Sustainable Epiphany

At the beginning of the semester, I defined sustainability as the act of trying to better use our world’s resources and finding better ways to reuse and recycle products. Now, I look at sustainability with the same definition, but with a better and broader understanding of it. Being sustainable means so much more than reusing and recycling products. It’s finding ways that we can make and build things in more “green” ways. Finding ways to decrease the amount of waste when making a product. Finding products that don’t harm the environment when building a new structure. All of these things play a part in sustainability and everything is related to each other and affects one another throughout time. What we do as a generation now, will affect generations yet to come, and the outcome might be much worse than we think. It is the hope that with learning more sustainable practices, that our generation will leave the world better than it was when we were born.

I have had many epiphanies over the course of the past few months, it would be difficult to list them all. One that comes to mind was realizing how we, as designers, can bring cradle to cradle in effect by controlling what goes into our products, and what happens to old or broken products. I believe that cradle to cradle is a very important practice to implement. Another epiphany that I’ve had is about empathic design. This is one idea that I’ve tried to implement in all of my projects since starting in the design program. I want to make sure that my end user, real or fiction, is going to be fully satisfied and comfortable with the designs that I create for them. A key part in making this outcome happen, is implementing empathic design, really getting to know the client and fully understand their vision for the space. This is so important for interior design because many times, designers don’t always listen to what their client wants, they just design what they think would work best and disregard what the client is wanting. Even though I knew about empathic design, this class gave me the opportunity to fully understand how to design empathically for the end users.

Knowing what I know now, I want to learn more about how to implement being sustainable at home and in my everyday life. As a college student, it can be difficult to try and change my entire lifestyle to become sustainable. I try my best by using energy saving lightbulbs, turning off the lights when I’m not in the room, washing dishes by hand to save water, and doing my laundry on energy saving cycles. These are small steps that I have taken to try to be sustainable as a college student. I know that there are more things that I can do to be even more sustainable, but knowing what those things are is the first step. It truly does take one step, one person to begin to change the world. It begins with us.

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