Tiny changes, tiny houses

This week, we had two speakers visit our class. Alisa spoke of the lego concept that she came up with in which clothing is built upon one another and can be used in very different ways but with the same material. She also spoke about sustainability issues and specifically, targeted used clothing to create new garments. She used jeans mostly and created new pieces using patches from those items that were deemed “finished” by others. It was a great idea and one that could be used easily to generate new items that we would normally have thrown out.

Dr. Pulay spoke to us about her decision to build and reside in a tiny house and why she chose to do so. I thought it was interesting that she didn’t consider herself a minimalist because I certainly did! I guess it’s all in the way you view things and those around you because compared to me, she’s definitely a minimalist. I have been interested in this particular concept for quite some time now so I was glad that she shared her thoughts with us. I also found the TED talk about the two guys pairing down to be really cool because I hear those same concerns from so many others…we have too much stuff, we are in debt, we aren’t really happy, etc. Yet it’s a lot different when you actually choose to walk away from those things and decide to make a great life change such as they did. But your mindset would have to change too, it wouldn’t be “what do I have to give up” as much as it would be “when I get rid of the stuff, my mind and body will have more room.” I am definitely moving toward that end of the spectrum!

We also had more LOLA presentations in class this week. The three that stood out to me were the Dr. Comfort socks which used bamboo charcoal in material for diabetic patients’ socks and made it more comfortable since the feet are generally affected; the Iz Adaptive pants which were specifically designed clothing pieces for those in wheelchairs, making it possible for them to be comfortable yet supported while having to sit for longer periods of times in precarious positions. And lastly, the Liftware which designed utensils for patients with Parkinsons, allowing them to feed themselves without shaking as badly. With all three presentations, the focus was on people with specific special needs so it’s reassuring to know that so many people are cared for and even when we don’t have any idea, something is affecting someone while another is providing a solution for them. It made me think that maybe there is some hope in humanity afterall.

The Design Slam II was very difficult this time around for our group! The problem presented was designing a kitchen for one with dementia in 15 minutes! We tried to cover the main points but the topic was very broad and somewhat conflicting because being in the kitchen is generally not a good idea for dementia patients because there are so many things that are off limits due to possible injury. But I understood that it’s unfair to keep them from it too so the limitations would just have to be severe.

As far as sustainability being a wicked problem…yes, it’s overwhelming and I often times feel that I am not making a difference because for every one thing I may do, someone will else will inevitably do two things to negate my one. But that’s not really what it’s about because if we left it at that, we wouldn’t do anything and nothing would change. So, we have to educate ourselves, be aware of issues that affect us on a small scale as well as a global scale and then choose to start making a difference in at least one place. It’s constant work, it’s constantly changing and can seem like there is no end in sight but if each of us would advocate for one thing each, we could literally change how our communities look, act and respond to important issues.

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