Blog 1: Starting My Sustainable Journey

It’s hard to believe that we have only been in school for two weeks, because I feel like we have already discussed and learned so much in this class. I was automatically tested when we went around the room and had to define the word sustainability in our own words. It may have been no big deal to most people, but for me, it was hard to define a word in my own terms when I knew deep down that I do not truly put that word into practice like I should. How could I sit there and say “to me, being sustainable is doing something now that can be maintained for a long period of time that will benefit people, the planet, and economy for future generations” (which was my answer in class) when I know that I am not currently living a sustainable life? Luckily, we also got to mention what we want to get out of this class and many of us, including myself, said we wanted to learn how to apply more sustainable practices to our own personal lives, and I truly mean that!

I love that we got to watch the move The 11th Hour so early on in the semester because it opened my eyes more to what is going on in the world and it boosted my desire even more to learn about sustainability and what I can do to help our planet. One of my favorite things that was said in the movie was, “we need to find a harmony between people and nature. Nature has rights too.” Hearing that just made me think about how nature was on earth long before humans were, but once humans evolved, we took over and started abusing our resources, which results in hurting our environment in many different ways, such as global warming/climate change, deforestation, pollution, etc. We need to come together as a planet to acknowledge the problems we have caused. Like they said in the movie, we need “all hands on deck” in order to tackle this problem. We need to join forces and put all other problems aside, in order to save our planet.

The ‘Fashion and Sustainability’ article we read this week was very insightful. I like that the article touched on how people who work in environmental design often frown upon the people who work in the fashion industry. I have often felt like people have judged me when I tell them that my major is in Apparel Merchandising. What they don’t know is that I hope to enter the field of fashion with a sustainable mind and with a hope that, if anything, fashion will stop being something that is so detrimental to our environment and maybe, some day, it can become something that can actually be beneficial to the environment.

Getting to be in a learning community with three other merchandising students and getting to hear their insights and ideas about sustainability has been very beneficial and has opened my mind even more. I loved getting to work with them during the Wild Thing exercise! We learned that it was easy to find things to dream and gripe about, when it came to sustainability, but when it came to finding solutions to those dreams/gripes of others, it was actually very difficult! I think it would be interesting to do the same exercise again at the end of the semester to see if we could come up with better solutions to our unsustainable problems!

Taking the test to figure out my carbon footprint value was very eye opening! I was almost embarrassed while answering the questions about my daily habits. There are some things I know I cannot change at the moment because I live in an apartment and I can’t control how the building is built or what resources they use, but there definitely ARE things I can change such as the things the website suggests, for instance, recycling more glass and not flying far distances. I definitely want and NEED to find ways to reduce my carbon footprint and this test really showed me where I can start.

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Easter Island and the Dust Bowl, though very different times and situations, were both caused by humans taking advantage of nature and their resources, causing two completely different disasters. The people of Easter Island used their resources out of selfishness and with a competitive spirit for things such as building unneeded statues. They completely deforested their island,which resulted in running out of resources for food, that they turned to cannibalism. During the Dust Bowl, the farmers also abused their resources and did not use proper farming methods, which resulted in wind erosion and extreme drought. Many people lost their lives in both of these disasters and we need to take these situations and learn from them. I am scared that we are also abusing our resources in similar ways, which will cause a disaster that we as a society are not prepared for. Nature itself is giving us so many signs that are telling us we need to change our habits, but most of us are oblivious to what is happening around us. We need to open our eyes, learn from our past, notice the signs around us, and start changing.

As a Merchandising major, I have read/listened to books and teachers discuss everything that the article ‘Fashioning Sustainability’ had to say. Most of the things in there were not new to me. I have heard over and over about the issues in the fashion industry and what we can do to stop it, which made me truly start to question myself. “Am I really concerned about these issues in my field?” “Will I make a difference when I go to work in the field?” “Have I become so immune to hearing these things, that I have stopped to care?” As a senior, who is getting ready to graduate in December, these are the things that matter most. I have heard these things over and over because its what I came to school to learn. I basically have memorized the issues regarding materials, garment production, retail, usage and disposal. I can name multiple solutions to these problems because its what I have learned through my years at OSU. As a student, I have become accustomed to hearing these things that they don’t phase me anymore, but I am starting to open my eyes and realize that I am about to enter into a career in fashion and I plan on changing my mind set. I want to go into this new stage of life with the knowledge of everything my teachers have taught me, with everything that the ‘Fashioning Sustainability’ has reminded me of, and implement it in ways that will be sustainable, beneficial and will make a difference in the fashion industry.

With this new mindset, I plan on going through this sustainable journey hoping to learn the most I can about sustainability. This is one of the last classes I will ever take, so I plan on getting the most out of it. Sustainability is so important and knowing how to be sustainable in your field will take you places you never thought you could go. I believe OSU has you take DHM 4573 as a last semester senior so it will be fresh on your mind as you enter the real world. Being sustainable effects people, animals, nature, the environment, the economy, and so much more and I plan to take this time to absorb everything I can in this class in order to give back in any way I can.

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