A Community of Support and Sustainability

Going into this class I already had some previous knowledge about sustainability. I knew that there were global concerns about our earth but every situation that was brought up seemed impossible to fix because of oil companies, big business, etc, thus being a wicked problem. I think having this class and being able to relate it directly to my major and my desired industry, helped me to realize a much more realistic approach and helped me to understand that these problems can be fixed. These solutions are not far from our reach such as sweatshops, air pollution from factories with dyeing and production, and issues with our landfills filling up with too much textile waste. It is always easy to take a pessimistic view on these situations because our government is run off of big businesses. If the big businesses run our economy and help to drive it, there is no doubt or government will not support them thus providing the reason why they would not ask them to cut back on production for a healthier and safer environment. One of the biggest topics that we discussed in this class that I think is one of the main drivers for all these global issues is consumerism. Our world and our society nowadays is driven by consumerism. Everyone wants the next big thing because our society is built off of technology and that is the way our future is headed so that’s just the way most people are. I truly believe one of the best ways to get people to understand our global issues is to educate them on these topics. A lot of my classmates did not even know some of these issues were actual issues going on. I knew of these issues but I never had a class like this where we could sit down and actually discuss them and talk about possible solutions and ways to fix it that are obtainable.
It is kind of disappointing to know that a lot of people are unaware of these issues that are happening in our world especially in the retail industry. I didn’t even know how bad Forever 21 was until I took an Intro to Fashion Merchandising class and we discussed exactly why these items are so cheap and the true cost of the items. It’s hard for college students to not buy things from Forever 21 considering they are so cheap and we can not afford much else, but ever since last year when I learned about fast fashion, I really have been trying to not shop there as much. The saying we speak with our dollar is a very true statement and although you may just be buying one small item that is $20, I believe it is a step forward to turn away from that item and that brand and be aware of the actions that they take for the true cost of that item. Being able to learn about this industry and continuously stay updated on the new improvements is honestly quite inspiring to hear what some of the companies are doing. For example, Patagonia uses recycled bottles in their textile fibers and H&M offers the opportunity to receive a discount on your purchases if you bring in old clothing to recycle for them. I also think a big solution would be recycling and using old fabric scraps that were not used in previous collections. I had to do a project on Yves Saint Laurent and learned that he made a collection a couple years ago with fabrics that he used in very old collections and used this to create a vintage collection line. I believe these solutions can be influenced by top line fashion brands because the media follows them so closely and this is how the trickle down theory takes place. Since the media follows these brands so closely and fast fashion comes from these top brands, the idea of sustainable fashion will become more widespread.
My source of hope for these major issues is the community and human decency. I believe the community has a major impact on the environment. Watching the movie the 11th Hour and being able to relate this personally to my life truly made me understand this and hit me with an epiphany. If we become mindful and aware of our surroundings and of our homeland I believe we will become more appreciative of it and more in love with it. I believe it is so important to get outside and somehow get yourself involved with nature because it makes you appreciate it’s beauty more. When I am home in Keller Texas (DFW area) I am never surrounded by many trees or open land because I am fairly close to the city so I never really learned to appreciate nature much until I moved to San Marcos, Texas. As I mentioned in class I transferred schools this year from San Marcos but being in that area made me fall in love with the outside world because of all the beauty and open space and natural rivers and water falls. My friends and I actually wanted to keep the river and hiking trails clean, it was not something that was forced upon us and we actually wanted to be outside and be in nature more than being inside (huge transformation for me because I’m probably as city girl as you can get most times.) The school got the community involved by hosting events outside by the river and by giving everyone the opportunity to plant trees by the river on earth day. I also believe this could be an easy fix for any community by simply trying to get people outside somehow to experience nature. Although Dallas is a city landscape, they still have community events that get people outside to do yoga in the park which is such an easy start to get people involved. I believe once you get involved with the outside world and your community and nature, then you start to love where you are planted and where you live and you start to love your community. Such as being at OSU, if there is trash all over campus that will make you disappointed because the university is a place that you want to be and you love it so much you aren’t going to want to watch it become polluted and fall apart. Helping your community would be shopping locally, keeping it clean, and being more aware of the items that you are buying and the true cost of them. I believe another solution for city life is to bring about the idea of photosynthetic architecture. A lot of cities like Austin have a certain style and trend to it and I believe the trend of photosynthetic architecture could look really cool and I think a lot of citizens would be okay with that because not only is it helping the environment but it is also aesthetically pleasing to look at. The wicked problems of our world are so wicked and large but when you take a step back and break it down you can simply start with something small such as getting involved with your community and it will become like a trickle down effect and will make you more aware of the global environment. When you take a break from the hustle and bustle of every day life and take a moment to meditate and get in touch with yourself, you start to realize what is really important in your life and I believe with human decency people will learn that our growth and importance comes from community and the environment.

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