When this class first began, the catchy slogan “reduce, reuse, recycle” came to mind. Although this slogan is a great reminder, it is elementary my dear Watson. This is what they teach children in school to simply help remind them that recycling is important and good for the planet. Of course all these things are moral and true, however, I was very unaware – as I assume most people are – of how much “reduce, reuse, recycle” does not cover in the concept of sustainability. At the beginning of this course, I thought we would simply be looking at all of the small ways in which we could contribute by just recycling more (Silly me). Instead I was unprepared for some of the problems that human kind has caused with today’s over consuming society. I was shocked to say the least by what humans, and myself unknowingly, have done to the planet. However, I was pleasantly surprised and relieved by also learning about solutions to these problems and what people were creating to help the earth and our home. We only get one planet and recycling alone is just not going to cut it. From this course, I have learned that sustainability is the conscious effort to make a change for the better in every aspect of our lives, for ourselves and for the planet, by reducing the impact we make during our time here on Earth. To achieve a sustainable lifestyle requires an individual, as well as a community effort, but like with every great movement in human history, it all starts with an individual.
Before taking this course, I again did not realize all that went into the concept of sustainability and the process of sustainable design. As I stated previously, sustainability is a conscious effort to make a change and that can only be achieved by making a change, starting with us. It all starts with an individual who has made that personal lifestyle choice and believes in it in order to achieve good. The problem is lack of awareness! A lot of people out there are simply clueless as to what their over consuming lifestyles are doing to the planet. An individual’s efforts to spread awareness can create a movement resulting in a ripple effect. Sustainability is as much of an individual effort as it is a community effort. That is a something I will never forget and take with me from this point forward. The LOLA shows also made a definite impact on my newly found sustainable outlook. I loved learning that there were so many companies and people out there that have grasped this concept and who are working so hard to make a significant change in every aspect of their day-to-day operations. Empathic Design was another concept that blew me away and which I feel is one of the most important concepts I will take from this class. By getting inside the minds of the consumers and figuring out their needs, we are able to design a product that not only exceeds those needs, but also improves their lifestyles by simply using and connecting with our product is miracle work in my opinion. This concept explains why people feel attached to their belongings and how they are even more attached if they were able to take part in the making of the object. This is important component of sustainability because if people are attached to their belongings, they are more likely to keep them longer, which means less waste and less consumption. I was also unaware of how much empathic design helps people to feel connected and how important that can be to fulfilling basic human needs. By holding on to special belongings and prolonging its lifetime, people feel connected through the stories told by the previous owners, by passing the objects on to new owners and allowing them to create their own memories. I almost wish every keepsake passed down from generation to generation had a highlight reel so that we could play back all of the great times these objects have created for those before us.
After knowing what I know now, I would really like to learn about how we can make a sustainable lifestyle and society more cost effective and efficient, as well as a more widely accepted type of lifestyle for all walks of life, not just those who already preferred it or already aware of the benefits. I would also like to know why we aren’t doing more about this and why people are so stubborn when it comes to change. I agree a large and vast change would be drastic, but as I mentioned earlier every great movement has started with an individual. If we all choose to become these individuals and believe we can make a change, we can build momentum in this movement to create a sustainable world and let us make our own memories with what we’ve been given and allowing for many more memories to be created.