On the first day of class we were asked what sustainability means. It seems like an easy question…we’ve all heard bits and pieces of information here and there…surely we could mush it all together and come up with a definition! We heard the phrases “going green”, “reduce/reuse/recycle” etc., but these are all just words unless we fully understand what they entail and how we can do them. Additionally, there are different answers to what sustainability is because it means something different to every industry and every person. Which is where this class comes in, we are all different majors with varying skills, and so we need to learn how we can make a change in our respective fields and in our own lives.
The article about Easter Island really interested me, so much so that I even did a little bit of research on it on my own. I found out that in addition to the overpopulation, warfare, and deforestation (that led to other issues), the rats that they brought with them could also be to blame. According to a National Geographic article there is evidence that the rats were eating the seeds of the trees as well as some of the birds on the island. However this new information doesn’t really change the problem at hand…it just goes to show that there are many factors when it comes to environmental issues. Sometimes mother-nature causes problems for herself, which makes it even more important that humans do their part to limit their negative impact. I liked the parallel presented in class between The Dust Bowl and Easter Island. It really brought home the point that what happened in Easter Island has happened here before and could happen again if we do not continue to make improvements.
The second article had a lot of good information but there was too much of it to take in for one article. However I did like that it very plainly laid out solutions for the problems it presented. One thing that I really took away from this was the animal welfare portion of it. Because too often when you think of sustainability you only think of the ocean or trees, but animals are affected negatively by the fashion industry and pollution as well. A very good point was brought up in class which was that going local may be good to support the local economy because it reduces transportation costs and keeps the money in your community. But in doing so we may be taking work away from a person in another country that depends on foreign trade so…just a thought!