Reflecting Back | Looking Ahead | Final Epiphany Blog

Before this course, If I am being completely honest, I hadn’t taken much interest in sustainability. I knew that it was important to my career field but I hadn’t taken much time reading about it and looking into what people were doing to cover our footprints. I kind of had this idea in my mind that it was just a “tree hugger” state of mind but this is not how I feel about it now. Now I know that sustainability is more than recycling and it is keeping the gaining knowledge of what is good and bad to the earth and then using that knowledge to make better decisions in your life. Sustainable design is being creative and coming up with new ways to not have as much of an impact on the earth. I think my biggest criticism for myself coming into this class was closed mindedness on the subject of sustainability. However, I am now very on board the sustainability train.
It wasn’t until I had written my first 3 or 4 blogs until I started actually getting into the whole epiphanies thing. The biggest thing was realizing that I myself can have an impact on sustainability. It’s not just a lost cause. My main epiphanies are listed below.
1. Realizing that it is O.K. to completely reevaluate what is most important in your life and to do away with all the extra stuff. Kind of like my story I told about backpacking with my family – the bare necessities can get a person anywhere, and it may be a good idea to eliminate your waste
2. I realized that I should keep myself open to the possibilities around me – it just takes knowledge and the desire to do so. To keep a positive worldview and know that every one of us can make a difference on this earth, which is a very important outlook.
3. It is my job (interior designers) to lead our clients in the right direction in the material selection and design phases.
The usefulness and relevance of this semester’s learning is very valuable. The concepts that we studied week by week really pushed me to have a new take on design and what my future career will look like. I had never delved into the facts of what impact humans are having on the earth or what we as designers can do to create things that will not only appeal to the end-user but also have the least amount of bad impacts on the earth. The class activity that helped me become interested in this was the LOLA shows because this was when we discussed real life things that were happening in a quest for sustainability. We as designers have a huge role in our quest for a sustainable society because we can really influence people’s decisions and trends, that is why gaining knowledge in this area is so important and relevant for people in our degree field.
With sustainability, it is my opinion that we have a very big challenge before us. We as interior designers play a huge role in bridging the game between what we know about sustainability and putting it into action. As we read in this week’s final article, Cathy Stieg stated in the article The Sustainability Gap that the sustainable gap, “exists between theory and practice; between what we believe to be right and what we know to be right; between how we should practice sustainable design and how we are able to practice”. Stieg believes it takes connection, knowledge, practice, process and commitment to bring sustainable design to life. Yes, it may take a while for people to buy into this way of thinking. Yes, it may be more expensive than other less sustainable practices. Yes, there are challenges that we face in reaching a completely sustainable society, but it is worth the struggle because the outcome will be a huge weight off the earth’s struggle to stay the way God intended it to be.
Knowing what I know now, I am excited to see where this sustainable journey leads. I think I would just like to continue learning about sustainable products and how I can make good sustainable decisions in the future. I think the most valuable thing I will learn is what sustainable products clients are most likely to accept and want to use. Something that I didn’t expect to learn were all the different concepts that we learned about each week. I knew of cradle-to-cradle but had never learned about design activism, design empathy, the different metabolisms, etc. With the knowledge that I have now, I feel like I am ready to make a difference in the field of interior design. After this semester, I am leaving with a great understanding and knowledge on sustainability that I will greatly value and put to use in my future career.

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