I go through life everyday wondering the impact that I will make on the people around me, but I have rarely ever wondered the impact that I make every day on the living world and environment around me. Sitting in class and watching the 11th hour film this week made me for the first time imagine the negative footprint that I individually have left on the earth since my own existence. The biggest take away that I learned from the 11th hour film that I believe will help me make smarter choices going forward was the idea of going slower and not getting caught up in the fast busy pace of buying unsustainable things because it is quicker and easier. If I personally slow my own demand of easily accessible but non sustainable things, then maybe the demand in the economy might change little by little in the lives around me as well. Being sustainable means to have hope for the future in the changes that we make in our lives today.
The last few classes there was some discussion about what sustainability is and what could be beneficial if we treated the daily routine acts we live by. It was suggested that we take a changing habits survey to test our level of sustainability and to understand in what areas we may need to improve on. Surprisingly, my level of sustainability wasn’t too bad with a 5.6 tonnes aside from a big gut. Living as a college student, it’s easier to be sustainable because I like to find ways to make living expenses less than what they could be. I don’t hardly ever eat out, and cook at home using fresh ingredients bought from Walmart. Anything leftover gets incorporated into a meal another night or we just eat the leftovers for lunch or snacks the next day. I don’t drive a lot because I live so close to campus, and the car I own is small and gets great gas mileage. My roommate got our household into recycling last semester and so our efforts to condense the amount of waste we use has gotten easier.
A topic that relates to the carbon footprint is the article written about fashion and sustainability. I don’t relate majorly to the article because I try to wear the same clothes for years until they get worn out from being worn and washed too many times. I rarely stay up with the trending outfits so the constant waste of fabric to keep up with trends don’t affect me directly. This does however reflect the discussion that my learning community went over during the wild thing exercise. We ended up finishing with an Interior Designed problem that involved repurposing using furniture to be used in other settings. I think that our discussions of interior related problems and the article about fashion and sustainability go hand in hand of fabric and materials that don’t get used in the manufacturing process that go to waste as the new trending product lines come out. Since all of my learning community members have a focus in interior design, our views and opinions based on sustainability in our industries are similar.
All of the decisions we make are bound to have consequences whether its notice in our current time period or in the few years to come. I was really intrigued with the Easter Island story told of how a once supposed civilized community of islanders had used up all of the resources found on the island and had to revert to living in caves on the island and eventually came to a type of cannibalism from not having any other ways to live due to the scarcity of food and shelter that they had used in vain earlier on. This is a scary story because this has the potential to come true for the whole planet with how we don’t use our resources smart to save them for rainier days that may soon come. Another professor of mine mentioned something interesting that relates to this story that has to do with the recent flooding in Texas. She said that a way to be more sustainable long term to avoid natural disaster such as this, is to simply not build in the areas that have reoccurring natural disaster. This is coming from the opposite standpoint of a dust bowl where everything was dried up, but since in Texas everything flooded and there wasn’t enough vegetation and natural streams to help redirect the water flow after the heavy flood, then the recovery time may have been less.
I am wanting to slowly and continuously improve my carbon footprint by doing a better job of recycling products and finding ways to not have a lot of waste. I also want to focus on finding ways to integrate sustainability in the decisions I make in my career. After having completed my internship this summer, I noticed that the company I worked for didn’t really do a lot of recycling. Cardboard boxes, leftover fabric sample, tile sample, carpet sample or any other product not chosen for the selection of a project was discarded and few were sent back to the companies for recycling. If I am to continue working for this company after I graduate college, I would like to hope that I can be a better sustainable influence on them long term by starting with small things. A personal goal that my fiancé and I have discussed recently is the hope to one day own a tesla for our family. The town that we will be living in has its own charging station and I cant wait to see how we are able to work together to be sustainable in our daily lives.