When I first started this class sustainability wasn’t a foreign language to me. I have heard the word thrown around to make designs and ideas seem more desirable to certain people and associations. All throughout years in school and being a part of a community, we have learned about recycling and how that benefits our community and why we should do it. I always knew these went hand and hand, but I never knew the extent to which it did. After this class, the definition for the word “sustainability” has been forever changed. There is so much more that goes into maintaining and creating a sustainable lifestyle that I never thought imaginable. I would now define it as promoting a healthy and safer way to better our environment. Practicing acts of sustainability go way beyond actions. It is a mental state that can be achieved by completely emerging yourself in a sustainable lifestyle. Before this course, I never thought about if my actions were “green” or not. I went throughout my day not giving a second thought about what I was putting in my trash, what materials I was using, how much I was driving and how necessary it was, etc. Today, I am very aware of these things. I have grown a passion to better my household and myself by creating a more sustainable environment.
There are many takeaways from this course. One of the most prominent ones for me was the carbon footprint. I accessed my carbon footprint in high school and it was very high then, I couldn’t believe my carbon footprint was even more now! I never realized how wasteful of resources I was until I completed that exercise. I want to practice being more sustainable so that I can personally get my number down to a more reasonable state. Could you imagine if everyone was requited to partake in that exercise, how many eyes would be open and willing to change our environment? Another thing I liked was learning about biophillic design. We spent many lectures, readings and exercises digging deep into the philosophy behind biophillic design. As a future interior designer, I like learning about this so I could implicate it into my future designs. There are really no limitations when it comes to being sustainable and creating a sustainable environment. The ideas and philosophies are so new that the possibilities are endless. I also liked learning about empathic design. Designing while having others in mind is the sole purpose to design is it not? We design to improve their wellbeing in spaces being used daily. Our society designs for mass consumption and not for mass usage. By designing empathically, our materials and products will last longer and be used more by the user. One thing as designers that we need to realize is that we are not designing for ourselves, but merely for our users. Once we live under that philosophy, is when we will become better designers.
Knowing what I know now, I want to expand on these principles in daily life as well as in my future job. I know a lot of interior design/architecture firms are very adamant on creating sustainable designs because of the longevity and durability of the materials and products. For myself, I would like to practice more of a sustainable lifestyle and even start teaching my parents about these ways. There were many videos and exercises that we did during this course that hit home to me. Sometimes it takes a little push to realize how exactly bad we are hurting our ecosystem. Going into this course, I didn’t know exactly what to expect from it. I like everything that we learned. Some was repetitive, but the purpose of that was to make the ideas and theories stick, so I think in the long run that was a good tactic. For now, I will pay more attention to what goes into the making of products, what materials we are using where, and how we are disposing of our waste. The hazardous material that we are polluting our environment with was the craziest thing I read. If it isn’t beneficial to the environment, why are we doing it? I get the high levels of productivity the pollution creates, but in the long run, why would we continue to use this tactic? I will definitely be keeping up with the news and TED talks to further my research of this movement. I think it will benefit my surrounding environment to do so. I thoroughly enjoyed this course because it was so eye opening to me.