I would define sustainability as practices that help prolong the life of the environment. This isn’t much different from what I thought at the beginning of the course. However, what HAS changed is my knowledge of a variety of ways that sustainability can be implemented. Whether it’s in my everyday life or on a larger, manufacturing scale, I am constantly seeing more and more ways to implement sustainability. I also now realize the importance of living a sustainable life and/or creating a sustainable supply chain for manufacturing and retailing. At the beginning of this course, I realized that sustainability was important and I knew the general concept. Now, at the end of the course I see how important it is to make changes in each of our lives. In one of the videos (or perhaps in one of the discussions we had in class, I’m not sure which) someone made the statement that was somewhat along the lines of, “As a society we can either make changes now, or we will be forced to make radical changes in the future.” This statement stuck with me after I heard it, and it made me think of one of my favorite quotes from Edward Everett Hale: “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” This quote makes me believe that the small changes that I make in my life will have a small, but still significant difference.
One of the biggest surprises I had was about the meat industry. I didn’t realize that just by consuming meat on a daily basis, I (as a consumer) am adding a large amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. I knew how unsustainable the apparel industry was, but I never realized how unsustainable the meat industry is. I watched a video recently about James Cameron (director of movies such as Avatar and Titanic) made the switch to a completely plant based diet. He also uses solar energy to power his home and his movie sets. He is a great example of how you can implement a change into your life that will have an impact on the environment. In my eyes, giving up meat would be a huge, almost impossible change. But since I’ve been made aware of this, have cut my meat intake in half. I used to eat meat with almost every meal, but I am now making the switch to only once a day, and in a small amount. It’s a small switch, but a switch nonetheless. This is an example of how my interest of sustainability has been piqued from this class. This video about James Cameron wasn’t shared in class, but I found it by myself while researching an organization called Red Carpet, Green Dress which is a sustainable design competition that I want to enter in the future.
The final project was extremely fun to do. Michelle and I researched about vegetable and plant dyeing. We even tried some dyeing methods using vegetables we picked up at the grocery store. I was already researching these methods before we started working on this project. The project allowed me delve deeper into the topic, and it also gave the opportunity to understand how chemical dyes harm the environment and how I could help by solely using vegetable dyes. I could even take it a step further and buy vegetables and plants from local farmers markets instead of super markets. I plan on continuing this research, and I currently have ideas about designing an evening gown out of locally sourced silk, red cabbage dye and recycled beads that I got from someone who was going to throw them away. I am excited to start work on this project after graduation!
I really enjoyed this course and I’m excited to see where my sustainable future takes me!