First Glance at Sustainability

To me, sustainability means bettering the future for people other than myself and my generation.  At the start of this semester, I come in not knowing much about sustainability other than how much better we all need to be.  I have always thought of sustainability as a way of change and improvement, but my mind didn’t really go much past the fact that we need to do more good for our environment.  I recognize recycling, global warming, trying to “save our planet”… but what does that mean exactly?  Being sustainable is not just a choice you make once every month or week.  It should be a constant decision to better the future for those around you.

The 11th Hour movie was interesting.  I was honestly surprised that I had never heard of it before or been shown the movie in middle school or high school.  I wish I would have seen more like it before my senior year of college! I have never taken a class regarding sustainability and I know that I need to learn more.  Without learning about the causes and consequences of our actions, we will never improve.  I am so surprised that more students in high schools aren’t watching thing similar to this movie to get a better grasp of the concept of sustainability.  Through watching these scholars discuss the importance of this topic and hearing the passion in their voices, I’m realizing that more people need to take this approach.  We should be studying more about this.  Most people don’t think about the consequences, but I definitely think about my grandkids and how well their environment will thrive.  We should be thinking this through for our future families!

Carolin’s presentation was full of new ideas that can benefit our environment and it is clear that she is very passionate about the process of sustainability.  She mentioned Rent the Runway, which is an awesome tool for people who might need a one time event sort of dress or a fancy pair of shoes.  My best friend is thinking about using this or something similar for us bridesmaids in her coming up wedding!

The Wild Thing exercise was an awesome way to get us thinking.  Sometimes, group activities and discussions can be boring and as college students, we get distracted and lose sight of the purpose.  With this exercise, I felt very connected and wanted to know more about other groups’ opinions.  When you don’t know enough about a topic, learning from others is absolutely the best way to go.  It was a great activity and made me think about issues that would’ve never come to my mind otherwise.  Some groups were so creative, which in turn strikes my own creativity and can lead to further discussion.  I am interested to see what else we will discuss throughout the semester and more activities like this.

The story of Easter Island and the Okies resonates well with people today.  We are doing the exact same things as they once did but on a much larger scale.  They used up all of their resources and didn’t give back to or take care of their environment. With such a small community there, things ran out much faster than they are here – but here, regardless of if we are aware or not, resources are dwindling as well.

The articles about Environmentally Healthy Interiors was a great read.   As interior designers, we learn a lot about the consequences of our design choices.  What stands out the most to me is the idea of hiring the correct people to do each job inside of a business or home.  Without the knowledge of a specific trained individual, we may not know these consequences.  A great example is paint.  Paint can have lead, asbestos and other harmful chemicals.  This can lead to serious issues regarding air quality and well-being of people in the area.  We need to be careful and think about our design decisions at all times!

My learning community has been awesome to interact with.  I think we all need to grow and learn so much more about sustainability and what WE can do to help out the world around us.  It is so interesting listening to other group members talk about their vast knowledge of how to be more sustainable and I can’t wait to see what more we all will soak up by December and beyond.

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