Blog 1, Sustainability.

Ashley Smith

Blog 1

DHM 4573

I would define sustainability as the active pursuit of making the things and people you care about, last longer. The past two lectures have been more of a refresher of previous knowledge. I feel as though I didn’t really start taking things away from this class until we watched the 11th hour movie. It really became clear to me that we are depleting our resources. We use oil to extract all other resources and we are becoming subsidized by the oil now. Before watching this movie, I knew that our resources were being depleted but I didn’t grasp the gravity of what that meant until now. I didn’t realize the Corporate globalization going on; our rivers, trees, and so forth are property that is able to be sold and not taken care of in a sustainable way. It immensely angers me that we lack the authority to drive sustainable decisions into law. We, as the public, are forced to respond and inhibit the fossil fuel industry because it is the higher power in the economy that we so heavily rely on. What really shocked me was when they gave the statistic that 35 trillion dollars goes into doing for ourselves what nature does for free. $35 TRILLION. I, however, took away from the movie that I, as a consumer, have the power to make a sustainable voice heard by starting a movement to not buy unsustainable/nonrenewable materials/products.

The article “Environmentally Healthy Design and Historic Interiors” was filled with insights. It had mentioned that in order to achieve sustainable design, an Interior Designer must collaborate with Architects, Developers, Engineers, Environmental Consultants, Facilities and Building Managers, and Contractors. I had no idea that just to make a few sustainable design decisions that it would be so complicated and messy; to involve and collaborate with that many professions just for the sustainable end goal. The article went on to mention that a designer’s choices can provide comfort for the building’s occupants while benefiting the environment, an effort that often requires initial conceptual creativity rather than additional expense. Also, that a building designed for sustainability adapts easily to changed uses, prolonging its lifespan and reducing the amount of demolition and new construction required in the future. I learned that Designers are involved in designing for the storage and collection of recyclables. I also learned the multiple ways to recycle: upcycle, down cycle, etc.

carbon footprint

I’m not sure why my dairy intake has anything to do with sustainability but I guarantee you that this is why I am at 11.3 tonnes.  It says that I could recycle more and change my dishwasher to the energy savings or air dry/ no heat tumble dry my clothes. My thoughts about this is that if I use the energy saving option on my dishwasher, I do not think my dishes will actually still get clean. In addition, I am more likely to air dry my clothes than I am to recycle; unless the recycling bin is right in front of me , I go for convenience.  

Working with my Learning Community members has led me to realize that I am the minority when it comes to being “green”. Lauren is the President of USGBC and Dalton is the Vice President and so they are already not only sustainable citizens but sustainable leaders as well.

During my experience doing the “Wild Thing” exercise I realized just how many people in my class know absolutely nothing about what sustainability is or how to implement it. Their gripes and wishes were minimal in the contrast of much larger issues. I found that my classmate’s solutions were primeval and that they are under the notion that sustainability is just about “being green”. I hope that both, they and I, have the opportunity to broaden our understanding of what it means to sustain something we love.


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