More Serious Than I Realized

On the first day of class, my initial thoughts on sustainability were little to none. I had heard the terms reduce, recycle, and reuse and knew little things I could do in my everyday  life to live more sustainably such as:

  • Turning off the lights when you leave a room
  • Turn the water off while brushing your teeth or washing your face
  • Using a water bottle that you can refill
  • Turning your TV off when you’re not watching it
  • Giving your clothes to Good Will or Salvation Army
  • Putting non-wearable clothes in clothing recycling bins
  • Recycling your trash

I try to implement all of these things into my life, but there is still this feeling of not knowing what I’m doing or even why I’m doing it. I know that it is important for the health of our environment and that everyone should work on living more sustainably, but that’s about it. I’ve always felt that sustainability is a word that everyone wants but never actually achieves.

The first thing that really grabbed my attention and opened my eyes to just how crucial sustainable living is was, the documentary, The 11th Hour. It was the first time I felt like all the dots were connected. It made me realize that sustainability isn’t just important to the survival of the human race and our planet; it is the survival it. It linked several natural disasters and global warming all to our own unsustainable practices. The way we live is essentially killing us slowly. It talked about how we as a culture see ourselves superior to and separate from nature. As I sit in my kitchen writing this post, I am watching men cut down a large tree next door in order to build a duplex. Before watching this video I wouldn’t have thought much of it, but now my heart just breaks. I realized that this tree has more of a right to be here than this duplex, yet it has no way to defend itself. As it’s cut limb by limb, the man building the duplex stands there proudly imaging the building in its place, completely overlooking the beauty and life of this tree. Our priorities are centered on economic growth, expansion, and politics instead of quality of life.

I think Easter Island is a great example of how this world could turnout if we don’t make some serious changes. It was a dose of reality for me, and I think everyone should read this article. We are trapped on this earth just like they were on Easter Island. I’ve realized just how naïve it is to think that we can keep living like this. I don’t think I understood the severity of the situation. If we don’t start working towards living a more sustainable life worldwide, we too could end up like Easter Island. There is so much that can be done that would make drastic improves, that isn’t being done, due to the government, politics, and money. Not only did the islanders continue to use up all their resources when they knew of the shortages, but they consumed them at even faster rates to achieve higher status among other clans . They were only concerned with who had the most statues, and look where that got them. What is the point of having all these statues if you’re not even alive to appreciate them? This reality check applies to everyone. Our cultural mindset and behavior has to change from quantity to quality.

The article Fashioning Sustainability briefly touched on a lot of sustainability issues/challenges in the clothing industry that have been discussed before in some of my other classes. It didn’t have as much of an impact on me as the other article and The 11th Hour did, but I feel like it bring up a great point that really got me thinking. Over the last few years, there has been an increasing demand for healthy foods and organic products. It’s become it’s own trend where supermarkets and consumers are competing on who’s the greenest/most ethical. The fashion industry can really learn from this and create that same demand for sustainable/ethical designs, processes, and practices. Retailers and Brands have the power to influence the way consumer’s shop. As discussed in class, there are sustainable ways like using milk and microbes that designers can use to create clothing. This opens a door to a whole new kind of fashion that consumers need to be exposed to. We need them to want and demand more sustainable designs. It really makes me want to become more involved in getting people excited and invested in sustainable fashion.

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