The semester has come to close and so has my blogging on my sustainable journey. I leave Oklahoma State University with not just my degrees in Apparel Merchandising and Business Marketing, but with a fresh profound perspective on sustainability and the world we live in. Now as I enter the “real” world I must take what I learned here at Oklahoma State University and apply it as I embark on the world. Now I am going to discuss my journey of sustainability in terms of past, present, and future.
Growing up in the North Star State of Minnesota I was accustomed to some great habits from the beginning that has taken Oklahoma longer to adapt to. As a child I was always aware of recycling and practiced recycling essentially everywhere in Minnesota; for we always had an option between recycling and trash. It was great as a child to make this a habit in my everyday life. We always had a recycling service come and pick up our trash every 2 weeks. When my family moved to Oklahoma in 2008 we were shocked we had no such recycling pick up service. We also had a great service in Minnesota called VETS. VETS came monthly and would pick up any unwanted items from your home such as clothes, televisions, couches, etc. they would take these items away for you and it would go towards shelters, recycling, up cycling, and more sustainable practices. Looking back at utilizing VETS it was a great practice towards sustainability and implements a lot of practices of Ted’s Ten. I like to think that Minnesota was an early adapter towards sustainable practices and making those practices easy for the public to adapt to.
Lets take a look at the sustainable practices we undertake at my house in Tulsa. For starters we still very much practice recycling. Even though we live further from town and have no recycling pick up service we still recycle. My parents collect the recycling in plastic bags and then drop it off at the recycling center in downtown Bixby every 2 weeks.
Now for our ranching ways… we have lots of chickens! We get about 3 dozen eggs everyday. The chickens are free range so we have nice fresh organic eggs. We also have a blue bucket located in our kitchen that at mealtime we put into the bucket some leftovers and scraps to give to the chickens. This eliminates waste and is a cradle-to-cradle matter given we put the food back where it starts and we are biodegradable with our practices. This also provides our chickens with nutrients. The purpose of the eggs is that my Mom sells chicken eggs at the gym and we give them away to family and friends. I will tell you, you can definitely taste the difference with the eggs. We also just got bees recently, which is awesome for getting fresh honey. The fresh honey has also greatly helped allergy issues within my family. It is reported that having organic regionally harvested honey from your region helps with reducing seasonal allergy issues through immunotherapy. Essentially this is inputting some elements of what are allergic to back into your body and then you build up immunity to that allergen. The honey we harvest has greatly helped at reducing my allergy issues and flare-ups. We also have a very large garden full of fresh veggies and fruits. Then for our 3 ponds we have on the land. Our front pond is stocked with thousands of fish (catfish, bass, and bluegill). We also grow wheat in the back pasture that is simply for the purpose of feeding geese, birds, and wildlife. It is the way we are giving back to nature.
All in all, we are set at our house with very sustainable and organic means. We are able to put meals on the table all from our land. It is wonderful to know exactly where your food is coming from and knowing that no additives, hormones, etc. have been added. I have to admit ever since we moved to Oklahoma and our land we have been eating very clean. Not only are these practices sustainable but it is also trades that people should learn so they can to produce their own food to put on their table.
Dr. Jayadas asked the question throughout the year of if I am going to an activist or social entrepreneur. As I sit now and reflect on this matter of the future I must say that I will not be partaking in it. I feel as though through practice people will catch on. I find this evident with recycling, gardens, reducing energy use, switching to eco friendly items; it does not take activism. Sustainability practices catch on just like fashion trends…. Soon those sustainability practices become trends and everyone is doing it. I think what Dr. Jayadas should ask is if we see ourselves being trendsetters in sustainability practices. In that case I could see more positive responses. I know I will be a trendsetter in sustainable practices to make for a more efficient, and clean lifestyle especially when it comes to eating organic.
In the end I see a bright future in sustainability through advancements being made by individuals, products, and companies through practices such as less consumption and waste, eco-friendliness, empathic design, biophilic design, biomimicry and much more. We must acknowledge the advancements being made. Now I will leave on this note:
“I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.” ~E. B. White