As I reflect back on week one of this class I can’t help but laugh at how much I didn’t know about sustainability. I thought it was a blue trash can with a yellow lid that you threw certain garbage into. I thought it was a cardboard can on campus labeled paper only. I have learned so much about the different approaches one can take to create a more sustainable environment for our future generations and I am so thankful for that. This class has cursed me (in a good way) with being mindful in everything I do. I can’t wash a small load of clothes without feeling guilty. I can’t buy bottle water without regretting the decision. I can’t drive to work on a pretty day without the internal debate of whether I am close enough that I should be walking.
This course has made me much more aware of my personal impact on this planet. I know look at sustainability as a way of life not just as a good habit involving recycling. It’s turning lights off, washing only large loads of laundry on cold, walking to class, carpooling, taking short showers, not buying excess amounts of clothes, and much more. Sustainability is being a good steward of our planet and making it not only last but be a good environment for future generations. A lot has changed in my life since the beginning of this class.
I think the most important realization I came to during this course was that my actions do matter. Even though I am just one person, I can absolutely make a difference. As a merchandiser I thought I wasn’t going to have an impact on the industry. What I had to understand was, merchandisers have the choice of what type of interiors we select, what time of businesses we support and sell within our stores, we can eliminate paper receipts like so many are already doing, we can have biodegradable mannequins, hangers etc.; there are so many seemingly small things that we have control of.
Biomimicry, one of the many modules we touched on, is another aspect of sustainability. If we seek out answers for problems through nature we will gain knowledge on how to solve issues in a sustainable way. Nature provides a way of living that mindfully uses and reuses resources. There is no such thing as waste when it comes to nature.
Empathic design was my favorite part of this course. I love being able to connect with people on a deeper level and get to know what makes them tick, what problems they are facing, and how I can make their life better. My LOLA show got to be about empathic design, which I was really excited about. I looked to the people in my life to find inspiration. I chose my grandpa as my client to design for because he has dealt with diabetes my whole life and I wanted to find a way that I could make his and people like him have a better life. It was easy for my to step into his shoes because I have seen first hand the struggles and inconveniences diabetes creates. It is important when designing, to create some sort of emotional attachment to the product so the user will keep it longer.
Moving forward I would like to keep researching different designers who understand sustainable practices and only buy items from them. When I open my own store I definitely plan to only sell eco-friendly products. I would like to own a small boutique that specializes in some sort of empathic design depending on which target market I want to design for. I look forward to continuing on this journey called life in a more sustainable way. Always remember, YOU can make a difference!