person, you instantly think masculine, strong, leader, or succesful. Compared to a short man you think of inferior, weak, or follower. But are these assumptions correct? Just like how you say don’t judge a book by its cover, it should go the same for people. Problem is, as soon as we associate that person with something else, we instantly stop looking under the cover, and that’s where we need to change. Because if we just go by the cover, then we are missing out on a lot of talented people that can contribute to a better world/business. So using this IAT test is a powerful tool when predicting how someone is going to act in a certain situation. People will always judge, but knowing what’s right from wrong will help us become better people.
According to the reading, “Here Comes Everybody,” the idea of emergence has been in existence ever since the slime mold. In the beginning, slime mold was thought to have pacemaker cells that commanded the other cells to organize and grow. As it turns out, these cells were self-evolving on their own from the bottom up. This idea of emergence from the slime mold has influence many of our communities and technologies today. Think about Netflix, where over time it gets familiar with the shows and movies you like and recommends new ones based on your history. It’s a self evolving application that requires no input or command to recommend a movie based on your likes. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. Emergence is not only present in technology, it’s actually present in our communities and nature. It’s just something that evolves naturally, through survival of the fittest or just that will to organize and grow together. Think about ants and what they do to help their colony. Sure they have a queen to protect, but that queen is not the reason why they are self-organizing insects. It’s exciting and scary to think about all the new technologies that are going to be self-organizing. A lot of them will be beneficial to us, but I have to believe that some are actually going to hurt us.
In Bill McDonough’s video, he recommends we build communities/cities like forests. Something that is self sustainable. We have to get out of the industrial way of thinking and get into the ecological way of thinking. He demonstrates many different types of blueprints that utilize the natural resources that we have abundance of and use it as part of our building thinking process. Examples like using solar energy, designing buildings to utilize the natural wind as ventilation for the building, using safe building materials and using the roofs as safe habitats for certain species. Using this type of thinking can vastly increase our quality of life. We can reduce the cost of energy, so much to the point where the building pays for itself. Imagine what that can do for our economy and most importantly ensuring better quality lives for future generations. We got to do something quickly, we are at the point where the energy sources that we have been relying on mostly are depleting, Not only are they depleting, but they are affecting our environment when we try to extract them. This goes back to building a city like a tree. Where does the tree get its energy from? Where does it’s waste go? If we start thinking of buildings like this, we are going to see a huge change in the quality of our lives. We just have to change our old bad habits. We have to change our thinking process.