Sustainability… a word that has been heard by my ears and read with my eyes many a times. After three years of hearing “about it” I should have understood everything, right? Wrong. It was not until I took this course did I really understand what it means… and how it is impacting the world… and how it’s not. And I am not afraid to say there is still much I have to learn.
I want to take this time to touch on some topics that were either completely new to me or I learned a wealth of information about. This first is empathic design. I am a tad embarrassed to say this was a pretty new topic for me. I’m sure I had heard of it before, but never had it presented to me so fully. To me empathic design is a huge element of sustainable design. I think it has great power. In fact, I don’t believe the full potential of influence has been achieved. Empathic design in my opinion, is given a product the appeal and desire to be kept by a consumer for many, many years. Therefore, if this is true then empathic design leads to a huge reduction in waste.
Waste… a massive problem on earth. It is destructive. It is overwhelming. It is deadly. And it is completely man-made. The reduction of waste is VITAL in creating a surviving, healthy earth. Empathic design decreases this waste. There is so much potential in empathic design and I believe brands, manufacturers and organizations can utilize this concept in an impactful way.
Another concept of sustainability that I learned a great amount about is biomimicry. It was definitely my favorite topic of the class. In my opinion, it is the most impactful concept. Nature is flawless. Nature is impressive. Nature is GENIOUS. The fact that something could be designed using biomimicry has opened up unlimited possibilities. It is so simple too. If nature can function without over-consuming, producing massive waste, and creating toxins, then why can we not do the same? After all, we are a part of nature. No, we are nature. I also think that biomimicry is exciting! It is a mystery and an adventure. It challenges our problem solving minds and calls us to a healthy state of thinking and creating.
The third topic we discussed in class was something I honestly have not put much thought into at all. Labeling. I never considered it to be correlated with sustainability at all. After all, how does labeling impact the environment? After our readings and discussions I realized that labeling impacts the environment by educating the public. If a label could tell a consumer how it’s “green.” Then a consumer would probably be more likely to purchase it. I think ignorance is one of the biggest problems in changing attitudes and behaviors. And I believe it is a major problem with why sustainability isn’t widespread and integrated into our lives. Labeling can combat ignorance. I believe it has a lot of power and potential to advance sustainability.
Those are just a few of many topics I was immersed in during this course. This class has truly made an impact on my life and educated me in ways many classes have not. The depth and breadth of information learned in this class has given me more confidence in talking about sustainability with others. I know I will be using what I learned when I go into the professional world and I will be able to share with others. It has not just given me knowledge but also altered the way I see and create design. I know I will be given the opportunities throughout my career to use my design for impacting the world in a positive and influential way… and I look forward to it!