As embarrassed as I am to say it, I have never really thought too much about sustainability. The past two weeks of class have truly taught me a lot and opened my mind to what I am doing to our beautiful earth. I feel very naive about the damage that I have been doing to our environment for the past 20 years. That being said, I am thankful and humbled to be in this class that is giving me the opportunity to change. My definition of sustainability is the act of creating or doing while not sacrificing the beauty environment. I think of sustainability this way because I tend to gear my thoughts toward merchandising and creativity, two things that excite me. I want to learn more about sustainability that way I can use my learnings in the field of fashion and make a difference.
As previously stated, week one of class was an eye opener for me. I began to learn why sustainability is so important. That is something that was never really brought to my attention in high school or any of my previous schooling. Week two I began to develop my thoughts more and really think about how I can be sustainable rather than just talking about the topic. The Wild Things activity helped with this. My learning community is very creative and we came up with several ways that we could be sustainable. These include:
- Making recycling centers more accessible to the public
- Using drones to pick up recycling
- Not using bags in any stores (merchandising related)
- Reusing packaging boxes for displays in stores (merchandising related)
This activity allowed me to realized that it does no good to simply talk about sustainability, instead we must be proactive about the situation and use our resources to actually make a difference. That being said, I also enjoyed this activity because of my learning community. We all work very well together and tend to have very creative ideas. We are all strong in different areas and are able to contribute to the group with no issues. I learn from them and they learn from me all while getting our work done.
Calculating our carbon footprints also contributed to my learnings of the first two weeks. I had no idea how much energy I was using and how much waste I was creating. I live in a sorority house, therefore it was difficult to accurately calculate just how much energy I use but I did the best that I could. I do have a small car, a Hyundai Sonata so I am not doing too much damage in that area. I realized that my biggest issue is how much waste that I accumulate. I use Styrofoam cups daily along with plastic silver wear. I have a goal to significantly reduce my carbon footprint by the end of this semester. I have already begun to see a difference in the amount of waste that I accumulate just by being mindful of my actions and choices.
I really enjoyed the 11th hour movie. Although it frightened me a bit, I think that it was good for me to watch. The reason that it scared me is because that movie was made ten years ago. The movie spoke quite frequently about how the earth is only going downhill due to our actions. The scientists and environmentalists in the movie seemed very serious when they said that we must change our ways or the earth will be completely ruined. I can only imagine the damage that has been done since the filming of the 11th hour. My favorite parts of the movie were the positive parts. I really enjoyed when they talked about what we can do about our sustainability issues. One man said that in order to cause our society change, we have to make them WANT to be sustainable. Therefore we must show them the good that can come out of sustainability and why it is worth it.
The Fashion and Sustainability article was super informative. As naive as I have been in the past regarding sustainability, I have always known that the fashion industry accumulates plenty of waste. The fact that the study referred to the clothing industry as the “unstainable industry” is proof enough that the fashion industry is notorious for not caring enough about the environment. This article taught me that there is so much more to the unsustainability of the clothing industry that the waste accumulated. Along with the waste comes pesticide use for growing cotton and water waste. Not only is the use of pesticides terrible for the environment but it can also be very dangerous to workers. I also rarely thought about the product of fur being used in fashion and causing environmental issues. I have never bought a real fur item because I always purchase faux fur for various reasons. Fur, leather, and silk are contributors to the negativity of the fashion industry and its environmental harm.
The Easter Island article was also frightening to me. I became concerned for our society while reading this. The ugly truth is that what happened on Easter Island can happen anywhere. The people on this island made the most of the resources that they were presented with but in time they ruined those resources which led to the distinction of all resources on the island. We must take what is an unfortunate situation and learn and adapt from it as we move forward.
Weeks one and two of class was very impactful for me and I expect the following weeks to teach me even more valuable sustainability lessons. I hope to learn more about how I can be proactive in sustainability and how I can make others yearn to be proactive, just like the 11th hour movie said.