Academics is a strange, strange world. My research and focus has stemmed from trailer parks and natural disasters, to algae reactors for cancer research. My experience has ranged from non-profits whose budget is $750 (from two bake sales) to the unlimited federal system. Although none of it seems to make any sense at a surface level, these are all related in the gravities of the cellular level. Overall, it is about vulnerable populations.
Being an Urban Planner and being a Civil Engineer are two fields with a breadth of opportunity, which are engulfed in combining the natural and built environments. A triumph that has yet to create a model of true sustainability for all participants and citizens (these are two very different bodies) has yet to come to fruition. As my academic career comes to a close, only 2 semesters left in total, I am struck with the complexity of meaning and purpose. There is always someone being left out, a periphery to address or to some, to ignore, and the magnificent money making business of corruption that is seen in every policy and every project. What concerns me the most is when projects that are aqua-centric, are exploited. The fundamental proof of existence and life that is prostituted for money or used as a controlling device is beyond sickening. From forcing indigenous peoples to pay for water, diverting groundwater sources thus drying the wells, dumping pollution into waterways, fracking causing tap water to catch fire, intentional poisoning, deliberate failing of projects for tax breaks, the list goes on and on and on. Call it naïve, but I know there is a way to stop this.
A motivation and symbolic gesture: the color black (feeling helpless in the grand complexity of global concerns and problems) can be understood as the absorption of all COLOR (causes, concerns, positive and negative, everything). This is meaningful growth, not dark and isolating although the issues concerning water may sometimes feel that way. Understanding all components to reality is the first step in creative solutions and problem solving. What feels or appears negative may be the most important forward progression. I think, with it all said and done, I have learned this. Accepting the negatives exist may in fact be the first step towards becoming an active global citizen. Maybe. It is difficult to read endless accounts around the world regarding water, but trying to create a positive and safe environment is a motivation many people are working towards through engineering, planning, education, art, film, political activism, human rights, policy, and countless other efforts.