Landing : Athabascau University

Unit 1.3: Waving a Magic Wand to Make the World a Better Place

1.)    Implement Universal Basic Income to End Income Disparity.

The first thing I would change is the disparity between the rich and the poor in society by implementing Universal Basic Income. I choose this because I do not believe that wealth is solely a result of how hard one works. I believe that all individuals should have the financial stability to thrive regardless of the job they choose or the circumstances they have been faced with in life.  I believe the notion that people who are experiencing poverty are not working hard enough is a flawed blanket statement used by narrow-minded individuals.

While I may not be an expert on Universal Basic Income, I do understand its basic premise. It's about providing everyone with a safety net, a guarantee of financial security to meet their basic needs and those of their families. It's about acknowledging that we all face hardships and losses, and it's about ensuring that no one is left to suffer unnecessarily in our society.

2.)    Change the Way We as Humans Approach Social Conflict and Civil Discourse

I have never understood the level of aggression that people seem to exhibit toward each other when they disagree on social issues, political beliefs, or religious values. Growing up, I was taught to treat others as I wanted to be treated and assumed that most people had been taught the same or that they could at least manage to operate under the “live and let live” principle regarding these issues. I had, perhaps, naively assumed that most people understand what it feels like to be mistreated and could use that information to inform their behaviour toward others to prevent them from feeling that way too. As I have become an adult, I have unfortunately had to adjust and lower my expectations of humanity.

As I have watched people in my personal life, in the news, or in other forms of media debate topics like 2SLGBTQIA+ rights, war and genocide, or poverty, I have noticed a level of vitriol for an opposing opinion that I have difficulty wrapping my head around. In these moments, I have often asked myself the question, “If we all know how it feels to be treated poorly, why do we keep mistreating each other?”

This is to say that if I had a magic wand, I would change the way we debate matters of opposition with each other, including social, religious, and political issues. I would ensure that humans approach our differences with a gentler, more compassionate spirit. I would place a gentle yet lasting thought within the minds of all people to remind us that we have all experienced hardship, loss, and sadness in some form and that our behaviour, mindset, and ways of being should be at all times informed by that knowledge. Is it altruistic? Yes. Is it possible? Perhaps with a magic wand.

3.)    Make Higher Education Free, for Everyone, Everywhere

The last thing I would change is to make post-secondary education free for everyone, everywhere. I chose this because I have found incredible value in it, and I attribute my current well-being and financial stability to my choice to pursue higher education. That being said, my path to post-secondary education was neither simple nor immediately accessible to me. I came from a family that experienced generational poverty and my family did not have the financial capability to pay for my schooling. I believe that because of this, higher education was not a priority in my family growing up. Getting a job immediately after high school to support both myself and my family was the primary concern for both me and my family. I have had to take out student loans to pursue higher education, which I think sets me further behind than not.  I have heard countless stories from friends, peers, and other family members that are identical to mine. I believe and have heard others express many times in my life that the cost barriers associated with post-secondary make pursuing it either completely inaccessible or unnecessarily challenging for most people.

Even worse, I think, is the idea that student loan debt is a better solution for people to access post-secondary education. I do not think that people should have to choose between going into debt and remaining uneducated. I have found that post-secondary education is required in most work environments that pay above minimum wage. I think this contributes to systemic disparity because it suggests, at least to me, that only those who are fortunate enough to have obtained higher education can then earn enough to afford it.

I think that if post-secondary education were free for all, it would create a world where people are encouraged to pursue knowledge that contributes positively to their financial stability, sense of belonging, peace of mind, and overall well-being.