number 2

what is mindfulness?
i believe that mindfulness has two different perspectives
 the first is the idea of controlling your thoughts and being able to be happy through your own thoughts, or being calm, mad, concentration.
the other idea of mindfulness to me has to do with how we treat the earth, how we use our resources and how we replenish what we have used. how we can change our usage to conserve our parts of the earth more effectively.
I decided because of mindfulness, that i was going to do my final project over each persons usage of the world. how we each take more than is necessary  and if we were to live small lives within the material aspect that in return our life would be more fulfilling.
living small is on such a small scale that the majority of the world still thinks that living large is the key to living happily.
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Sustainability NOW!

When we are thinking about the relationship between fashion and sustainability, we usually do not think of it as a good relationship. Because fashion is all about what is the latest fad is and what is trendy at that point in time. It can be very wasteful and harmful to our environment. But it does not have to always be like that. We could make fashion a key element to making our world more sustainable. Fashion is extremely popular and everyone wants to jump on the new trends. So, when designing clothes, we can use more recyclable fibers and fabrics and if we designed clothes with a sense of humility and realization that fads come and go we could use the newness and materialistic values that fashion provides into a more sustainable way of living.

Sustainability sounds like a quick and easy fix to making our world a better place to live, but in Leyla Acargolu TED talk, she assures you that changing your ways to a more sustainable lifestyle is actually really hard. People just think that you can just get the eco-materials, but it’s actually a lot more complex than that, because at some point everything comes from nature. It’s not what materials you use, it is how you use those materials that really has the greater impact on the environment.

If we can figure out how to use our resources in a more sustainable, environment friendly way, we can cut back on our Environmental Degradation. Environmental Degradation is the loss of environmental quality from things such as pollutants, improper land use and natural disasters. Poverty is believed to be one of the main causes of this because the poor are forced into unsustainable practices; conservation of the environment is considered to be a luxury. In undeveloped countries they have to focus more on economic development. But, there is a way to improve both, economic development and the environment. If we could give the poor control over key environmental resources and offer a way to protect the current assets that they already have then we could help them in their sustainability journey. There is a way to balance sustainability and economic development.

There is also a way to balance sustainability and fashion. In the line of work that I want to go in, fashion, there are so many non-renewable resources being used. These resources are killing our environment! Many people in the fashion world are unaware of it too. So many non-reusable fabrics are just being thrown out and polluting the earth. But, if we focus more on the TED 10 way of designing we can eliminate some of the pollution that we suffer from. The TED 10 are 10 different ways to design more sustainable things, such as, design to minimize waste, cyclability, to reduce chemical impacts, to reduce energy and water use, design that explores clean/better technologies, that takes models from nature and history, ethical production, to reduce the need to consume, to dematerialize and develop systems and services, to design activism. If we focus on these things when we design, and make them the new fad, we can make the practice of fashion a more sustainable one.

Coming into this class I was not very sure what sustainability even was or how to include it in my everyday lifestyle. But, now I am confident that I know what sustainability is and how I can incorporate it into my daily life. I find myself recycling more and making sure that what I am recycling is what is supposed to be recycled, I am more conscious about how much water I am using, and I am more aware of reusing the products I can, instead of just throwing them away. I think that what made all of these things stick out to me more was that I realized how terrible of shape our world is in today. And that if we do not change our ways, it will just continue to snowball downhill. If we do not change our ways to a more sustainable practice, then our world will be no more.

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The things we went over this week were very interesting to learn about and help further our knowledge of sustainable practices. The first article, Fashion and Sustainability, focused on how to reduce consumption. Consumption is the biggest factor opposing sustainability. In America, we are encouraged to replace things often and stay up to date on the current trends. Promoting fast fashion is detrimental to the environment. We need to emphasize that the way to creating a sustainable culture requires a reduction in the ecological footprint. Fashion does not need to be discounted as something that can be environmentally friendly, showing people how to reuse old clothing, build a closet of mix and match basics, and repurposing items is a simple answer to keep people from trashing things quickly. It is also important to encourage people to support ethical companies that pay fair wages to employees and create his quality, long-lasting items.

Fashion can be applied to Leyla Acaroglu’s TED talk also. She goes over life cycle thinking and assessment which is an analysis of how something goes through its life. For example, we can look at a belt. The belt can be made of leather which came from an animal, was the rest of the animal used for meat, food, or wasted? Then the belt is purchased at a large chain store that could promote underpaid or child workers in a third world country, is it promoting an unethical practice and killing an animal that is rotting away in a field? Then over time, the belt gets worn down and eventually thrown away. Where does it go? Anaerobic landfill? If so, the belt is tightly compacted with all of the other waste with heat, releasing methane gas into the atmosphere. If it was disposed of in a more naturalistic way it would be less toxic than methane gas, only emitting carbon dioxide, which is still bad. So, the life cycle assessment of this belt would be pretty poor, which is how most of the items in America are disposed.

Leyla also emphasized her hatred for refrigerators. People waste 40% of their food in the US because it is overlaid on other food and then it expires, joining the belt in contributing to the methane gas in the atmosphere. Yay! Behavior changing products; challenging the way people operate machines to only use what we need. Products that are designed for consumer use then are disassembled for alternative uses once the consumer is done with the product or needs to replace it. A major question to be asked following Leyla’s TED talk is how quickly can 7.4 billion people on the planet move to a post-disposable future?

The poverty reading was one that was hard to pick a side on. I don’t believe that people living in low economic conditions are the ones who contribute the most to an unsustainable environment. I definitely think wealthy people are higher contributors because their money is more disposable than someone who has very little money. I believe that people living under this economic line are much more winning to reuse things, repurpose things, and get the most out of the things they have. If you don’t have money to afford more food, you’re going to make the most out of what you do have.

I have been invested in sustainability and merchandising and how it can become sustainable merchandise. Also in respects to my proposal for activity three, how we can prevent animal extinction by overtaking their environments. If we merchandise things in a way that if people do litter the object (which they probably will because people are lazy) that it will degrade over time or even become food for the animals surrounding it. I’m learning that animals are constantly being declared extinct, usually tropical animals and oceanic animals and sea life. Our unsustainable lifestyle is killing the animals of the earth that have been here longer and have never done anything to deserve the brutal treatment we have given them.

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Fashion or Waste

First off, the reading was extremely helpful to me as it was closely related to my wicked problem that I am researching. I loved the points that it made about the term “fashion” and how it relates many things basically just meaning they were the current trend that people liked. That was so very relevant to my research because it defines the reasoning for the fashion industry’s extreme wastefulness. Tossing the newest trends out constantly as they are replaced. Finding the quickest and easiest way to make the newer trends more mass produced. While through all this, they are wasting materials, resources, and energy. Each of these building up and destroying the Earth that the people wearing these items live on. So, back to the article, it mentioned how a lot of advertisements are just encouraging this toxic way of life. In fact, all advertisements are based on pushing the newest most current “fashions”. This related to the story of stuff a lot too, considering everything she mentioned about “fashion” and how you can never keep up because advertisements are constantly pushing the new styles. While in the background of all of this the world is being broken down piece by piece. People are so caught up in the rush of things they don’t realize how much happens when they discard the old fashions or all of the environmentally destructive processes of making these new styles. 

My favorite part of Leyla’s Ted talk was her obsession with the fridge. I had never thought about how wasteful they are just giving so much opportunity for waste. It is so true though, if only had a limited amount of space id be more careful about what I kept and discarded. Hearing talks going over that makes you reevaluate everyday items and how you use them and how so many things can cause waste. If you think about it dressers and closets are the fridges of the fashion world. Some are just built so big that you keep filling them up more and more. This is all related. The fast fashion is the food going bad. Constantly replacing thing after thing. Its a never ending cycle of overwhelming waste. 

Biophilia is one of the most inspiring things in the world to me. I have an obsession with nature and seeing it used in so many different views is very eye opening. You see how others relate nature and the human world. The eco design aspects are wonderful ideas. All of these I feel are related to mindfulness. They can help humans focus on meditation and personal health. It is a reminder of the Earth and everything else growing and living around you. 

As for the poverty topic I read the passage over the yes side, but every bit of it just seemed like pure ignorance. I feel like the no side would have better points and reasonings because in all honesty. Those in poverty are struggling to even survive. How are they really expected to change how they live, if they are struggling to even live? Being in this class has made me see both sides of the story. As much as I completely believe that we need to change the world, I also believe it is very hard considering how insanely giant every single one of these issues are. And the fact that these people are barely able to survive and are causing so much harm to the environment just makes me lose hope. If the statistics are really saying that people in poverty are causing enough to be one of the major causes then thats an even bigger problem. That means we have to fix poverty. We have to be able to help them and fix that in order to fix the environment.  

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Blog 3

I feel very drawn to the minimalist movement, the idea of using only what you need and getting rid of everything else. When it comes to clothing, I have found that I wear most of the clothes in my closet, so none of them are necessarily going to waste. But I know I have far more than I need. This idea of having “spares” is new, at least it is new for the middle and lower classes. There is so much pressure put on people to wear something different so that others don’t see them in the same outfit as last week or last season. This idea that clothing goes “out of style” seems a little preposterous to me. Even now, though, when people choose their style and stick with it for a long amount of time, they are constantly buying new because manufacturers are using cheap materials and techniques to profit as much money as they can from consumers. This idea of aesthetic obsolescence is precisely what drives the need to manufacture new products every season.
In my assignment 3, I discuss this exact dilemma, but how it applies to housing and American consumerism. Maybe HGTV has had an impact on the growing desire of Americans to build or design their own homes, or perhaps I just see it more as an aspiring Interior Designer. But in the housing trend, Americans tend to want large homes with extra rooms and expensive furniture and everything must be NEW. Even if the style is older, the materials, furniture, everything must be brand new. Antiques are a thing of the past because the newer generations don’t want something that makes them feel old or anything like their parents. To separate themselves from previous generations, to set themselves far apart, they have chosen styles that look young and daring, homes that are bigger and better and more exciting than that of their parents.

On the other hand, there is a portion of every population that is homeless or impoverished. In our reading on Poverty, scholars discussed whether or not the poverty population was a cause of economic downfall and lack of resources. In one light, this makes sense as a majority of those who are homeless are also without employment. This means that they are using resources but not necessarily giving back to the economy. Those who are on welfare are seen by most conservatives as lazy people who don’t deserve their tax money. If we as a country devoted the money currently used on welfare and put it towards economic improvement or sustainability endeavors, would we not see an increase in our country’s positive impact on the planet? But this can be said about literally any of the government programs that require taxpayers’ money to function – which is to say all of them.
Leyla, an innovator and design “guru” spoke on researching where your goods go after you use them (or don’t use them – crisper drawer lettuce). She explained that while certain things seemed more ecofriendly, like a brown paper sack versus a plastic bag, the end result of their use and life cycle was far different than what we would expect. Researching what happens after you use a product gives you a further understanding of its life cycle and helps you make better and more sustainable choices in the long run.

I have recently done a presentation on Biophilia and I really enjoyed looking into it. I have always found the outdoors soothing and to find ways to implement natural characteristics into the built environment is entirely something I plan on doing throughout my career. One of my favorite characteristics of Biophilia is “prospect and refuge.” This means that in some areas, you will want to utilize the open concept, where you have an emphasis on brighter light and clear lines of sight; it also means having small spaces for 1 or 2 people, with dimmed lights and closed or almost closed walls, or canopies. Each of these is inspired by the natural need for daylight and clear vision and the need for comfort and protection. Another obvious characteristic of Biophilia is having literal plant life in your built environment. I looked into the Amazon spheres, giant metal and glass bubbles in the middle of a metropolitan city, that are filled to the brim with flora of every kind. The built structures inside the spheres also mimics nature to an extent, with wooden walkways and group areas shaped like actual birds’ nests. An emphasis on natural environments not only boosts the attitudes that workers have, but also boosts their want to work and their focus. And it’s very odd – human brains never get tired of seeing nature. No matter how often they see it, brain function increases and stress decreases. Every time. If that doesn’t say inspiration, I don’t know what does.

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More wake up calls

Thus Far, I have learned what it means to recognize a wicked problem and identify the characteristics of a wicked problem. Besides knowing what a wicked problem is, I think what I have most impacted me thus far is the different way I view the future on the environment. Sustainability for me before this class was a shallow meaning of ‘going-green’ or recycling or making wise choices. Now, I view sustainability issues and wicked problems in a mindful and respectful light. I find myself wanting to fight for nature because I now believe nature should contain rights, rights that should be imprinted into the constitution. Also, after watching the 11th hour, I do not know why but the issue of deforestation deeply struck my heart. Just the thought of the earth with no trees give me fear and made me want to talk to people of power in government positions to speak up about the lack of care for nature. Coming from a person who deeply loves nature, I found the concept of biophilic design so interesting this week. People do have urges to connect to nature and I believe the more use of plants as decor, or simply the more gardens or flowers we grow the happier society will get. Sometimes I imagine living in the city and think of how much I would miss seeing trees and other forms of nature. Most people feel moved by nature and I feel that biophilic design could revolutionize people’s thoughts on protecting the earth.

Whenever I thought of poverty, I often time associated the word with poor people without basic needs to survive. Interestingly, the author of “Is Poverty Responsible for Global Environmental Degradation?” proposed another way to think of poverty by defining it in terms of vulnerability and describing how poverty is a competition among social groups and the state in a pursuit of wealth and power. By viewing poverty in light of a competition among social groups, then the blame of environmental degradation gets put on the government and the upper-class society. I agree that poor people are not to be blamed for their unsustainable practices because they are only trying to survive and no not have access to learn how to practice environmentally friendly farming. Although, I do believe that people in power of impoverished countries need to properly educate lower class citizens on how to live a sustainable lifestyle. Furthermore, by implementing rights-based sustainable development I believe people will be aware of the depleting amounts of natural resources the earth will have left in the future and this will ease the blames of poverty is responsible for environmental degradation. Global Environmental Degradation mostly roots from the western society values of overconsumption and the need for new products each season in my opinion.

During the past three weeks, I have found myself becoming more aware of how my actions impact the environment. Whenever I need to throw away a plastic cup I try to find a recyclable bin that takes only plastic or whenever I need to print papers I try to conserve as much paper as possible. Although these thoughts or actions do not major impact sustainability, I recognize that want to protect the environment as best as I can. More specifically, I have found it challenging to think about how the industry that I dream to work in is such a wasteful and consumerist driven industry during this class. Finding the balance between sustainable yet fashionable clothing is very uncommon. The article Fashion and Sustainability + Sustain Design states sustainability requires a drastic change in our ecological footprint and how the product’s in the fashion industry are made and handled. The article mainly focuses on the how everything goes back to ‘change’. How are humans going to change the way we consume to reduce environmental harm? How can fashion labels produce clothes without harming the ocean by polluting the water with chemicals? There are so many questions that can be asked about how humans will take action to move our society to sustainable practices. Most people view the fashion industry as an extremely toxic and wasteful industry, but the article highlights beneficial pros of fashion as well. One of my favorite aspects of the fashion industry is the innovation, creativity, and imagination involved with designing and creating new products each season. Imagination, creativity, and innovation are encouraged by the competitiveness in the field. Without a competitive market, the system could result in a rather lackluster environment damaging to human welfare. The creativity involved in fashion inspires people to express themselves and feel confident. The culture behind fashion is face-paced and diverse, yet the industry draws in money to strengthen the economy and allows people to personalize their appearance and wardrobe.

Leyla from the TED talk said that over 65% of UK tea drinkers admit to over-filling their kettles and calculations show that in one day of extra energy use from boiling kettles is enough to light all of the streetlights in England for a night. She proposed the idea of designing kettles that engaged users to a more efficient use. Products that would be more efficient is what she calls behavior-changing products, systems, or services that intervene and solve problems up front. Living in America, overconsumption is a common theme seen in indulging in food, clothes, binge-watching entertaining shows and more. I just loved Leyla’s mindset of finding ways to make products more efficient in saving energy. She sets a bold call for humans to think bigger and to research into green myths. I think people just need a wake-up call. Society has been ignorant of how badly our consumer-culture lifestyle affects our oceans, air, and all forms of life.


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Mindfulness of Materials

Fashion is a term that is typically applied to something that is already popular, usually with connections to clothing but it isn’t limited. Fashion is something that can simply imply change, which change is neither good nor bad it simply depends on the situation. The connection of fashion and sustainability is rather interesting because there is so much to go into the considerations that sustainable fashion is feasible. Fashion making the move into a sustainable path would actually be huge and beneficial to all because fashion has the ability to drive a free-market that is very competitive so to get companies to shift the focus into adapting to new concepts that support a sustainable style would be ideal. I agree with the article that trying to get everyone to be sustainable would be ideal however, this is also very difficult as large as a change it would be. Thinking about how developing countries are looking to us on almost every topic, it would be definitely be ideal if we are able to potentially teach them early on how to live a sustainable life style. Essentially it would become as if we were to teach them about everything we have done wrong and what makes it so bad. 

There is definitely a lot of issues with what is being marketed and the strategies that companies use to make money today, for instance in the TED talk with Leyla she mentioned how refrigerator size has grown immensely over the last couple of decades. Refrigerator size should seem fairly minor when talking about potential sustainability fashion, but it is actually a major issue. Leyla continued on to say how since companies are marketing a larger space it encourages the owners to buy more groceries which in the end leads to more waste. Now, I’m not saying that just because you have a full fridge means you are going to waste all of it but it does mean you are more likely to over purchase on items you don’t necessarily need currently. Which brings me back to the article on fashion, companies are always encouraging you to purchase the newest products to make you feel fashionable which is essentially driving this society to fulfill their life with material goods. 

This week was very interesting because Tuesday we touched on consuming too much to fulfill our fashionable lifestyles but then on Thursday we were instructed to read a comparison on poverty and governmental policies. I’m not going to say that just because we encourage the large “fashionable” companies to stop pressuring us into purchasing more goods to save the poor because who would that actually be helping? This article wasn’t my favorite by any means because poverty is definitely a difficult and controversial topic however I did find it interesting because I do believe there are a lot of issues with our government. Poverty is essentially something the government has coined as not making above a certain wage, which is a number but when you really think about a number when it comes to money, does anyone actually have any money or is it all the governments? 

Biophilia is basically this connection between humans and nature, we always will have a connection to nature or at least we should. In architecture, it is important to fill a space with as much natural daylight as possible because it is better for a human in many ways especially psychologically as it may increase someones mood, of course there are downfalls to this such as energy efficiency. Which relates to why I find it important to discuss the life cycle of materials, not necessarily as I was earlier with smaller, fashionable products but materials that have to do with buildings. I find this topic very interesting, which of course the overall wicked problem is the life cycle of materials and why it isn’t ideal. As we have created so many products today that are doing more harm and we continue to create those products well what do we do, how do we change that? 

All products and materials have limited life cycles that should and could be changed but who is going to change that? As mentioned above, fashion is great because it does imply change but who is going to make that change? Is it the government or is it these large companies that are controlling and inspiring us to consume more? Why is it so important to bring architecture and the life cycle of building products into this topic? I believe it is important to because architecture is essentially a machine for living and if we aren’t in a good environment that is uncomfortable we might not be happy. If we aren’t happy with the spaces we are in then we will try to purchase and fulfill with other materials to make the space more exciting. It all comes back to a mindfulness of where we are and what is fulfilling our lives.

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