Post 1: Overall reflection

Hey guys,

I’m late to the party as I’m just starting my blog posts now. But, I think I have enough in this brain of mine to fuel 8 blog posts.

I wanted to start first with an overall reflection of everything, since we’re coming now to the end of the course and the end of our experiences for the time being with the Tohono O’Odham. I feel like it would be too easy to brush this off simply as a class instead of an experience that we may all get just once in a lifetime.

The world is a crazy place now. Climate change is real and normal social and political conventions that have been in place for decades are starting to become uprooted. In order to keep thriving and surviving, we will need to change our ways of life so that we stop consuming in so much excess and destroying our environment throughout the process. The reason why I bring this up is because I think we could all learn something, both spiritually and objectively, from the Tohono O’Odham that we can make part of our lives.

The Tohono O’Odham way of life has changed since its traditional forms, but historically the Tohono O’Odham demonstrated how you can live with what you need while using very few resources and always giving back to the world in reciprocal fashion. They were able to farm in their dry and arid environment by only using a very limited amount of water, and not even accessing the groundwater reserves they had until they had wells built in later decades. They were able to produce their own food entirely from their traditional lands, not having to outsource any agricultural work or truly compromise any environment. As a people, we can learn from the example set by the Tohono O’Odham and stop using as much water by pricing it closer to its genuine price and using less of it in our daily lives. Also, we can each personally make the switch to more plants in our diet instead of corn products or animal products.

Spiritually, there is a lot we can learn from the Tohono O’Odham about how to be grateful for the resources we have been given. We all have more than we think we do, if we just take a second to thank the earth and the rocks and the plants and the clouds each time we think about them or take from them. In this way, we become more connected with the world. Hopefully this will result in us taking less from it because we see the circular, reciprocal manner in which connected ecosystems operate.

I’m not necessarily saying that we should all become Tohono O’Odham. Not really possible anyways. But this experience taught me a lot about the state of the world and some of the things we can do about it, especially being in our position.

2 Replies to “Post 1: Overall reflection”

  1. Hey there,

    I’m with you on the whole being late to the party thing but I think this does give a great opportunity for some overall reflections of the past few weeks. You’re totally right in saying that this class should be considered a life experience, not just another 4 credits and I think you do a great job at explaining that in this post. I also think that it’s important for us to take away some of the deeper teachings of the O’odham people as you have laid out nicely here. We truly do have a lot we can learn from them.

  2. Great entry, Eric – especially the bit about pricing water. I’m going to re-iterate Evan’s agreement with your sentiment here. We non-O’odham have much to learn from their centuries of successful living and thriving in the Sonoran Desert. This idea is one of the main threads that connects economics and anthropology in a course like this. What is the value of culture? Why should we work to preserve the wisdom of the elders and the language? There are different ways to answer those questions, but one clear reason is economic. A big part of knowledge of other cultures is technological in that it represents the know-how to make a living on this planet in some ways that are either superior to the dominant culture’s way or may be depending on changing conditions.

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