Blog 6 & 7 Carbon Foot Print + Biomimicry + Industrial Ecology

After having visited the nature.org website, I entered in some data about my life and my estimated greenhouse gas emissions are 17 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent per year, which according to the website, this is below the U.S. national average. I was shocked at how much I got, but I am a little relieved to be below the national average.

From class I am learning that there is a lot more that I can do to upcycle and recycle. I think that for starters, I could make only one trip to school instead of driving back after my morning classes by making myself a lunch to take to school everyday. Another idea is to eat more organic and local foods, although this might have to wait until after I finish school because organic foods are not always in my budget. Maybe my sister and I could carpool on some days to save gas, money, energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Another way I currently try to reduce greenhouse emissions is by taking OSU’s Big Orange Bus when I go home to see my family, this way I travel with a group instead of each and everyone of us driving to the same location. When it comes to paper or plastic, I usually don’t even take a bag if I don’t need one, but my sister and I use our reusable bags to get our groceries from the store to home. My biggest problem was the home and energy savings, but I have already started to change my ways by taking actions like turning off the fan if there is no one home or in the room, also turning off the faucet while I brush my teeth, and turning off lights that do not need to be on. Another step I could take it to unplug unnecessary items that aren’t being used.

As discussed in class, biomimicry is using nature as a model, whether is it be using nature’s structures, or infrastructures for inspiration on new and efficient designs that solve an issue or problem. This semester we have seen several different examples of this such as the greenhouse that was designed like that of a beetle to absorb water, or the termite den and an HVAC, or the construction of the buildings in India with the mangrove like base to break waves and protect the building over time. I think that with ideas like these we can create things that will not only serve to be better for our environment, but it will also be a long lasting solution to problems we face with waste for products that do not have longevity. This is part of the industrial ecology aspect. Building something that will last, and with materials that can be reused and renewed or made from materials that are recycled or materials that were once waste. Creating a loop life cycle is best and one of the examples that made this clear for me was the restaurant that used their waste to feed animals that were used to cook the food, or something along those lines. One line that stuck with me is that “Less is More” if we want to continue living on this earth for years to come, designing for a loop cycle and products with a long lifespan that can be biodegradable or upcycled or renewed is our solution.

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