When class first began, I defined sustainability as “doing what we can now to keep the Earth healthy so the generations to come can enjoys the planet to its full glory.” I still agree with that definition, but I also now understand that sustainability goes so much deeper than just keeping the earth healthy. Sustainability is an umbrella topic that covers mental, physical, and emotional health, as well as Earth health. Over this semester I have learned that there are many different ways that sustainability and sustainable design can be defined. If I were to write a definition for sustainability now, I would say that it is improving our overall wellbeing by protecting our earth, appreciating nature, and leaving the smallest footprint we can on the planet. I have altered this definition because I now have a much better understanding of empathetic design, biomimicry, nature centered design, cradle to cradle, biophilic design, and many other theories covered in class. Of all of the theories I think that my favorite has come to be nature centered design. I really enjoy designing around nature and like nature, and I think the through nature centered design you get the opportunity to implement all the other principles and theories.
I have taken away so many things from this class. I tell my classmates from other classes, and my friends from other majors all the time that I believe I have learned more in this class than almost any other class in college. I so appreciate Professor Jayadas and his passion for the subject because it makes learning the material so much more fun and worthwhile. Unfortunately, I was not raised in a family that had a high focus on sustainability or a sustainable lifestyle, so a lot of my epiphanies come from learning daily activities I can be doing to help myself be more sustainable. I really enjoyed activities like the carbon footprint measure and design probes, because it gave me some real examples of how I can implement sustainability into my daily life. Another epiphany that I had during class was that we really need to be more outspoken about the issues we are seeing in the world. I have said in many blogs that I feel the first thing we have to accomplish to make a more sustainable world is to educate and inform people of the real issues we are facing. Since beginning this class I have a whole new understand of the importance of living sustainably and efficiently. I have started to try to be more minimal, and I have even started looking into the idea of a tiny home!
In the future, I hope to continue my knowledge on the subject so that I can continue to implement these practices in my life. I think right now I have a pretty good idea of ways to be sustainable and sustainable design, but I am in no way an expert on the subject. I think it will take me several years before I am really where I want to be in the sense of sustainability, but I hope to continue learning and pushing forward to reduce my carbon footprint as much as I can. I cannot think of anything that I wish had been covered in class, but I do wish that it were possible to have the class as separate degrees. I think the Interior Design students and the apparel/merchandising students would benefit greatly from the class being broken up, so that the knowledge can be a little more specialized, but I do think that professor Jayadas did the very best that he could to cover all the different topics concerning ID and apparel/merchandising.
In my very first blog I wrote that I thought that if we start informing students from the time they are young about the issues the world is facing, we are more likely to make an impact on the future, especially because kids are the future. Which I think is overwhelmingly true. The easiest minds to impact are young minds, so I truly believe that is where we need to start.