When we were first asked to do the changing habits exercise I thought I knew what my results would look like. I mean, we all ‘try’ to be sustainable, right? So I pulled up the website, and started to answer the series of questions that were asked. The first ones were about my automobile. This is an area where I was aware that I am not very sustainable, but I never really realized how big of a deal it was until I started plugging in the numbers. I commute about 350 miles a week in an SUV. My situation isn’t ideal when it comes to sustainability, but at the moment I do not have many more options. The rest of the exercise asked questions pertaining to sustainability that I had never thought about, like my computer and printer being left on standby, or which settings and how often I use my appliances. It was a big eye opener when I was answer the questions, but seeing my results were shocking to me. It looks like my sustainable journey is going to be a little longer than I originally anticipated.
Watching the 11th hour documentary was hard for me. I’ll be the first one to admit that I’ve questioned global warming over the years. Not that I do not think global warming is real and is happening around us, but to me I saw it as part of the earth’s natural cycle, and not a manmade issue. It took education on the matter as well as personal research to understand how the human population is impacting the world around us. The earth’s population or over population, is a huge issue. It is not only the sheer volume of people that inhabit the planet that is the issue, but the needs/wants of those people that are depleting our resources. Consumerism is a huge issue in our society. We are constantly told that we need bigger and better and that the old is not worth keeping. This makes for an increase in the use of raw materials, as well as, an increase in waste in our landfills. We have to shift this perspective if we are ever going to turn around our issues. As an Interior Designer, I know I can play a role in this shift. Showing people how they can make what they have function better and also helping to push for a more minimalistic approach to design could help drastically reduce minimalism. I know a lot of people who worry that the shift to minimalism and tiny homes could result in a loss of jobs in our field, but I disagree. For those of us that are willing to help facility the change, we would not only be very busy, but we would also be incredible facilitators of sustainability.
I am going to be really honest, the wild things exercise did not seem very beneficial to me. I was very confused about what we were trying to do. I understand that we were creating problems so that other groups could find solutions to those issues. Depending on your major interest, some of the problems did not make sense to other groups. Also, issues like laws and regulations inhibit creative problem solving in the real world all too often. I understand that we need to think beyond those barriers, but if we are talking about real solutions to real problems, those barriers are very much in play.