MY journey to sustainability #3

In the past week, we are being taught about biomimicry and industrial ecology. We learned about how simple things on earth, in our environment can be a great inspiration as our design solution. I personally learned that incorporating nature as my design inspiration could be a lot more sustainable than we thought because we are not the first species that live on the earth. Our natural environment has been continuously solving problems in their natural habitat. The Sun keeps on giving out energy, plants taking in carbon dioxide to produce food for themselves. The power of shape from the whale fins in which where the idea come from for being fuel efficient. We are surrounded by all sorts of solution ideas when we are searching for one. We just need to keep our mind open, open our eyes wider and look into our natural environment for sustainable design solutions that won’t come to an end.

In Janine’s TED talks, she relates her topic closely with biomimicry as well as to sustainability. Biomimicry is design based on our aspects already found in nature. She pointed out the idea of using nature as a model, measure and also as a mentor in our everyday life. Through her video, I learned to look at things from a different perspective. We can use and treat our nature as our teacher and learn new ways to develop ideas by emulating nature and not copying it. As for Michael, he talks about how environment can influence architecture. He designed a greenhouse using the molecular composition of soap bubbles with hexagons and pentagons found in nature. He also used an example of a restaurant recycling their leftover boxes, and how it eventually looped back to the caviar they served at their restaurant. I think the main point from both of this speakers were to encourage us to seek out further into our nature in order to get inspiration because we will always learn something new from our environment if we paid attention.

I really liked the asknature.org because this website exposed me with information around our natural environment. And I am hopeful that some of this material will somehow give me inspiration for my future design for interior spaces. When I was looking through articles on their website, I came across an article with a title “Leaf color and shape enhance cooling effect” and it talks about how leaf with different shade and texture will absorb and reflect heat as they need. I was thinking maybe one day we could have a chair that absorb heat energy and reflect them as we need because sometimes, when we sit on a chair for a long time, then the heat started to build up, what can we do to make the heat release easily out of the chair. It ties back to studies in interior design because how we can improve the indoor air quality as well as facilitates the temperature in the interior environment. Thus, giving us the optimum interior air quality and temperature control.

In the closing of loops in commerce, there is a lot of insights about why we should be more sustainable. One of them would be to use waste as a resource. One thing that is waste from a part of the ecosystem could be a resource for another. For example, a dog will poop on the ground and the soil will take the nutrients from the poop to fertilize itself. We need to be aware of wasteful materials in our environment and taking that into account when we designing a brand new product because if we could make use of the old material, we might as well save cost in the long run. The article also talked about how nature sustains itself still producing without leaving any leftover behind. Waste will not be view the same if we can make good use out of it. I think part of the benefits of considering ourselves as part of the nature is that we will view our surrounding from a different viewpoint. Giving that if you are part of the jungle, and trees are where your home will be, how will you treat them differently? Human nature is very selfish when it comes to profitability because all they want is to make money. So, if we could consider ourselves as part of our nature, we might have acted differently. Before this I have always thought that biomimicry is when we as an interior designer use flooring that are made out of cork or put in a green wall in interior spaces. That is not the whole idea of biomimicry, the idea of it is to learn and then emulate the nature’s natural forms, processes, and ecosystems to create more sustainable design. One of the most important aspect of industrial ecology is that, it rejects the concept of waste. Like I said previously, nature has been able to adapt to their environment without leaving any waste, even though they do leave out residues. When we talk about industrial ecology, we are actually talking about the whole system being incorporated in the manufacturing process. Think about how each process will create what kind of waste product and how we can use that waste products differently so that we have less waste by optimizing the total materials cycle from virgin material, to finished material, to component, to product, and to ultimate disposal. Some of the main factors that we can consider being optimized include resources, energy and capital.

One of my current recycle related practice is keeping some of the boxes that came with the package that I bought, I sometimes do crafty stuff out of the boxes for organization purposes. I will reuse the boxes by painting them and then wrapped them with some of the outdated fabric samples from where I work, that way I can hang those boxes on the wall and give me some extra storage spaces in my room. As I am exposed to more and more concept in sustainability, I realized that I have to think for the environment because we are creating too much trash each year and I really hope that my small act could make a difference.

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