I started out the semester not knowing what sustainability and sustainability practices involved. I knew the very basics such as it involved recycling and reusing as many materials as possible and minimizing waste. I still believe this is the basis of the definition of sustainability however over this course I have learned that it involves much more. Its not just about recycling it has more to do with protecting the future generations and helping keep a clean environment that is more enjoyable to live in. I learned that knowing what sustainability means and living it are two complexity different things.
The most prominent epiphany that i had during this course is that I am not sustainable. After taking several of the online footprint quizzes and learning more about what ‘sustainability’’ consists of I know there are areas where I could definitely improve my sustainable practices. I have taken small steps which will hopefully lead me to larger changes. Before this class I had never thought of design as being sustainable-now that is one of the first things that comes to mind. As I mentioned previously, sustainability to me always meant recycling and reusing. Now my horizons have expanded and I know that there are so many more aspects to sustainability and that with sustainable design efforts can be even greater.
One of the topics I found most intriguing is Biomimicry. This is when nature is studied and its practices are mimicked in man made products. I had never heard of this concept until this course. This concept could be utilized and is being utilized in many aspects of design and product development. If we want to keep things sustainable then why not look to nature which has been able to cope within itself. It nay makes sense and is the smart thing to do for our environment. Over this semester we have watched TED talks, presented LOLA shows, Design Slams, and had many lectures about different aspects of sustainability. I learned the most from the TED talks because I learn better by watching videos. I also like the design slams because it let me think outside of the box to create something useful and creative. Even if the product was not complexity feasible at the moment it was still fun to think about and be creative.
If I had to choose one thing that stood out the most during this course it would be the TED talk where the father and daughter duo were building houses and buildings out of bamboo. Bamboo is one of the (if not the) most sustainable plant on the planet. It can withstand massive amounts of pressure and it is able to be reused. The construction and architecture of these bamboo houses was amazing and I think it would be very cool to visit one…however I do not think I could make the commitment of living in one.
Moving forward after this course I would like to work on my ‘footprint’. I could do this by using more glass instead of plastics and also recycling trash. This would be a step in the right direction considering that I have yet to do anything substantial in my life to contribute to a sustainable world. I think that there is still a lot for me to learn. I would have liked to further discuss the idea that the world is becoming less sustainable over time. I agree with this somewhat but on the other hand I think that there is a growing population who are having a great impact upon society with their sustainability education and practices. As my graduation approaches on the 12th, I would like to think I am leaving with a more in depth knowledge of the world and how sustainable practices can have such a large impact on everyone…even if they are unaware of it like I was before this course. I have gained a lot of insight into the world of sustainability.