A New Purpose for Sustainability

The three presentations of “Story of Stuff,” “Poverty, Money & Love,” and “A wide angle view of fragile earth” all have one thing in common, which is introducing ways that we can support sustainable practices. “Story of Stuff” emphasizes the importance of sustainability by showing the path of our resources from raw materials all the way until they are considered trash. The five stages of our resources are categorized under the processes of extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal. It also informed its viewers of the importance of a healthy planet by claiming that we cannot be well if our planet is not well. “Poverty, Money & Love” was an inspirational story of how we can help small businesses grow. It used examples of people living in poverty in east Africa but explained that they did not see themselves as “poor”, but rather small business owners and entrepreneurs’. The concept is that if we loan these people small amounts, they will use the money to grow their businesses and be able to pay off their loans slowly. The small jumps in their standard of living are not only rewarding to witness but make an impact on their life that promote their sustainable, local businesses. “A wide-angle view of fragile earth” talks about how we may seem different around the world, but we all share one common denominator, our planet. We all call Earth our home, so why are we destroying it? The presentation talks about how we have changed our planet more in the last 50 years than we have since the start of mankind combined. We rely on unsustainable resources, keep contributing to global warming, destroy forests which are necessary to create oxygen, exploit resources such as fish, which 70% of people rely on, and have people starving. We are on the brink of creating an even larger disaster than we already have, so we need to come together to try and fix it. In the article Environmental Degradation – Poverty, the author discusses how poverty could be a factor with the shape that the planet is in now. It discusses the possible effects and how the poor are not to blame for their actions and that they should be assisted in improving their quality of living so that they may participate in more sustainable practices. I found myself to agree more with the “no” side of the article, that disagrees with the idea of poverty being a reason for environmental destruction. I believe that the poor across the globe do what they must do in order to stay alive, and yes, they may have unsustainable practices, but I don’t think that their practices are on a large enough scale to be an actual problem. I feel that the side of the world with money has a much larger effect on the environment such as the lumber industry, where people are cutting down forests too rapidly or the oil industry where people are making fossil fuels too available to the public to use at such a rapid pace. I think that people are greedy and would rather get a larger paycheck than help the environment by developing more sustainable practices. The article on Green Construction discusses the possibility of implementing more sustainable buildings as a social norm and the possible problems that go along with doing so. I think that the market is not more productive in transitioning to sustainability than the government because of certain problems. These problems include the difficulty of regulating to quantify costs of green buildings because there are so many different programs of implementing green buildings, the timeliness that it would take to revise codes so that green buildings could be implemented due to their technology not meeting coding standards for current code, the inconsistency of green building procedures not all being fully tested, and that Green Buildings are cheaper to operate, but are more expensive to build. The problem of the absence of reusing materials from previous buildings in new ones is wicked, due to its complexity to define a true problem and difficulty to find win-win solutions. If we do not do something about this issue, the world could be in trouble. We are already using resources way too quickly, but it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of resources available that may seem like junk to some, but are perfectly capable just like the new ones. Recycling is a solution to minimizing waste and the use of resources, but is it being applied to every situation that it can be? One role that I might play within this issue is being an Educator. I can bring the issue to attention in society because I think that contributes to the problem, that people don’t know about the issue in the first place. If I can help bring awareness of the issue, I can make a difference in the world by gaining support in the community and more people to participate in the sustainable practice of recycling in all fields. 

 

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Blog 3

Jessica Jackley’s Ted Talk over “Money, Poverty, and Love” was great. Sometimes people just need a little support or help to do great things and that is exactly what she did. We often let money define a lot in our life, but it shouldn’t. Jessica’s business Kiva helps the poor by helping them. Like in the environmental degration reading it discusses how we do not need to blame the poor, but help them, just like Jessica. Annie Leonard discusses how we ALL are destroying the earth by production and consumption, not just a specific classification of people. We are all destroying the earth by living in such unstainable ways. Yann Arthus-Bertrand shows impacting photos of what our unstainable patters have and will do to our home if we do not stop mass pollution. He said “We do not want to believe what we know”, this is so very true. We know the damage we are doing, but we just continue the bad habits until something goes wrong. We should choose to change BEFORE the problems become too wicked.

 

The article over tackling climate change talked about the LEED program. I think the program is a really great way to create a more sustainable world, city by city. If every city had to build green buildings like the ones in the article then much resources would be saved. Going green or choosing the eco-friendlier product usually cost more, but in the end, it is such a better choice by the amount of pollution it keeps from being implemented on the earth.

 

Being part of the Design, Housing, & Merchandising at Oklahoma State University I have learned a lot about the unnecessary negative impact the industry has on the world. Being a student, I will be a communicator. I want to let my friends and family know how small changes can have a large impact. I want to tell them about my carbon footprint and how much pollution we implement without even realizing. When I enter the work force as a merchandiser I want to be an activist. I want to be able to stop a company from buying unsustainable textiles, or promote eco-friendly designers, really just anything I can to make some sort of sustainable impact in career. My wicked problem discusses the impact textiles have on the world. I have learned many shocking things while further researching. Cotton is the most used fiber to create textiles. A Cotton crop requires 2,700 liters of water, which is the same amount the average person consumes within a two-and-a-half-year time frame. That means for every shirt hanging in your closet 2 and a half years’ worth of water for a human is lost. Dying textiles is just as bad, using 1.3 trillion gallons of water per year. This wicked problem is HUGE and changes have got to be made!!!

 

 

 

 

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bye bye.

In the presentation “Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard, is a very interesting presentation on the “golden Arrow of consumption and garbage” in the modern economic times. The documentary critically analyses the impact of excessive consumerism and role of individuals in promoting production sustainability.

The story “Poverty, Money & Love” by Jessica Jackley is about the importance of our view of other and ourselves concerning money. The presentation intrigues on the issues that govern money and is appropriate on individuals that have a negative attitude about money. It is enriching on the ways to manage and use money without bearing a wrong feeling and attitude.

In “A wide angel view of fragile Earth” by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the narrator displays stunning aerial photographs that tough on the earth as human habitat and humanity. In the presentation, human activities are presented to negatively impact on the environment. It is informative on how human activities cause them to struggle for survival after destroying their own habitat. The documentary may help in finding remedies to environmental degradation and strategies that will promote environmental conservation and protection.

Environmental Degradation – Poverty, the reading is rich in the role of poverty on environmental degradation. Poverty derives people to engage in environmentally degrading activities that disintegrate the ecosystem and causes environmental degradation. Poverty causes rapid growth of industrial activities in poor developing countries, which shifts environmental degradation from the rich countries to the poor developing countries. The reading clearly connects poverty to environmental degradation using rich examples and illustrations that are both globally and locally acceptable. The reading informs on the ways that can be employed to facilitate formulation and implementation policies that will enhance environmental protection.

Tackle Climate change / Green Construction, this reading is very informative and clearly articulates remedies to climate change by green construction.   It is building and construction hastens climate change but green construction policies may aid in alleviating on the impact. The policies and ways to implement them are presented clearly and in a simple understandable language.

Social entrepreneurship, the reading clearly articulates the roles of the society in business and impact on the environment.  It illustrates how the society should collectively venture in business that are both profitable and environment friendly. The reading is rich will projects that social entrepreneurs may find useful.

 I have learnt that human beings mostly trigger wicked problems and the solution to these problems is in their hands. For instance, using too much material in making furniture engenders the environment but its remedy is simplifying furniture designs in order to make simple, beautiful and comfortable ones that use less material. This will contribute in conserving the environment.

My sustainability or wicked journey is dependable on the decision I chose to take.  A sustainable journey will need sustainable use of materials and strategies to rebuild the areas extracted.

My role, therefore, will be use quantifiable material, while putting up strategies that will ensure that the material extracted are restored at the same rate they are extracted.  In this case, I will take the role of an entrepreneur. This is because I will identify the market gap, design a project of filling the gap while considering the ways of reducing the impact of the project on the environment and sustaining the project for a long time. This role makes one to be hands on, and thus directly contribute to the problem solving.

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The Last Blog

Watching the story of life really put into perspective how a wicked problem works. They used the example of reducing plastic by making clothes out of water bottles, but they dove further into the problem. I did not realize what happened when you washed synthetic fibers. We think we fixed a problem but as we’ve learned from this class a wicked problem does not have a solution. Jessica Jackley’s video was also touching. I related to her she talked about her former views of the poor. It was lovely to see how she used what she had to make the lives of other better. I also appreciated how her company has continued to grow and help others and change the worlds view of people in poverty. In the reading environmental degradation I liked the conceptual shift of giving impoverished people the resources to change their ways and not just seeing them as the issue. By doing this I feel like we can be more connected as humans.  In the second reading, green construction, I thought it was super cool that the green buildings have been implemented at the state, local, and government. I hope that these kinds of buildings continue to grow in popularity, so we can continue taking steps to improve our future. In activity 3 I think  was able to find a lot more information on my issue of water pollution. I did not realize how many top companies played such a hazardous role. It was disheartening to see some of my friends brands, such as H&M, not caring about the people they are affecting. After learning more about wicked problems especially mine I have been a lot more conscious about where I buy my clothes and what they’re made of. I have also been thinking a lot about where my trash is going and I have been trying to recycle it. Because of these things I see myself as an educator. I want to lead by example and inform the people around me of the consequences of the decisions they make. I have already started by talking to my family.

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Marketing Sustainability

This past week, poverty stood out to me with significance. For some people, poverty is just this really sad thing you think about but never really experience yourself. You picture underdeveloped countries. A distant land. But the reality is, there a lot of people around us that could be consistently struggling to keep their lights on or struggling to eat. I know what it feels like to pinch pennies just to survive long enough to see the next paycheck. When I say “I”, I mean when I lived with my family and also living by myself. It’s not fun to struggle to the point where you’re sleeping under several blankets because your family couldn’t afford to pay the electric bill or relying on free food because you absolutely cannot afford it. Now it hasn’t always been this way for me and oddly enough, I appreciate how I grew up. I feel like it has shaped me into the person I am. I am able to relate and empathize with all different kinds of people. However, that doesn’t mean you have to go through the same exact experience to empathize with someone else’s situation.

A good example of this is Jessica Jackley, cofounder of Kiva. She had not faced poverty herself but she had a heart for the poor since she was a young girl. Once she took the time to actually talk to people facing these problems, she was able to see that what they felt they needed to succeed, wasn’t much at all. I really liked the part where she mentioned that the best way for people to change their lives is to have control and do what is best for them rather than having an outsider that is out-of-touch step in and try to change what is perceived as the best thing.

In class, we also read an article over poverty and how that effects environmental degradation. I completely agree that poverty contributes to the degradation of the environment because those who are struggling to pay basic bills aren’t necessarily worried about making the best eco-friendly choices, especially when eco-friendly options are typically more expensive. Living on my own has taught me the value of money more than my parents ever could have. Most times, I buy the absolute cheapest version of everything. Even toilet paper. One day, I was talking to my friend about sustainability as I was in the process of moving. I was in need of more trash bags and toilet paper so I went to go buy some with full intentions of seeking out the cheapest of the cheap. However, while I was at the store, I saw both trash bags and tissue that screamed “sustainable” (it actually said sustainable on the packaging) and I recalled the conversation I had earlier that day, so I bought them. The price difference between the sustainable items and the cheap items that I usually get, was significant. This makes it very difficult for people to make the better choice despite how much they want to because it is currently cheaper to ruin the environment, than it is to save it.

I took some time to look at the Story of Stuff’s official website and I saw some interesting topics that I would like to watch in the future. As I was watching the video on YouTube, the part deforestation saddened me but also overlapped with my sociology class. This past week, we watched a news story from 1999 about a woman in her 20s that lived in a tree for almost two years to protect/protest the cutting down of trees in California’s Redwood Forest. As mentioned in The Story of Stuff, corporations run everything and their only concern is to take natural resources for their own economic gain despite who gets hurt in the process. For Friday’s class reading, I was assigned the “yes” side of the issue. The article was intended to explain how the market is better at pushing consumers towards sustainability than the government. The author suggested a cap-and-trade method which I believe could be beneficial for limiting the use of fossil fuels. I found that article interesting because I had not heard of cap-and-trade before. This also deals with the topic of my final report so I plan to incorporate information learned from both the “no” and “yes” articles because they both contain information that is new to me, as well as possible solutions to my wicked problem.

Given my personality, I believe that I would best serve as a communicator-educator in aiding the environment. I feel that I am a “safe” source of information to go to for my friends and family. I can educate without passing judgment and enlighten them of the issues we are facing without attacking them. I can see myself in that role more than the others. Since being in this class, I have learned a lot about the state that our earth is currently in. I knew it was getting bad but I didn’t realize the extent of it, as I’m sure many people don’t. I am constantly thinking about being environmentally conscious every time I see a plastic bag or something that is plugged in but not in use. It is going to be a journey to get to the point that I would like to be at, which is zero-waste, but it’s not impossible and hopefully it won’t be too late.

In the TED talk by Yann, I found his film to be a lovely representation of the beauty of earth and the beauty of people. Although, human beings act superior in relation to the rest of the earth, we should be coexisting. The earth provides us with so much and we need to find a way to pay it back. We are all here together, it’s time to start acting like it.

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Looking Forward

This week, I learned a lot about turning ideas into actions and change, and the multiple, multi-faceted ways that can be done in many different societies. There are so many unique problems, and then multiple possible solutions for each problem, and then each solution can be implemented in many different ways. In other words, wicked problems are incredibly complex, and this holds beauty and distress at the same time. I learned about many specific problems, and possible solutions to those problem as well as how to implement them, specifically through our Poverty/Environmental Degradation reading, our Green Construction/Government vs. Free Market reading, the TED Talk on Poverty, Money & Love by Jessica Jackley, and my research about my wicked problem that I am writing about in my investigate report. While these assignments gave me specific, detailed accounts of certain problems, our other assignments, such as the Story on Stuff video by Annie Leonard and A Wide Angle View of Fragile Earth by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, opened my eyes to more of the damage we are doing  not only to the earth but to ourselves, and general ways on how to address these things.

In The Story of Stuff video by Anne Leonard, Anne walks her viewers through the five steps of our economy, (extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal) and how those steps, along with everything that is being hidden from us in them, is destroying us and the planet. While these ideas had been presented to us before, this video opened my eyes more to the true evils of those in control, and the evils of the way they have forced us to live. In my opinion, this video was the most eye-opening of all the accounts we have viewed to get our attention. While the other materials we have watched and read were convicting and eye-opening as well as to the way we live, this one was definitely designed to scare, and it accomplished its goal. For example, Leonard’s focus on the amount of chemicals that we use in our products and the amount we pollute the earth with is terrifying, and its results of cancer and disease in people is the scariest part of all. Sadly, I have personal experience with this, watching relatives of my close friends pass away from cancer, and hearing about cancer appearing in so many people i could be acquainted with. Even experiencing a cancer scare appear in my own mom—the danger is real. The results are unavoidable, and hearing someone address it directly was refreshing. After the cancer scare with my mom (who thankfully avoided the development of the disease and is now living healthier than ever) my family changed the way it lives completely. My mom dove into researching, and is many years later still continuing to, living in the cleanest way possible, and avoiding all the terrible pollutants of the industry. She has even gone onto implement those clean ways into her dental practice, and is staying away from harmful chemicals and medical procedures in her dentistry, hopefully saving others from cancer and other diseases in the future that those chemicals may have caused. Sadly, it took a life-threatening scare to change our ways, but we are thankful that it was only a scare. Hopefully, we can keep others from experiencing the same things in the future.

Leonard’s points about planned obsolescence and perceived obsolescence were extremely infuriating to me. It just shows how money-centered our world is, and how selfish those in charge are to trick the public into destroying themselves and the environment just so they can make money. I believe by pointing out the evil of their ways, Leonard was doing good by not only opening our eyes to it, but by making us angry about it, which can hopefully be fueled into more action for change and good. There are few things one hates more than being duped, and the anger created to turn that around can be a very useful energy.

The Poverty, Money, and Love talk by Jessica Jackley, however, created the opposite reaction. Her emotion and raw, genuine spirit and care for helping the poor by hearing their stories, and therefore, contributing to saving the earth, created compassionate emotion in the viewers that hopefully moved them deeply to take action. Seeing her tears over the impact we can make to help people, and her joy over the results over helping them, hopefully lit a fire to people to see what a full life serving others can bring. Sometimes, just knowing facts and being told to take action isn’t enough—one must visually experience the emotion and images of something to be moved to action, and that is why I believe this video was so important and influential to our learning.

Arthus-Bertrand’s display of the earth and its people became another visual, image emotion connected learning tool for this week. By showing us these beautiful images of the earth, and how we have the possibility to destroy it and images of what that looks like, should hopefully move something deep within people that they can’t explain. Listening to the people our consuming and disposing culture can affect as well should also make a difference. While hearing facts and studying problems is important and necessary, without images and emotional, heart-driven motivation, people are less likely to act.

However, learning more about details in specific wicked problems through our readings was fascinating. The complexity of the connection between climate change and environmental degradation and poverty was baffling, and frankly, it was difficult for me to grasp the multi-faceted issues and views. I believe it is frustrating, honestly, that people cannot even agree on the nature of the problem, because if people cannot even agree on what the problem is, it makes it a lot more difficult to take action and fix it. But i guess that is what contributes to it being a wicked problem in the first place. The opinions on the relationship between poverty and climate change just seemed very numerous, with many different sub-views for each opinion. Therefore, it seemed to me to be one of the most complex and difficult wicked problems to fix. The reading on Green Construction, however, was fascinating to me. The ideas that people have come up with to implement green living just into the way our buildings are built was beyond me, and I greatly enjoyed learning about the simple and complex ways we can save energy in our most energy-consuming sources. Maybe I particularly enjoyed it because I am studying interior design, so buildings are affiliated with my field of study. Hopefully, I can implement these green-building strategies into the way I design and maybe come up with some of my own, even though I am not the best at ingenuity. It is unfortunate, that it is significantly more expensive to build green, but hopefully over time, and with more incentives, that will change and it will become more popular. It was also encouraging to know that green standards have been applied to building codes in years past already. Improvements, however, still need to be made.

Throughout this week, all of our assignments have come together to hopefully accomplish one main goal—to implant in us a sense of social entrepreneurship: the fact that we can take action, come up with our own ideas, and make a difference in our own lives. By conducting research for ourselves, we have acquired a sense of what it’s like to take these problems onto our own shoulders, and contribute in our own ways. Hopefully this practice has also given us desire to continue to pursue these problems in our own lives. Personally, it has made me aware of all the opportunities for sustainable change in the interior design industry I am studying, and I am excited to one day make a difference and make my own contributions. I have learned that there are so may different ways one can design sustainably, either through the materials I pick for the floor and rugs, or how many windows and ceiling fans I put in each room.

Through all of these many readings, videos, and personal research, I have definitely learned the importance of living sustainably, and have been given many different options of ways I may implement it into my own life. As for now, I may contribute by being a communicator/educator. My activism may be limited considering I do not own any large companies or design buildings (yet), but hopefully one day I will be in more of a position to do such things. I may even be a facilitator, using my own sustainable design processes and passing them onto others. I am greatly excited about all that I have learned, because it gives me sort of a new purpose in the way I may design. Even though these possibilities are far in the future, I look forward to being able to use what I have learned on a larger-scaled level. As for now, I will do what I can and encourage others to do the same.

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Educator to Activist

From the ted talk by Jessica Jackley, I’ve reflected on how much I relate to her. Having grown up in a church I was told the same thing. I was supposed to go help the poor and homeless, but when growing up I’ve felt useless. She later heard Dr. Muhammad Yunus speak and tell stories of the poor she has never heard of before. She was given the opportunity to go out and help the less fortunate. With me, I have had the opportunity to talk to some homeless people and help them or just talk to them. This made me feel like I had helped them in the slightest bit but we all have to start somewhere.

 

With more research on my wicked problem, I am learning the struggles of finding the perfect education system for the world. With different backgrounds and culture, it’s hard to meet the needs of every student out there.

 

With my sustainability journey, I’ve discovered how much waste I produce and would like to slowly transition to a waste-free lifestyle so help save the planet on my part.

 

My role in sustainability would first to be a communicator and educator. With teaching my family and friends around me to the campus of OSU. With teaching people I’d like to become an activist and make a change in the world.

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