Tag Archives: Independence

Critical Thinking

Don’t you think we’ve lost the capacity for critical thinking? For losing our discretion when it comes to making decisions… blindly following the strict rules and regulations?

Take for example, the simple yet controversial use of travel mugs. Controversial? Yes, controversial. Allow me to explain. Travel mugs are meant to lower your ecological footprint, making the use of paper cups obsolete… well that is the theory isn’t it. Well, I’ll have you know that I cannot finish the entire contents of my mug IF filled to the brim. So, I always ask for them, the wonderful people behind the counter, to only pour the equivalent of a small in my mug. However, I find myself figuratively scratching my head when they proceed to fill a paper cup first before pouring it into my mug. Heaven forbid they give me a drop too much or a drop too little. Kinda defeats the purpose of using one now doesn’t it. I’m happy to say that this doesn’t happen all the time as now I’m accustom to telling them to fill it half way instead.

Right, back to being a little bit more serious about critical thinking. It is really easy to take everything that bombards us on a daily basis at face value, not digging deeper into the context. Now I’m not going to lie, it’s an arduous task to sift through all the media broadcasts, but is it worth it when the credibility (or lack there of) behind the messages is uncovered? It’s just like thinking about the purpose of that travel mug before filling it with whatever beverage that the customer wants. It’s about using your judgment in estimating that small-sized amount and then asking the customer if that’s enough. It’s about using your intelligence, taking a step back, and processing our intricate world.

Now I could be wrong, so what do you think? Is critical thinking on the decline?

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Ripples

Fact: Starting October 2012, Sheridan college is starting to charge 3 dollars to park after 3:00 pm for those part-time students who do not have permits (Parking Policies). It has been free for all this while… so why change it now?

Well, to answer that question, let me ask you this one: Are higher education establishments becoming money-grabbing institutions? I mean, you have to admit that the cost of pursuing higher education (either via College or University) is ridiculously expensive, like for instance investing in textbooks that will become obsolete in under a year.

Now what does this have to do with “ripples” you ask? Well remember that it only takes a drop of water to cause ripples in a vast body of water… so maybe it will only take a cumulation of small changes like this to start off the vehicle of change. What do you think? Have we, the masses, become mindless drones so overwhelmed with the regular bustle of life that we fail to think critically? Critically enough to push for changes?

You tell me.

Suits, Ties, and Higher Education

I’ve been watching Suits after some extreme nudging from those around me and I’m not going to lie, it’s an amazing show. I mean, what’s not to love! The music is great, the characters are believable, and the fashion is incredible… but it’s the premise of the show that really got to me. Mike Ross, one of the main characters, never went to Harvard and yet he landed an associate position with an extremely popular corporate lawyer Harvey Specter all because of his wit and his gift of memorizing and understanding everything he reads. Aka, he gets a chance to make a lot of money without the education to back him up. But, of course, this is illegal. VERY illegal.

*lightbulb*

This got me thinking about real life. There are brilliant people like Mike Ross out there and yet, they don’t reach their full potential because they lack the higher education. It’s a bold statement to say, but unfortunately it is true. They say that this is the era for opportunities which are readily available to all those who seek it… but is it really? Higher education is expensive and with the economy in such bad shape, why should people spend so much money on degree after degree when the promise of a lucrative job available upon graduation is non-existent? Furthermore, for some families, scrounging up the money for higher education seems like a burden, so some people are deprived of the vital support and funds.

Granted that there are some fields where higher education is needed like, for instance, the medical field. Personally, I would feel a whole lot better being treated by someone who has their credentials. But in that being said, getting the essential education shouldn’t be so hard. Solution? What if obtaining higher education wasn’t so expensive? What if it were, dare I say, free? I’m sure you’d agree with me when I say that that would tap into a wealth of brilliant, disadvantaged people. Then, this would truly be the era of opportunities.

The Post Carbon Era (Part 1)

We know that there exists a destructive spiral that threatens our very existence on earth.  In fact, the very earth itself!  But, the countless statistics and endless information doesn’t quite stick, do they.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that we detach ourselves from the ominous cloud that is resource depletion.  These all happen in third world countries, right?  This doesn’t affect us in the least, right?  WRONG!  I hate to say this, but it is happening in our very backyards with our flagrant and wasteful use of resources: Water is taken for granted and we drive from point A to B to C to Z without thinking of the consequences.  We don’t acknowledge the impending disaster and therefore we don’t care to prepare.  Reading this book, “The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability Crises”, was like a splash of ice-cold water on my face, a reminder that change is necessary!  Let me begin.

Our economy’s foundation is innovation and production, a response to the boom ignited by the industrial revolution.  Since then, the economy has built and built on top of it, the resulting structure to be quite sturdy.  That is, until now.  It has reached a plateau of sorts and is now on the decline.  The solution?  The economy needs to be restructured… easier said than done am I right?  The scary truth is that we are dependant on so many outside sources to get the basic necessities.  What is worse is that these sources are going to fail us soon.  One of the contributing authors, Chris Martinson, is the genius behind the Crash Course, “an online video seminar about our broken economic system, the crisis of our aging population, and peak oil” (Martinson: ©2010).  In his section of the book, he focuses on the problems we will face with food in the post carbon era.  As he points out, “most communities have, at most, a total of three to five day’s worth of food on hand at their local grocery stores and supermarkets” (Martinson: ©2010).  These regular food deliveries are dependant on trucks.  So what happens when that mode of transportation fails due to extreme weather or fuel shortage? … of which, by the way, is bound to happen.  What will happen during the cold canadian winter if we are ever cut off from supplies?  Our lack of self-sufficiency will be our downfall.  We need to solidify our now withering bond with the earth by growing our own food and relying on the surrounding environment to support ourselves.  It’s now about localization, not globalization.

However, restructuring means the destruction of the current structure.  Trust me that when I say destruction, I mean total annihilation.

“Just so you have a sense of the scope and the pace of these changes in our lives I should mention that in 2003 I was a VP at a Fortune 300 Company, forty-two years of age with three young children (the oldest was 9), living in a six-bedroom waterfront house, and by every conventional measure I had it all.  Today I no longer have that house, that job, or that life.  My “standard of living” is a fraction of what it formally was, but my quality of life has never been higher.  We live in a house with less than half the size of our former house, my beloved boat is gone, and we have a garden and chickens in the backyard.” – Chris Martinson

Obviously this cannot happen over night.  The key, as Martinson suggests, is to take baby steps towards becoming self-sufficient.  Start with the smallest possible thing you can do and slowly adapt in response to the pending crises.  These are the necessary sacrifices we will all have to take to live in the quickly approaching post carbon era and this hard dose of reality is very much needed.  This change will happen, there is no question about it.  But are we, as a collective, ready to absorb all this?  Are we ready to attempt at change?  What holds us back?  It’s the fear isn’t it.  The fear of leaving this “paradise” we have built on the foundations of oil consumption.  To go back would mean to leave everyone and everything, right?  Wrong again.  The idea of baby steps is to not severe ties from our carbon life.  It’s about making new connections and networks that will facilitate this healthy lifestyle change.  If we are to involve our community, we first must commit to the change.  As Martinson so eloquently puts it:

“It is up to each of us to inspire others by first inspiring ourselves”

We have the power, we just need to start.

Source:

Martinson, C. “The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability Crises.” (part 15: pg 429 – 441). ©2010 by Post Carbon Institute. Watershed Media, California.