This past week got me thinking about a lot of things. About what is happening around us as well as what I need to do to help. We talked about problems we see in our industry and we talked about an example of what will happen to the Earth if we keep using up our resources and not think about future generations. This past week has been eye opening and I hope I continue to learn and apply what is discussed during lecture.
Easter Island is a perfect example of where we are all headed if we do not change our ways. The way we use up our resources may not fully be depleted for 100s or even 1000s of years but we are already seeing the effects of what we are doing. When reading about Easter Island I realized they were selfish and greedy, much like a lot of the world is today. The people of Easter Island were focused on material things, although their focus is not on clothes or electronics, theirs was on building ceremonial buildings and whatever else they needed, and carving statues. They blindly used up all the trees on the island without thinking about what future generations would use. They could have planted three trees for each one they cut down or something along those lines. They used up what little livestock they had just because they wanted it right then. I see much of the world in Easter Island, specifically the US.
We are so focused on the next trend and eating anything and everything we can get our hands on with no regards to how much food and clothing we throw out. We want it all and we want it now. Much like Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. She wanted the goose that laid the golden egg just because she wanted it regardless of what it would do to the goose. And when she went to take it she was shot down the garbage shoot for being a “bad egg”. Everyone needs to take a step back and realize how selfish and demanding we are as consumers. If everyone just calmed down and thought of other things besides themselves, I think everything else will just follow. Our demand is what’s making the suppliers of clothes and technology work so hard to make the next best thing and do whatever it takes to get it out to us fast and cheaply.
The Dust Bowl story doesn’t seem as drastic as Easter Island but it too is the result of selfishness. The US was growing, modern medicine was starting to arise, and food demand was getting bigger and bigger. Not only was there more people which created a higher demand, there was also the Great Depression and a drought on top of the Dust Bowl. Although this disaster was not entirely man made, the demands coming in from the people on the east and west coast just increased the need of farming in the middle of the US. The Great Depression did effect the entire country, however when the east and west coasts have cities with more people and more soup kitchens to supply it becomes a little too much for the farmers to handle. The farmers quickly used up the nutrients in the soil and tilled it so much it created all the dust. Once again if more people were self-sufficient it might not have been as big as a problem as it was.
I think one of the biggest problems is filling up landfills with clothing. Clothes are not created to break down especially not in a way that is good for the environment. When I interned at Dillard’s I noticed that they destroy and throw away the “out of season” clothing. No recycling whatsoever. If I were to work for Dillard’s, like I want to do, I would bring it to the owner’s attention and tell them of alternatives to throwing away clothes a long with accessories. I also would create a promotional even which would allow customers to bring in clothes to be recycled to gain a discount on their entire purchase. I think informing the CEOs of alternative ways to take care of the old clothes that would not hinder their profit because that’s really what they’re most concerned about.
The idea of bring old clothes into the store stemmed from my group’s Wild Thing concept. We were given the problem of their not being affordable sustainable products. Although we strayed from the original problem, we know that consumers will do almost anything to get a discount on products. Therefore, we came up with the idea of recycling contests. The contest could be held at the same company but between the different stores across the US. We talked about Bath and Body Works and all the plastic that they use and is then just thrown away without being recycled which harms our environment. Our solution was a consumer could bring in their empty Bath and Body Works bottles which are then sent back to their manufacturer to be reused for more products. In the consumer’s benefit for every 10 or so bottles they get a 10% discount on their purchase. The consumer gets cheaper items along with helping the environment.
The article about the cartoonist really spoke to me. A lot times I find myself scared to take the leap into the unknown, but that is exactly what the cartoonist tells us to do. It’s easy to get stuck in your bubble of what is comfortable and not try anything new even if it’s what you really want to do. However, the cartoonist teaches us that looking to the future can be fun and rewarding. He teaches us to just be ourselves and let our creativity flow even if it is silly. It could lead to something great.
I think paradigms can be a big problem. Some people choose to see the world in such a way that everything is sunshine and rainbows and we’re all doing just fine. However, in reality there are much larger issues when it comes to the environment that people are choosing to not see. We all live in our little bubble, nothing is directly affecting us personally. It can be easy to ignore recycling because living in Oklahoma I don’t see trash in the ocean all of the time like people who live near the beach. In order to see this in a different light, you must see the whole iceberg.
The in class meditation really helped me picture my future. I graduate in May and I constantly wonder if after college if I will be doing something I love doing and if I will end up where I want to be. For years I have toyed with the thought of owning my own bridal boutique. Owning a business is hard and scary and it makes me wonder sometimes if I should even risk it. But when I pictured my future I pictured myself in my own store with an office to match my girly personality. Although it might be years before I open one since I want to gain experience in the retail world first I know where I want to end up in the end. It’s exciting and scary at the same time.