In class we discussed what we can and should do next as newly conscious consumers. If we can apply what we have learned in this class to the real world and try to make a change for sustainability efforts.
We watched a Ted Talk by Leyla Acaroglu, who is essentially an activist. She discussed the fact that everything at some point comes from nature, and it’s how we use the materials that depict what it will ultimately do to the environment. She introduced an idea of environmental folklore, or what we essentially initially think of when it comes to sustainability. We as a society need to learn to do more with less. She looks at life cycle assessment to see how every step of our processes have a reaction with the natural environment. She also interestingly talked about the fact that when things are biodegradable, they cannot necessarily break down in landfills because there is a different atmosphere there. So therefore, they can sound like good products but if we mindlessly get rid of them, they could actually contribute to environmental problems, instead of changing it at all. She pointed at refrigerators as culprits to waste also; because they are made so huge that it makes it so much easier to waste food because you are used to buying so much of it. She said the UN’s latest stat was that the US actually wastes 40% of its food… that is a huge and terrible number. An intriguing example was kettle usage in the UK; everyone runs theirs seemingly at the same time, which drains loads of energy. If a new innovative design were introduced even for kettles, it could hugely impact energy usage. We as designers and merchandisers could be the ones to find ways of solving these kinds of environmental problems. Also phone waste, when people buy and replace old phones, they often times throw them away. Consumption is the biggest problem, but design is the best solution.
We also talked about an article we read which outlined four persons at work in sustainability: The Communicator-Educator, The Activist, The Entrepreneur, and The Facilitator. We went around talking about which ones we most identify with and least identify with. I am currently strongest as the communicator, I feel I could easily take away some fun facts and interesting topics from this class to inform my peers about sustainability efforts and practices. However, I feel somewhat weak at the moment in the entrepreneur category. I do feel educated on random details to now spread that knowledge on to others; however, I don’t currently possess enough knowledge on any one issue in particular to come up with my own creative or entrepreneurial solution just yet. Maybe within time this would change.