This past week we went to the Botanical Gardens, here in Stillwater. I think going to the garden was a fun and interesting experience because I had never been there before. Some interesting things that I noticed at the garden included a piece of art that was made from old glass bottles and a wooden pole. To me it looked like a tree and it just goes to show an example of how you can take materials that normally get thrown away and repurpose it by creating a unique and fun piece of art. One of the activities that we had to do at the garden was find various things such as something that looked happy and something alive. In my group, we came across a road runner. I have seen road runners before, but had never expierenced such a close encounter as we did on Tuesday. The bird was just walking by some flowers next to my group members and myself. It was only a foot or two away from us. I was surprised on how calm and close it was to us. Just looking at small creatures reminds me of how big the world is and how many different living things are a part of it and its not just humans. So our actions affect those creature’s lives too. Another activity that we did included looking at a tree and using it for inspiration for a solution to a sustainability problem that my industry faces. We took this activity by looking at a tree and not just noticing its outward appearance, but also paying attention to what goes on behind the scenes. A tree sort of recycles itself with the help of nature. You start at the roots which absorbs rain and nutrients from soil. Next you move up to the trunk of the tree which stores water and sap and can provide a home to animals and insects. Then you have the branches and leaves at the top. When the leaves fall off of the branches they go on the ground and turn back into soil eventually which will provide a tree with nutrients to stay alive. If every business in our industry tried to be like a tree and constantly recycle itself by reusing, repurposing, and recycling we would cut down our carbon foot prints so much and help the world be a much more sustainable place. I really enjoyed the Botanical Gardens. My only complaint was that it was muggy outside, but I plan to go back sometime when it is nice outside because it was pretty, relaxing, and inspiring.
For the design slam that we had in class on Thursday, my learning community had the question of how do we as merchandisers try to be sustainable when our job is to sell what is new and almost push and encourage people to be not as sustainable as they could be because we want them to buy. My group thought is was kind of funny and ironic how this is a catch twenty-two. We came up with a business model on how clothing companies and stores can offer incentives to their customers for bringing in clothing that they no longer were. Incentives could be anything from a certain percentage off of new merchanise or store credit, depending on how much unused clothing they bring in. I know that I have a lot of clothes in my closet that I no longer wear and I do go through it about twice a year and donate unwanted clothing to charities, but I turn right back around and fill my closet back up with new clothes. This model would allow business to kind of clean up their own mess. They could take the clothes and reuse the materials to create new merchandise. They would be sustainable because they wouldn’t have to go and get brand new materials everytime they created a new collection of clothes. It also would be an incentive economically because their sourcing costs would be cut back some. It also generates sales and draws their customers to come back and be repeat customers. This would be beneficial for fast fashion companies, I believe, because there is always those certain trends and fads that you will see,but they will die down after a couple of months and then you no longer want to wear those pieces because they are no longer “in style”. Dr. Armstrong asked us about how our idea was differnt from H&M’s program, but no one in my group knew that H&M had something similar to this already, so that just goes to show that they are not marketing it enough since people are not aware of it. It also makes me wonder if there are other companies that are doing this as well and no one knows about it yet either.I think there are some fixes to sustainability that people would participate in if they knew about them, so a way that we could help people be more sustainable is making them aware of these opportunities. Other groups that stood out to me during the design slam was the group that came up with the bamboo bathroom stall. I liked this idea because it was unique, and their thought process was very detailed. It is something that I could see being implemented in private homes and in businesses as well. Another group that stood out to me was the learning community that came up with the idea of creating a social media site. My generation is very pro social media and I think it could have a lot of potential to grow fast and large because of this.
Week 5 of this sustainability journey has been enjoyable. I have continued to make more sustainable decisions in my life as well as encourage my friends to as well, such as putting recyclable material in the recycling bin versus the trash bin, and opening our blinds during the day and not using uneccessary electricity for synthetic light.