Final Blog

In the beginning of the course I thought of being sustainable only involved the environment with recycling and reusing items but I have now realized it involves a lot more than that including the way of designing or merchandising a store to upcycling clothing and creating products with empathic design. The way I define sustainability and sustainable design is being conscious or aware of your daily activities, how you impact the environment, the way you design, produce, and sell products with thinking of the environment and society. Sustainability is about designing or helping effect the environment but also involves thinking about the people around the world. People around the world are effected by the way products are made and disposed of. Many of the factories in developing countries are not paying fair wages or treated with respect. A lot of the trash around the world including textiles are thrown in landfills which does not help the environment or the people.

Throughout by sustainable learning journey I will start at our reverse lecture where I focused on “gather and use energy efficiently” in the article for industrial ecology. The article talked about how sunlight is the best resource for energy and had an example on how leaves on the trees in mature forest are perfectly angled to get the most out of the sun as it crosses through the sky. Trees set the ceiling on what we should be doing to gather our energy as well as wind power. This is my favorite idea in industrial ecology because I love trees and believe people have a lot to learn from them and we have learned a lot from them.

After the industrial ecology idea, we learned about Biophilia. Biophilia is humans possessing a tendency to connect with nature and other forms of life.  Some of the patterns in biophilic design is the visual connection with nature, presence of water, and connection with natural systems. Visual connection with nature is a view to elements of nature so the preferred view would be a scene that includes shade trees, flowering plants and bodies of clean water. Presence of water is a condition that enhances the experience of a place through seeing, hearing or touching water. Water enhances the experience of a place so that it is soothing and enhances the mood. The connection with natural system is awareness of natural processes, especially seasonal and temporal changes characteristic of a healthy ecosystem. So, integrating rainwater into the design would create a connection with the natural ecosystem.

After learning about what Biophilia can include my favorite LOLA show was that included a biophilic idea/design. It was about cleaning the ocean with once carpet tile at a time. The problem is there is no solution, nothing mentions ways to help clean up the ocean just ways to prevent it. Harmful materials like plastics are not biodegradable. A solution that was mention is Interface which is the world’s largest commercial carpet manufacturer and are the leaders in the industry for sustainability. The carpet, called Net Effect, they take polluted fishing nets and partnered with Aquafil. Aquafil leads in Italy and globally and their focus on closing the loop. I really enjoy hearing about neat ideas like this one that really can make an impact around the world in many different ways.

One of the last things throughout this journey was learning about empathic design. As I have mentioned previously my grandmother has Parkinson’s disease and hearing different ideas about how companies are out there designing with people with setbacks gave me the idea to think of new ways of designing for the people around me that makes up the bigger picture in the world.

I learned many things in this course that gave me ideas for the future in my field of merchandising. I will be able to be more consciously aware where things come from and go or how they impact the world. I would have liked to learn more about how I could be more sustainable in my individual life like the small things I could do. I know it was mentioned at the sustainability store such as cleaning out the containers we recycle that people later then have to sort but more ideas that I could do in a small way to try and make a difference.


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