This semester began and it was cold, we were all wishing we were still at home with hot chocolate and hallmark Christmas movies, and forever hating ourselves for having a class the next four months at 8am on Mondays. To start out our long journey, we went around the room and each shared what we thought sustainability to mean. While there were a few differences in our definitions, for the most part we all said around the same thing. Honestly, I personally could not tell you for the life of me what my response was that very first day…I have slept (not nearly enough) since then. One thing I know for sure is that I probably had no idea how to appropriately define the word sustainability. Now that the semester has come to a close and we no longer will dread our alarm for Monday morning class, I certainly can say I have gained a more vast and greater understanding on sustainability and sustainable practices.
If we were to go around once more and revisit the question that opened this class that first day, it would be eye-opening seeing how differently we all view sustainability now that we know how to utilize those practices. At first I would have most likely said something about being eco-friendly and green when asked what I thought. Now, I would define sustainability and sustainable design, personally, as designing and using resources that preserve the world we live in and reusing those resources in innovative ways to better the environment and those around us for years to come. Along with my new definition these last four months came knowledge of a variety of ways that sustainability can be implemented. As I am going into my summer internship I have been seeing more and more ways we in the design field can be more sustainable.
Each reflection I had and every week I learned something else I had not known before or a different perspective on something I had. As I look back, each blog I wrote dealt with a different issue or aspect of being sustainable. The one thing that was consistent no matter the overall topic was my frustration with the world and what needs to change. I said over and over again that it all goes back to the resounding fact that absolutely nothing in the world will improve or change unless we, as designers, DO SOMETHING about it. A good portion of the articles we were tasked to read and discuss in class stated over and over and over again every problem we are facing with sustainability in the world. What few succeeded to note is what specifically we can do or how we can fix those problems.
At the beginning of this class I thought I knew what sustainability was but I didn’t know exactly how to reach sustainability. However, week after week I learned new ways to achieve it including through empathic design, industrial ecology, local motive, cradle2cradel and biomimcry. I was able to increase my imaginative rational linked to sustainable design by thinking about products created with the above outlets in mind. The journey was not always an easy one by any means. I had to truly become cognizant of my individual actions and what impact they have on the world. I also realized that as a designer I have the power to create new sustainable products that can help others to become passionate about sustainability.
Knowing what I know now after this enlightening semester, I most definitely want to expand my knowledge exponentially regarding LEED and how I can apply it as I move forward in my designing career. I also hope to continue learning about LEED and gain my LEED:GA so that I can help design a more sustainable environment. There is nothing I love more in this world than having the opportunity to create a space where people can escape from the doom and gloom of the world. Thanks to this class I am well on my way to being able to do just that and I am overjoyed!
You thought I was going to make muppet references from that title didn’t you? Too bad I had other things on my mind instead… Hooray for sustainability!