To me, sustainability is choices, practices, and lifestyles that are future oriented and focused on providing minimal damage and cost for future generations and users. It is difficult to put into words, exactly what sustainability is, but I think in my personal life it has become a means of living. When it comes to sustainable design, I would define it as creating a space that meets the needs of current users, but also sets up future users for success and their needs. The more I have learned about sustainable design, the more I find just how difficult it is, but how fulfilling and satisfying it is to not on the designer but also the user. Compared to the beginning of the course, my ideas and concepts relating to sustainability have drastically changed, and most of them came from being informed. At first, I related sustainability to just recycling or not being very wasteful, those actions make up only a small part of our day. On the other hand, I have found that true sustainability, ideally, is woven into our daily lives, and it is a driving factor into who we are and how we live. I haven’t quite mastered this ability, but I am making strides.
I think the most important and biggest thing I learned throughout these blogs and the course is that there really aren’t any rules, and that nothing has to stay the same. We as a society need to adapt to survive, and the best way to do that is through design. If we create environments that promote and ease sustainable choices, we have the ability to directly influence people and the daily choices they make. That’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s also the greatest room for improvement. “Our sustainability journey,” as cliché as it sounds, was an interesting one for the class. So many of the things we learned about, we had no idea existed, or was even a need. Living in the United States gives us so many luxuries, and the greatest of all is peace of mind. But when we watched The 11th Hour, it was shocking to see just how unstable our lifestyles are, and the resources we want and need are limited. I think that if people took the time to become informed about the sustainability issues that we are on the cusp of, our country and world would look a whole lot different.
What I want to learn more about is after people or companies have sustainable ideas, how they get them implemented. It’s one thing to have this idea, but how do they go about accomplishing it? Do they conduct all services in house? Do they hire out a sustainable surrogate? Because there are no rules, it means they have to start from scratch. I would love to see the process from the conception of the idea to the final implementation. Something that we did not learn about, but now that I have gone through the course, is the legal process. Are there certain tax breaks for sustainable practices? Is there a certain legal processes that are required for certain sustainable practices? I know hardly anything about legal processes in general, but it greatly intrigues me in how it could differ when it comes to sustainability.
My biggest takeaway, and something that I have been inspired to pursue is a life of physical minimalism. As I have progressed through my college career and un-packed and packed all of my belongings, I have truly found just how much stuff I have. After hearing from Dr. Armstrong and Dr. Pulay, I was inspired to pare down on my belongings and focus much more on the sentimentality or function of the item.