To me, sustainability is living my life and making choices in a way that does not negatively impact my personal environment and more importantly the global environment. Sustainable living requires taking personal accountability for all of our actions and being thoughtful in everything we do in order to avoid negative repercussions. Sometimes I wish we could track the plastic bottles in the ocean to who purchased them so we would start recognizing that we are a part of the problem. Legislation does not move fast enough to create real change in our daily lives so we need to start making personal changes because it’s the right thing to do. Thoughtless actions and convenience are two reasons we have the problems we do today. Our methods and actions need to be rethought.
By living sustainably and upholding these standards in our personal lives, they should naturally become part of our professional lives as well. In fields such as design, where sustainability is such a large factor, we have the power to make changes and see it go into effect. Sustainable design therefore is creating spaces and buildings that do not negatively impact the environment. I want to work for a firm that employs sustainable designs so that I can learn from them. It is easy to say I will use sustainable techniques, but I know I have a lot to learn about how to do this and working for a sustainable company will show me how to actually put these techniques into practice.
Sustainability has always been important to me, but this course has shown me how pressing this issue is. I would not say that my conceptualization of this topic has changed but I have learned a lot about new topics such as Biophilia, Biomimicry, and Cradle to Cradle. They are now something I have included in my projects and hope to continue including in my coming designs.
I think they most pronounced epiphany I had was the urgency of our situation. I have the ability to help or hurt it every day not only professionally but personally. This course did more than impact how I will go about my career but also how I will go about living my life. “The 11th Hour” really put a lot into perspective for me and was an excellent film. I had never thought about how the earth will be fine and that it is humans that need saving. It is an interesting viewpoint but could motivate humans to be more sustainable even if for selfish purposes. By selfish purposes I mean just for the survival of the human race and not for the survival of the planet and wellbeing of other species and living creatures.
Another topic I found very interesting was biomimicry. Nature’s processes are perfect; they create no waste and only use what they need. Nature is a closed loop. There are so many answers in nature that can solve our problems. We have been living in a culture of waste creation as a solution for too long. It is not natural and is unsustainable. We cannot keep it up. By looking to nature, we can find solutions. We must undo and rethink our current methods but there is a way. If nature can do it, so can humans, because humans are a part of nature. It is time we stop viewing ourselves as separate from nature.
My sustainability journey is far from over. Our generation and the generations to follow need to make sustainability a lifelong mission. There is never a point when we can just call it good and quit trying. Some see this as daunting and a reason to not try at all. However, as we learned in one of the provided articles, pessimistic views only cause you to fail. By having an optimistic mindset on the problem, you are more likely to come up with solutions and truly cause change, even though this problem is huge. Keeping a positive outlook is crucial in our sustainability journey.
Now, I want to learn more about applying these concepts we have learned about. This class instilled the importance of sustainability but I have a lot to learn about how to implement these concepts into my designs in ways that are realistic and profitable for my future clients. For example, solar power is an excellent alternative, but I do not know how to put it in a design or talk to my clients about it. I know LEED certification in buildings and interiors is something we should aim for, but I am not sure what all that entails.
I think my next step in my sustainability journey other than getting a job which supports sustainable design is studying for the LEED Green Associate exam. I am wanting to become LEED accredited and know that I would learn a lot about sustainable applications through that process. Working for a firm who practices sustainable design would also help me in this process of continuing my education. Real world applications is a great way to learn and I am excited to start learning about the full picture upon graduation