The act of maintaining an object/ product or using it to its fullest potential. That is Sustainability to me. There are many definitions, but after taking this class that is the definition that I believe mostly defines sustainability. My definition at the beginning of the class is close to my definition at the end. At the beginning of the year my definition was to find more purposes for an object/ product to make it last. Sustainable design is designing keeping in mind the consumer using inspiration from nature. We talked about a lot of ways to design using sustainability. When thinking of these terms I always thought of recycling and being eco friendly, after a week in this class I learned that recycling is not what I thought it was and just because something says eco friendly we need to research and find out what that company actually does to be sustainable. Sustainability involves reducing our carbon footprint, and by doing that we have to conserve energy and water. Easy ways to reduce our carbon footprint is taking shorter showers, not leave the water running if we don’t need to, hang clothing to dry instead of using the dryer and there are many other easy ways to help be more sustainable.
The first article for the Apparel design people was Sustainable by Design by Stuart Walker and it talked about how fashion is a very wasteful field and industry. That article opened my eyes to how I can help be sustainable. It discussed the pros and cons of the fashion industry and how we as designers can help change the cons of fashion. “Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new”, Henry David said that and that quote is so true. Fashion is all about being new and different, but in ten years that fashion is now thrown away or in a thrift shop. Nature has always been there and inspired people, creating fashion in a sustainable way mimicking nature would be a way to avoid laughing at fashion and instead create a long term commitment to the style of clothing. The Native American theory is only take what you will use, nothing more. I learned that there are roughly 400 trees for every human, I also learned (several times in this class) that we waste so much. We don’t want to end up like Easter Island and use all our resources. We need to be more mindful of the things we use to lead a more sustainable life.
The carbon footprint was a good example of how much we waste and what our impact is in the world. In the beginning my carbon footprint was 4.8 tonnes and now it is 4.5 tonnes so I changed my habits but not by very much. I still need to eat less dairy, recycle more and turn off my appliances when I leave the room. I have started un plugging things when I they are not in use to that is something I changed. I have a hard time turning lights off since I do not like the dark and am often home alone. I have started taking shorter showers and no more baths.
In the future I want to learn more about sustainable fabrics that can be used. My boyfriend works in maintenance and my papa works in construct and they both use rags all the time in their jobs and dispose of them when they are done. My grandpa said he goes through pounds of rags for each job he has. This is a huge problem and they have services to clean these rags but how many chemicals and treatments are used to clean them and how can we make something that will benefit the workers and the environment. I was not sure what I was expecting to learn in this class but I will walk away now seeing things differently. This class has taught me that everything we are doing can be changed for the better and to look for everyday things to change in a sustainable way to bring about change.