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Photo by Celia Mitchell (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest Entry), Indonesia Semester.

Day 3

In a world where technology is constantly advancing, humans often take resources for granted. Deforestation is a perfect example of this ‘tragedy of the commons’. This is basically a natural resource that is fully taken advantage of without thinking about the potential consequences of the environment. Today, we met Toribio, who is a very inspirational and passionate person. He loves what he does and has been working for 40 years. Toribio informed us about deforestation and his work. In my opinion, humans almost always do things and take advantage of what nature provides for us. I believe that ignorance and not having the correct information is a huge factor in deforestation. Not only are trees needed for oxygen, so we can breathe, they are also habitats for many animals. When we were saying ‘adios’ to Toribio, he said something that really stuck with me. He said, “nature doesn’t build borders, humans do.” This quote really hit me in the heart and made me realize all the negative impacts that us humans have and most of these impacts we make are not even considered. Toribio definitely taught me to be more mindful and considerate about how we treat the environment around us. If you do good, you get good!

-Safa

I think that we often perceive ‘interconnectedness’ as this innate human characteristic that is intertwined with concepts like unity, diversity, and the coming together of different aspects, but what we don’t ofter see hidden under this naive persona, are the negative aspects. When talking about the ‘plan mesoamericana’ we touched on the topics of globalization and how much of the context in which we see Guatemala now, is a direct result of it. In my opinion, although having the power to connect and bring in new ideas, there’s this dark force that becomes almost infused into the roots of globalization which makes it the perfect mechanism for large monopolies, corporations, and western governments to take advantage of. We have companies like JC Penny and HEM outsourcing much of their labor into third world countries simply to manipulate the labor laws and place workers in harsh, almost unbearable, conditions. On top of this, it often goes ignored, with many westerners funneling money into these companies without realizing the intrinsic harm. I also think some of the saddest parts of globalization is how much rich culture can be lost; it becomes based on this power dynamic where traditional business and livelihoods can’t compete with power-driven and multimillion dollar corporations like McDonalds or Starbucks. Overall, I’m really glad we took a deeper look into the context of globalization and realization that it isn’t all that it’s wrapped up to be.

-Sawsan