Blog 3

This past week we learned about Biomimicry, Industrial Ecology, and Nature Centered Design. The lecture on Tuesday really interested me because I never really knew what Industrial Ecology was or how it even related to Biomimicry and what those differences were. It was nice to learn about it and understand the concept. I also found the seven waste slide interesting because I never knew there were seven kinds of waste. (Overproduction, Inventory, Waiting, Motion., Transformation, Rework, and Over processing) I feel like its common in the apparel merchandising world to overproduce garments so maybe that’s something we can try to change. The second article talked about Nature Centered design and how waste is our food. Everything goes in a cycle of life and everything we use is going to be renewed in some way or the other. I never really knew that there was a difference between Recycling and Reusing. I honestly thought they were both the same exact thing. But I learned that recycling uses separating and reprocessing of fiber/polymer/granule level. Whereas Reusing is the use of reclaimed materials as is, no separating or processing.

The Michael Pawlyn Ted talk was super interesting and eye opening to me. It always inspires me that people can come up with these amazing ideas inspired by nature to use in every day life. Architecture has always been something I’ve admired so its awesome to see the advances in sustainability people are coming up with. Michael Pawlyn describes in his talk three different habits of nature that could transform architecture and society. Those three habits being Radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun. The Eden Project really stuck out to me because it was fascinating that they could find all these different solutions using biology to incorporate them into this greenhouse they were building. I’m currently taking biology so I can definitely see how biology can be used in making buildings and other things more nature like.

The Benvus article “Closing the loops in Commerce” was a long article to get through but it taught you how to create a closed loop in our world. My group touched on tenet seven “Don’t Draw Down Resources” This section focused on using your resources efficiently. Basically don’t use nonrenewable resources faster than you can develop them and don’t use renewable resources faster than they regenerate themselves. We need to be developing substitutes at the same rate we are using them but we aren’t doing that so something needs to change. What can we do to change that? Another tenet that stuck out to me was number one “Use Waste as a Resource” We are putting on more biomass and need to create more recycling loops in order for it to not collapse. We need to become more self contained. Ecologists are attempting to build a “no waste economy.” To me that seems like an idea that will be hard to accomplish. There is already so much waste in our world that we still nee to get rid of. As much as a no waste economy sounds, I think it might be a hard problem to solve. Another tenant that stuck out to me was number 4 “Optimize Rather Than Maximize” We need to figure out a way to use the resources we have so we have less waste. Eighty-five perfect of manufactured items quickly become waste. That’s a huge number of waste we have. What can we do to lower that number? I think trying to limit waste is something we should really focus on.

Per google Industrial ecology conceptualizes industry as a man-made ecosystem that operates in a similar way to natural ecosystems, where the waste or by product of one process is used as an input into another process. It interacts with natural ecosystems and attempts to move from a linear to cyclical or closed loop system. Like natural ecosystems, industrial ecology is in a continual state of flux. An example of Industrial ecology I found was Business parks. The public stakeholders who manage these areas try to make them more attractive. There are numerous achievements throughout the world, there are eco-industrial parks in Asia, Oceania, North America, and Europe.

The six life principals are evolve to survive, Be Resource Efficient, Adapt to Changing Conditions, Integrate Development with Growth, Be locally Attuned and Responsive, Use Life-friendly Chemistry. These principals represent the overarching patterns found amongst species surviving and thriving on Earth. I’ve never even heard of these life principals before so I definitely think they are principals that we should incorporate in our lives more. My favorite is Be Resource Efficient. We need to take advantage of the local resources we are given. We need to recycle and try to use energy efficiently.

Unfortunately, I was not in class for the Craddle2Craddle activity. I’m sad I missed it though because it looked like a really interesting and insightful activity.

My carbon footprint value didn’t really surprise me. Although I am below the U.S National average, I still could do better at conserving energy and being more efficient. My two biggest factors were Home energy (48.9%) and Driving and Flying (41.0%) which doesn’t surprise me. I live in a rental home here at OSU which most college kids do, and my roommates and I struggle with remembering to unplug things when we aren’t using them. But we are trying to change that! I also live in Tulsa and go home often so I tend to put a lot of miles on my car. I’m hoping this year I wont be driving to Tulsa as much so that will help to conserve gas and energy!

I recycle everything I can at my home in Tulsa and also my home here in Stillwater. I try to conserve energy as much as possible like leaving the lights off when they aren’t needed and keeping the air conditioning at a certain temperature. I’d like to start to try to recycle old clothing items and continue to leave things unplugged when I’m not using them. I’m all for helping the environment so I will do whatever I can to help!

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