The idea of sustainability and what it means has not changed much for me from the beginning of the class till now. It is reducing waste to benefit the world and our society. The ways to become more sustainable and make a difference is what has changed. There is no such thing as trash is a huge sentence that has brought all this to life. Everything that we use can be repurposed or recycled. If we are making the right decisions this will always be the case.
My favorite part of the semester is when we talked about modifying behavior. We can design a million products that are beneficial to the earth, but if they are not used to modify behavior are we really making a difference? I think a great example that we were given in class was the tea kettle in a TedTalk we watched. The idea is that rather than brewing an entire pot for just one glass the kettle requires you to hold down a button the whole time it is heating. So that you don’t have to stand there and hold the button for a lengthy amount of time, people started brewing the correct amount of water for their tea. Katie and I really wanted to focus on this idea when we were working on our final project. We were able to incorporate what we have learned into this unique washing idea. Consumers are constantly starting loads in both the washing machine and the dryer without a full load. This is wasting tons of water and energy that could be saved. We create this idea that there could be a washer and dryer that wouldn’t start without a full load. It’s such a simple idea, but it is modifying behavior. Encouraging people to make sure and have plenty of clothes before they run their machines.
When we discussed biomimicry I was not very into it at first. I didn’t completely understand how it is beneficial. After reading the articles, watching videos and TedTalks, and doing outside research it became clear how much we could learn from the world around us. I went to a panel of students that studied abroad in Costa Rica. One of the panels solely talked about biomimicry. This was the most interesting to me because they were able to actually see what was happening in the world. We read so much in books, but actually getting to experience these incredible things in nature is something that I envy of these students. I think this is something that could be incorporated in future classes. During the weeks studying biomimicry, take students outside to show them some of these things that are being utilized in design.
It is easy to talk about the changes that we will make, but taking action is always the tough part. This class has inspired me to take action in my own life. I have previously blogged about my compost bin in my back yard. It has considerably reduced waste in my household. It is so easy to just dump things in the bin rather than out in our trashcan. We do not have the need to take out trashcan to the curb every week because of how much waste has been reduced. A real factor that inspired change in my household was taking the quiz that reflected how much CO2 I am causing to be let into the air. It was quite the eye opener. It was embarrassing what my number was. The way to change this was simply to make different choices. We don’t have to make big changes, if we all just take steps to make smaller changes; this leads to a much better and larger change in society. I have also been inspired to shop locally. My husband and I shop for vegetables often. We have started going to local food markets and when they are in town we go to the farmer’s market. It is a little more expensive, but the vegetables are better and it makes you feel a whole lot better that you made a decision that has a positive effect.
Overall I feel like this class was very beneficial. It is hard to define after taking a course as to what specifically you are taking away, but with sustainability it wasn’t so difficult. I have changed a few of my behaviors as well as started making more earth conscious decisions.