What does sustainability mean to me?
Sustainability is a lifestyle; it is the conscience, everyday decision to live for a higher purpose than ones self. It is the selfless actions of people who care about the future of our plant and for the lives of those who will come after us. It is the ability and mental capacity to think ahead and to understand that environmental friendly practices are not just for the hippies and treehuggers. But instead, it is crucial for the present and future of our world for changes to be made in every aspect of production, business, construction, design, manufacturing, agriculture, and much more. Sustainable design is thinking outside the box, getting out of comfort zones, and being concerned about other than making a dollar. It is creating and reinventing objects that are not harmful to the environment but instead learn from it to design products that use less energy, less non-renewable sources, less harmful chemicals and create less waste.
What has changed?
In class, on the first day Dr. Armstrong asked us, “What does sustainability mean to you? What do you think it entails?” I threw some ideas out to be written on the group’s poster but I really did not have a solid understanding. I honestly thought that people practices sustainability because they are treehuggers, and ignorantly think their personal eco-friendly lives are going to put a dent in the worlds massive problem, and businesses practices sustainability to look good to the public eye. I was the ignorant one! I am thankful I had the opportunity to learn and better understand sustainability, and the reason behind its importance.
What have I learned?
Things started to come together for me in my sustainable journey while watching the 11th hour. During that documentary I saw the world in a whole to new light. First, I must give a little background on myself or this epiphany might not make sense. I grew up on cattle and horse ranch where if the weather permitted a person could gaze into the night’s sky and count every single star. There was no evidence of the environmental issues the world was facing at my home where the rolling hills, green grass, and fresh air, and well water was abundant. I am not excusing myself for being unaware of worldly issues; it just seemed so far from home. While watching the 11th hour is scared me to death. I grew up with love and respect for the land I was raised on; I watch the documentary with sadness and discuss to what us humans have done to the earth. It scared me to learn what all has happened and will continue to happen because of global warming and other environmental matters facing. The future is honestly scary to me if we do not make a change. After watching the documentary I found myself more engaged in class and the readings. It was like a light bulb turned on and I finally realized why I was enrolled in the class and what I needed to take from it to be able to make a impact in my own life and the lives of those around me.
Another piece of the semester that was important in my sustainable journey was when we started learning about industrial ecology. I really enjoyed learning about biomimicry, closed loop systems, technical and biological nutrients and waste equaling food. All of those perspectives really made sense to me, not that I am discounting any of the empathic theories the others just clicked with me. While learning those it helped me to believe that there is hope for the future and change and happening and will continue to happen for the better.
Usefulness and Relevance
This course was one of the most useful and relevant courses I have taken in my college career. I think that it should be a requirement for every major at every college. It is very important for people to be educated on the environmental issues the world is facing and what they can do in each of their industries to implement sustainable practices. I am proof of how closed-minded individuals can be on these issues if they have not been equip with the proper knowledge.
Because of this course I am WAY more conscious of the world around my own footprint. I go through my day and catch myself thinking of different ways of doing everyday things like washing clothes on cold, I am positive my neighbors think I am crazy because I use my porch rails as a clothes line now, using wash clothes instead of paper towels, using my actual dishes instead of plastic’s. I also find myself seeking out businesses that use sustainable practices to frequent.
I am going to follow biomimcry and keep up with research, projects and product that are using this technique because it is very interesting to me. I am going to keep learning about sustainable practices in the interior merchandising industry and what I can do implement those practices when I graduate.
I would have like to have been taught more about specific examples of sustainable practices that furniture and apparel companies are using today in the industry. I feel like these where only showcased in the LOLA shows and I could have benefited from taking away a few more examples to apply.
In conclusion, I have really enjoyed this class and all the knowledge I have gained from it. I will live my life practicing sustainability personally and in my field of work. And I will raise my children to understand the impacts we as humans put on the world daily and how to lessen our footprint.