From Consumer to Citizen- Challenging Assumptions

Kim-ElishaPersonal MusingsLeave a Comment

When I decided to not have children, a question came to me-  what will my legacy be? This question was bigger than work, friends, or my neighborhood. I shared these thoughts with a friend and she introduced me to the Pachamama Alliance. Since December, I’ve attended several events that have changed my life, and hopefully that of my community and the world.

In January 2014, I signed a vow to continually open and wake up to the inquiry “I am committed to bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence on this planet as the guiding principle of our times”, Pachamama’s vision. I never thought I would be an activist or philanthropist, but through the education Pachamama provides I now consider myself at a citizen of the world and not a consumer.

What I admire about Pachamama is their values and how they frame their work. They presented the facts, helped me challenge assumptions and take responsibility, and than they provided me with steps to put me back into hope. I’m now doing things I never thought I would do- buying less, finding ways to compost even though my city doesn’t provide the service, and planning a trip to the Amazon for my sabbatical in 2015.  The work they are doing with the indigenous people in the amazon is inspiring. They are empowering them to preserve their lands and culture, and also educating the rest of humanity to create a sustainable world.  I also love that they see women as a unifying element to the success of their work and have programs to help build their skills and leadership. To me this is leveraging the strengths of people around the globe to make a difference.  I hope to be a citizen that can bring forth a life that is sustainable and thriving. That would be a legacy to be proud of.

Questioning Assumptions

The first step from consumer to citizen was being open to the facts (As a whole, humanity uses 41% more resources than the Earth can regenerate- Pachamama) and second challenging assumptions.

  • I can’t make a difference, these problems are bigger than me.
  • The world will produce all that I need.
  • I need (fill in the blank). For me it was looking at the number of black boots I have and realizing I don’t need another pair.

I’ve started to break down my assumptions and to validate if they are correct. If they aren’t, what do I want to think or do differently. As I start to do this in my personal life, I’ve started to wonder what assumptions drive me at work and the people I work with. I’m starting to look for the should’s and can’ts trying to uncover implicit assumptions that are part of the company culture, that may not be valid for me. The shift I see in myself, is that of taking responsibility for my choices and moving away from being a victim. I’d rather not just be an employee getting a pay check and doing my job, but a citizen.

What assumptions do you have at work? Do any of these sound familiar? If not, think about a recent conversation with a co-worker what did you joke about?

  • I can’t make a difference, these problems are bigger than me.
  • Leadership will never change.
  • I don’t have a title so I can’t ____.
  • Working for the man!

I don’t know about you, but these assumptions I am tired of and don’t enable me to live to my highest potential. I want to change them. Please share assumptions you hear at work in the comments.

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