This semester has definitely been challenging and so much information has been crammed into my brain in such a short amount of time! Although at points in the semester, I thought it was overwhelming and I never thought I would understand all of the concepts that sustainability entails. I look back and I have to say, it has been a very rewarding experience to say the least. I can now say that I am a supporter of living a sustainable life.
Coming into this class, I was just another person who thought the only thing there was to sustainability was going green and saving the trees. While “going green” and “saving the trees” is nice, there is SO much more to sustainability than meets the eye. My journey this semester has been life changing, and when I say that, I mean that I now have a completely different outlook on how I can be the change and pave my own path for a sustainable journey for the rest of my life!
If I could define sustainability and sustainable design in my own words, I would describe it as a deeper understanding and connection to the world around us. It can be defined as knowing how your actions in everyday life can affect the people around you and your environment. It’s about being aware and taking the time to make a difference. My views and opinions have changed drastically since August. It’s very interesting to see, not only myself grow and understand sustainable design, but to see my peers learn and grow as well.
Before this course, I had no idea what sustainable design was and all of the important roles it plays in my field of study. As an Apparel Merchandising student, it’s so important to know the industry and to understand the consequences that apparel production can have on our planet. I never thought that empathic design or emotional attachment to a product was sustainable, and I sure didn’t’ know that putting a consumers feeling and emotions in mind while designing a product was a sustainable approach. This also goes for shopping and producing locally. Most people, including myself before this course, don’t realize the lasting impact when consumers shop local. This is such an easy task to do and it is SO SUSTAINABLE! Not only is shopping locally important, but so is producing locally. Before this class, I would see a product that was “Made in China” and not think twice about it. Now, I almost cringe at the thought of products being massed produced overseas, just because I actually understand the impact that these factories have on our environment and how there are numerous steps in this process that are a waste of resources.
I think that my most pronounced learning epiphany was during the final weeks of this course. With all of the concepts that were covered and all of the environmental and social theories discussed, I think this entire semester was my learning epiphany! It all makes so much sense now, the readings, the activities, all of this combined made me realize that there is a bigger picture and there are SO MANY WAYS to contribute. The little actions will add up over time, causing a large impact without even realizing it! Looking back at the beginning of the semester, I wasn’t fully engaged in this course and didn’t actually think that I could make a difference…. Now that I have conceptualized several different sustainable approaches and theories, I feel more encouraged to make sustainability a part of my career.
As a graduating senior, I never thought that a sustainability class could change my views on environmental issues in our world. Because of this, I will try my best to implement more sustainable approaches in my daily life. Knowing what I know now, I am more focused, more aware, and more engaged to live a lifestyle that makes a difference to the environment.
My journey this semester, was a learning experience that taught me life lessons on how to improve my way of life. Not only did this course teach me dig down and get creative, it also taught me that every little bit counts.
I plan to carry on my sustainable legacy to others and make individuals more aware. This class will be greatly missed… but good thing it’s only the beginning for me and my sustainable journey!!