Lessons From Our Past

When I first saw that we were reading an article over Easter Island I was confused, I did not understand how an island with statues all over it related to sustainability and why we would be learning about it.  After reading the article I understand how it relates exactly to sustainability as we see it today.  This theory that the colony who settled on the island and ruined it by depleting all of their natural resources acted in my mind as a cautionary tale of where the world as we know it is heading.  The lesson we need to learn from that colony?  Stop using all of our natural resources needlessly and without thoughtful planning.

If the industries on Earth keep going through our natural resources at the rate that they have been, in a matter of decades we might not have trees to oxygenate the planet, or fresh and clean water to drink.  If we let this situation get as dire as that, then our so called “advanced” society is no better than the primitive societies that ran themselves into the ground because they ruined the land they were living off of.  We have to learn from the mistakes of our ancestors and realize that we are on a trajectory heading towards the same fate.  We have to be smart enough to change the practices that are harming our resources for our needs today, instead of trying to use alternative resources (or even recycled resources) to help future generations fulfill the needs they might have tomorrow.

Before I read this article about the Easter Island colony I did not really care about sustainability.  It was just something that I had to keep in mind when I was designing and choosing materials to use in a space.  I was aware that is was a major trend that was coming up in the design world, but honestly I could have done without it.  Reading this article opened my eyes up, and I’m starting to realize that sustainability isn’t just a passing fad in the design industry.  It’s a thought process on how to make the world a great place not just for today, but for tomorrow as well.  I have a lot of things to learn still, but I’m going to be much more open to learning anything I can to become a sustainable designer.

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