Tag Archives: environment

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What I Do Reflects My Priorities

In my final quarter of college, I took a general exercise biology class taught by two professors. A lot of the material went over my head, but one of the things that I actually retained was the advice to make time to exercise. This simple tip actually shifted my thinking about exercise and goals in general that I eventually adapted it to apply to other areas of my life.

An A-ha Moment

The professors explained: we often tell ourselves or say in conversations that we should or want to exercise but we have yet to do it because we “don’t have time.” They argued, however, that instead of “having” time to do something, the problem is in “making” time; we don’t make time for it. We make time to watch TV or go out with friends, but we fail to make time to exercise, and yet we say or know that it’s important to us. If it’s really important to us, instead of just talking about it, we would find a way to make it happen. How we spend our time shows what’s important to us; what we do reflects our priorities.

Once I realized that, I became very conscious every time I started thinking and using the phrase, “I don’t have time.” Soon after, I stopped thinking that way altogether and shifted my energy to examine why I have yet to exercise and what’s holding me back. Even though it still took me a series of mental and physical hurdles to get back to the gym on a regular basis, knowing that my priorities control my behavior allowed me to start being more responsible for my life and make changes.

Applying the Mindset

When I first started regularly going to the gym, I would only go if I completed that workday’s tasks. On days when things at work ran a little long, I would still try to go to the gym a little later, but it would either delay the rest of my evening’s routine or shorten my workout session to stay on schedule. Either way, I would be bummed. And if I kept my regular gym schedule and put off work until after the gym or the next day, I would feel guilty for putting my personal goals before my work.

What I realized over time is that there will always be work to do, and most of it can wait until the following day, therefore I should head to the gym at my “mentally scheduled” time. Sticking to that schedule, I found, is important to me.

I also realized that exercise actually benefits my work. First, exercise is a great stress reliever. Second, I often come up with solutions to work problems at the gym, when I am away from the desk and my mind has a chance to take a break and get unstuck. Realizing this made it easier to justify sticking to my personal schedule at work and take time out of the day to work on myself. While work is important, I must place more value on my mental, physical, and spiritual health. “I don’t have time for exercise.” just says the opposite. The only acceptable solution in my mind is to make time.

Beyond Exercise

Using the same strategy, I have since been reevaluating everything I do in life. I removed habits that contribute little to my goals, and I added ones that are vital to them. For example, even though I’m a bit of a night owl and I get a surge of energy after I get home from work, I set a goal to go to bed earlier so I can get a full night’s sleep and help improve my body, mind, and spirit. Socially, I learned to be more selective with attending events and gatherings to achieve a better balance between developing valuable relationships and getting enough personal time for myself. At work, I customized my environment using software to help minimize distractions by receiving only notifications that I need and to work on my health at work with reminders to take regular breaks from the computer.

These habits will change and adapt in the future. They may be small adjustments or major overhauls, but the fundamental philosophy driving them will be the same: I will make time for things that are important to me.

See

5, 6, 17, 22, 23.

Negative Carbon Footprint

We’ve heard of the term “zero carbon footprint” in the past few years to bring awareness to the sustainability movement. But even if we all go zero carbon right now, what happens to the years when we didn’t do much about the environment? Don’t we need to do even more than zero carbon and go into the negative territory to bring the environment back to its sustainable state?

I suppose I am sort of looking at this like the national debt. We have a debt, and at the same time we try to balance our annual budget. Even if we don’t have any more deficits, we still have a debt. We need to have a surplus every year to get us back in the black (even though I am told we intentionally will never pay back our debt, for certain economic reasons).

I know that right now, we can’t even get to absolutely zero carbon, so getting negative carbon is even harder. And I’m pretty sure that involves more than planting trees for every whatever product we buy.

Flush.

Career Routes: Web Developing and “Green” Companies

In the past few weeks, as I have been working on my portfolio site and learning PHP and Ajax, I re-found my excitement and fascination in coding, and I could imagine myself working on it as a full-time gig, despite the hairsplitting troubleshooting (but when it works, it works beautifully!) At the same time, my interest in environmentalism and sustainability still exists. Not so much, though, is visual design, at least as a career. Therefore, I now have narrowed my choices down to two: web developing and “green” jobs.

I don’t know which is more correct, web “developing” or web “programming,” but I know what I want to do. The problem is that a quick job search online shows that most of those jobs require multiple years of experience, which I don’t have professionally.

And with green jobs, I still don’t know where to start, because I don’t know what my education in (mostly visual) design can contribute to the organizations. But I’m sure there is a future and potential for growth for the entire industry, so I’m not too worried; there’s something to do for everyone.

Therefore, the perfect job right now would be to combine both: to code the website or whatever for a “green” company, letting me contribute to my passion of changing/saving the world by doing what I enjoy doing.

This is not too far-fetched of a dream, compared to my other ones. If I have to pay more dues by working for a year or two somewhere to get there, I just might do it.

Flush.

Design: e²

Sometime last week, while surfing hulu.com for new shows I can watch, I stumbled upon a television series by PBS called Design: e2: The Economies of Being Environmentally Conscious. I thought it was a show about graphic design, but it turned out to be about architecture. It only had six episodes; I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a mini-series or if it was cancelled because topics like this could bore people (not me).

I noticed that every time I watch an episode, I get completely inspired, lifted, and motivated to do something green with my back-burnered design career. I imagine working for an environmentally conscious company as my first design job right off the bat, and continue to pursue a career of socially responsible design and to help solve this global climate crisis that seems to be very apparent lately.

It amazes me how the PBS program was released in 2006, because a lot of the projects and ideas mentioned on the program were unheard of (at least by me); it seems that the projects that were completed since then certainly would have been mentioned on some newspaper or blog, but they weren’t. Shows how much (little) awareness this has with the general public.

I feel that with all the “natural” disasters that have been happening lately, the issues of global warming, environmental consciousness, sustainability, etc. will not go away any time soon, and a career devoted to these issues certainly will not only be profitable, but will also have room for exciting discoveries and growth.

I don’t know why, how, or when I started becoming so passionate (though passively) about sustainability, but I like it. I gradually noticed within the last few years that, compared to my friends and family, I’ve become more and more concerned about the environment. It’s probably because of my gullible nature, having watched those TV shows and movies about global warming, convinced that we must act now to save ourselves.

In any case, I now drive a Prius, even though I would much rather not drive at all since it still uses gas, unless it’s one of those new concept hydrogen cars or whatever, which supposedly only farts out water and heat. I also bought those grocery-store-branded fabric bags so I could use them every time I buy groceries and get those three measly cents off my purchase.

But in the end, I wanted to do more, more than what I can do alone. I want to see sustainability principles applied beyond my circle and make a real, lasting impact on others and the community. That said, I believe a career in sustainable design may achieve just that.

Blue + Gold = Bright Green [Future]

What if, in the current swing of environmentalism, California as a state begins a campaign to go “green” with some cheesy slogan like: “Be Californian, where Blue and Gold means a bright green future!” As cheesy as that might be, at least it shows states as whole government-based entities are finally actively pushing for better, sustainable living.

Flush.