Reflections and Events
4-29-21: Social Justice Day; Climate Change and Peter Toscano
I knew from the beginning that I wanted to go to this workshop. Climate change has always been a topic that I have been passionate about. I went vegetarian over a year ago to try and cut my carbon footprint. I learned a lot during this presentation. Something shocking that stood out to me was the climate crisis countdown clock. During the presentation it was predicted that we have only 6 years to reverse climate change before the damage is permanent. Another diagram they showed us was one of how much of our energy is sustainable. I cannot recall the specific number but I do remember that it was low and moving very slowly. These statistics are scary and seeing them so bluntly made me realize that me being vegetarian is not going to save the world. We need to get big corporations, governments, and lawmakers to make changes and set standards. Countries need to take control. A handful of people doing things perfectly is not going to stop climate change. However, a lot of people trying their best and businesses lowering their carbon emissions and overall pollution will.
I wanted to incorporate the talk from Peterson Toscano into this reflection. I have never been a religious person but I know that to many people religion is a building block to their life. I think that reaching out to communities who generally would overlook or ignore climate change is crucial. Toscano taking the time to help these churches understand and fight climate change is very important and a big step in the right direction. Another point that I found very fascinating was the comparison between the other religions. When watching the video on Hinduism and Buddhism (I believe these were the two religions mentioned) I found that their beliefs towards climate change differed towards those of the Christian church. These two religions both believed that God created this planet for us as a stop before Heaven. They believe it is our job to keep this temporary home clean and healthy. On the other side of the equation, the Christan church (from what I have seen of it) tends to have a different attitude of ‘whatever happens happens and it is all God's plan’. Getting people to understand by using their beliefs to support our actions is crucial. Peterson Toscano uses bible verses and metaphors of God to get his point across. I think if we take this perspective and way of acting to a greater scale, for example the government or big business we could have a big impact on climate change. We have to play with the othersides beliefs and use them to our advantage to help them understand climate change and therefore want to act.
10-15-20: CT Forum: Debating Immigration
This was my first time attending a Connecticut Forum and overall it was a very engaging and information packed experience. The speakers all discussed very important and timely topics. I was left thinking about what the United States can do to improve our immigration system. One line that stuck with me throughout the whole debate was said by Lynch and it was “demonizing people who themselves are fleeing demons”. This aroused many thoughts. First, there is a stereotype throughout America that immigrants are drug dealers and people who commit crimes. The second brings me back to the Munk Debates podcast. Both these topics are interconnected. If we start to label undocumented immigrants as illegal it creates a negative assumption and fear around them. If a person is viewed as bad or illegal people will tend to have less sympathy for them and be less likely to help. This ties into the stereotypes around immigrants. We must break these assumptions instead of feeding them. We must focus on the issue of undocumented immigrants instead of creating a stigma around them. Jose, another one of the speakers, also said something that lingered with me: “ [child immigrants] feel like a problem that cannot be fixed”. America is the superpower of the world. If we want to uphold this reputation we must have a plan. Locking children in cages and separating them from their parents is not a viable or morally good plan. We leave these young children feeling like burdens who are unworthy of safety and protection. As a country we must put together a course of action that can deal with undocmeted immigrants.
When I think about connecting this forum and this topic to our global studies themes I immediately think about human rights. Every person, despite race, background, religion, etc has the right to live in a safe place and seek shelter from dangerous conditions. Many of these undocmeted immigrants are seeking asylum from a dangerous home. They don’t come to the United States to steal our jobs and commit crimes. They come to provide a better and safer future for themselves and their children. I also think about how this topic connects to sustainability. Currently our way of dealing with immigrants is not sustainable. We have over 11 million undocumted immigrants in our country, we cannot deport all of them, we can take all the kids and lock them in cells without parents. We need a plant that is safe and reliable.
12-7-20: Religious Service
This past Friday I attended Friday Prayers over Zoom with the Farmoington Valley American Muslim Center at 1:00 in the afternoon. I went into the experience with no expectations. I had not been to any form of religious service in over a decade so I was not sure what to expect. From what I remember about going to a christian church the service seems to run similarly. The Imam had a discussion about the state of the world and how to deal with all the anxiety that has been produced over the past year. After that all the members that were in person kneeled on their prayer mats and faced Mecca to pray. I later found out that Mecca is the birthplace of the prophet Muhhmaed and only Muslims are allowed to enter the city. I noticed that in the small view I had of the Mosque I only saw men. Throughout the service I more and more realized that all these different religions are in fact not so different. They are all a community where people can find comfort in hard times and place hope in something. Hope is powerful and can get people through tough times and to be able to attend a weekly service where you pray to an all mighty being and focus on the good probably seems very appealing. I have only been to a few church services in my life but I think the goal is very similar in both religions: pray and honor your God and find a family in your religion, a place where you feel wanted and accepted. I have never been a religious person but attending this event makes me see the appeal of attending a church service or a mosque service. I am glad I had the opportunity to attend.