On the first day of this class we went around, introduced ourselves and each gave an explanation as to what we believed “sustainability” to be. I know I, myself, and much of the class used the word “green”. Pretty much every answer sounded something like “being green”, “using resources in a green way”, “being environmentally conscious and green”. Being more sustainable or “green” is multifaceted it has more dimensions than I even known to exist. Sustainability has to do with our personal-actions, resources, product design, energy use, business practices, off shore production, personal decisions, merchandising, social issues, the government, consumer mindset, apparel, interior design, and more. If I were to describe sustainability now—it would be “modifying business and personal behavior in such a way that diminishes waste”.

One of the biggest realizations that I had during this course is that being sustainable isn’t just about whether we throw our recyclable plastic within the trash bin or recycling bin. It’s much more than this. In one of the movies we watched in class the idea that we, as humans tend to think we are above nature and above other creatures. However, we are the ones who are destroying our planet—all other parts of creation exist in complete sustainable harmony—their practices are sustainable and natural. Their waste is other parts of nature’s food (the waste= food, or C2C principle). This is how we should be living—not depleting the earth of its resources.

My favorite thing that I have learned in this course is that every one of us has a role. The principles that we have learned about in class such as empathic design, industrial ecology, cradle-to-cradle design, and bio-mimicry can be addressed by us—designers. This is exciting to me—the fashion industry could change just by the awareness of a new generation of designers. I hope to contribute to the change and be apart of the turn of a new wave of “green-er” practices within the design of apparel in the fashion industry.

There isn’t anything that I can think of that I wish we had learned. I do know from all the information we consumed in class that I want to learn more about global warming and greenhouse gases. This topic is incredibly interesting to me and the fact that a big chunk of humanity seems to be stuck in denial makes the issue more intriguing. I want to gain more knowledge about the proven science behind the issue and learn the difference of opinions between nations.

Becoming more aware of the issues that our existence faces has made sustainable decisions apart of my everyday life. I have become more aware of my behavior. Although I have gotten better in decreasing my personal footprint—I have a long way to go. The realization that becoming more sustainable within everyday life—in personal actions has made me see that it has a lot to do with sacrifice of learned societal behaviors. I am excited to start this new chapter of life that is quickly approaching me—with a new outlook of doing my best to live with the future of next generations in mind. I look forward to doing my best to live this way.

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