In my own words sustainability means for me being conscious of how we treat the environment as well as the people around us. Sustainable design in my own words means to use whatever resources that are readily available and not to take more than we need. These definitions do not match my first thoughts of sustainability or sustainable design when I first entered the classroom. When I first began the course I just took being sustainable as renewing, reusing, and recycling but in reality there is so much more to living sustainable. Sustainable design when I first came into the course was thought to be just thinking about resources but not about how many were left as well as not thinking about the environment that would be affected. I thought only about these issues every once in awhile at the beginning of the semester, and unfortunately before the semester sustainability was only an afterthought and not something that came up into my mind regularly. After the class, sustainability as well as sustainable design come up daily and the environment as well as our consumption of resources. I know now the significance of living at least a partially sustainable life.
A significant epiphany that comes to mind from taking the course is my own sustainable habits as well as sustainable habits of companies. My own habits were not up to par with what I would consider even remotely sustainable, and I know now that even small changes matter. Now, my light bulbs have been changed in my apartment and I make a bigger effort to recycle or reuse things. I also have learned that upcycling or downcycling are both very important options to consider when I am about to toss out an item. My second epiphany was thought of when I was thinking about sustainability from a consumer and manufacturer/company standpoint. I did not realize how much power that we as consumers have over companies. I did not think before taking this class that choosing to not purchase items from an unsustainable company would do anything at all. After this class I realize how wrong that ideal was. I understand now again that small differences can add up and can make big changes. Refusing to purchase from a company can influence others to make a similar decision and can make a big difference for the company. This can maybe even cause the company to change their unsustainable ways. No one is going to change unless they see a reason to, and we have to be activists in order to get others to see the point and to see why sustainability is important.
Knowing what I know now, I want to learn more about sourcing with companies as well as learning more about employee sustainability practices. There are many companies that I do not know are sustainable or not, and there are many companies in which I do no even know how their employees are treated and if they are being treated fairly. These issues are very important to me because my priority in life has become using sustainability practices when and where I can. I am glad in class that I did learn to ask questions until you get answers. I am also glad that although we did not go into every company history, now I at least I know to look into where companies get their products, how they are made, and how employees are treated because before the class I would have never asked these kinds of questions. Something I did expect to learn in the class was more about sustainability and that obviously occurred. I learned so much more about sustainability than I ever thought I would.