Statement of purpose, ii
November 18, 2008
Social justice through Environmental Stewardship
Social justice through environmental stewardship: a long string of words which simply entertain the notion that the only way to address today’s social problems is to address that of a fragile environment as well. Environmental stewardship is a concept or personal ethic which guides one to seek integration of several areas of community life to achieve the great goal of sustainability of resources in such a way that will extend or improve life on this earth for everyone. In seeking social justice, one must also weed through the various causes of family and community deterioration, such as wasteful consumerism in a tight budgeted economy.
Being that there are several avenues one can go down to incorporate these two issues in a constructive way, it is not always easy to decide which one to take. However, my background in interior design and building technologies, sociology, anthropology, and family and consumer sciences, has given a base for recognition that issues weighing heavily on society and the world at large put direct strain on the American family.
Experiences with the Tarahumara peoples of Chihuahua, Mexico during a crisis of famine caused by drought and McComb, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina show an inextricable link between environment and social problems of families affected. Believing in the truth that “you can give a man a fish and feed him for a day, but teach him to fish and feed him forever”, makes the idea of working through issues from a more intimate level within communities appealing. What I learned especially from those situations is that Band-Aids only hold for so long in a crisis, but teaching people to live in a way that may lessen the brunt of a crisis before it occurs is more helpful. Also, building a strong sense of pride in their homes and faith in their communities to help one another can allow people to see the effects they have in the world and how important their roles in making positive ones can make people think twice about the weight of their personal decisions.
Being that stewards are the role models for the younger generations to look up to and learn from, parents and primary care takers of young children can make a huge impact in the future of the children if given the right tools. As money is tight nationwide and workdays are becoming increasingly longer to make ends meet, family health emotionally and physically can often get pushed onto the back burner, until symptoms are too large to ignore. However, there are several ways to help stimulate the healthy growth of a child by taking the time early in their lives to provide a safe and clean home and teach them responsibility through role modeling and play. Creating a good foundation for children in their early years will ultimately better their adult life and decision making. Incorporating actions of environmental stewardship through home activity as well as community involvement can be done if we as a society start to see our children as the gems that they are, as well as seeing what we have around us that can be utilized creatively.
Through classes as social problems in America; social deviance; criminology; gender, race and class; and even the addictive process and propaganda, I learned how our society works. How we treat one another based on social precepts brings understanding of the types of consumers we are of this world, and why we feel certain wants as needs, and how to redirect those desires positively. Through classes such as color and light in interior design, chemistry of consumer textiles, and building materials and finishes I learned not only just the aesthetic components of the home but also how color, lighting, and chemicals affect the general well being of people in homes as well as how to design efficiently for the economy and energy. Family development over the life cycle; Bodies, spaces, places, time and things; relationships; and my experiences as a nanny for children of special needs I learned the challenges of raising families through adversity as well as how individuals relate to one another in this culture and how to reach seemingly unreachable kids. Through my art classes and relationships to dance and music in the cognitive processes of infant and toddlers, I learned how to ease transitions and learning through creative and highly energetic means.
In continuing this process of helping households become homes that become community, I will be taking courses in child development, Birth-2, family economics, society and technology, planning for communities, social issues and ethics, environmental ethics for a more comprehensive arrangement of skills to help working class parents feel empowered in a non-abrasive way.
Along with my coursework incorporating social concerns and illustrating that the power of simple changes, I am planning to host a Boone version of a program from the West Coast called “swap-o-rama mama” in which the community gets involved in donating clothes and infant items, with the opportunity to trade for what they need. As well there will be on –hand volunteers with sewing skills who can revitalize or reconfigure outfits from favorite items, including the ever-popular baby blankets, in exchange for the opportunity to sell their own crafts, clothing or accessories. This process started in revolt to the amount of waste that good clothing materials take up in landfills as well as redeeming value from used items people felt original in the process, coming home with creations that are truly one of a kind in a fun community building exercise. Extra items or proceeds go to benefit organizations such as “women to work”. Having been involved in a large chain of traders of clothing and other expensive items through many children’s first three years, I saw the power of saving money, which freed people to have more fun with their families, knowing there was a network to help; but the ability to return the favor is empowerment of a much larger scale. Sustainability of this earth depends on the ability to convince people why it is worth it. If you reach out to people where they are and impact them directly in a positive and approachable way, you spread the seeds that will eventually lead to a great flourishing of our global community.