Once again, I can confidently say that I have learned plenty and expanded my mind within this last week of class. I have realized that as soon as I think I have learned everything about sustainability, I learn something else that challenges me greatly. I have begun to learn about innovations in sustainability that are inspired by biomimicry. I find biomimicry to be a very intriguing topic. One reason that I find it so intriguing is because it makes so much sense. I am now on my third year of college and although I first learned the concept of biomimicry last year in problem solving, it was not until this year that I truly sympathized with it. I feel that I have somewhat matured within the last year and am open to more suggestions regarding sustainability. I find biomimicry to be very sensible and I can proudly say that Janine Benyus has caused me to feel that way. I have recently become much more empathetic to nature and I am unsure as to why. I have lately appreciated beauty more than ever before and biomimicry allows me to see the beauty of nature in a different way. I am now able to realize the full potential of nature and what it is completely capable of doing. This past week of class has challenged me greatly.
We as a class dug a little deeper into biomimicry whenever we watched Michael Pawlyn’s TED talk. Michael Pawlyn discusses how architects can use biomimicry in a very innovative way. During his talk, he talks about three ways that we can use nature in order to change the way we use architecture. These include radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun. I loved how passionate Pawlyn was when he was speaking about these things. He makes very valid points such as the fact that we will never, ever, ever, run out of sunlight. We must utilize that and allow it to work in our favor rather than harming the rest of the world that we live in. He also discusses that we must change the word “green” into more of a positive word. Nowadays many people only think of “tree-huggers” or just recycling when they hear the word green. Pawlyn says that we must change the connotation of that word to a more “cool and streamlined” feel. If we are able to do this, we will be able to progress much faster with projects like the ones that he discussed.
I very much enjoyed the class activity that we did regarding our Janine Benyus reading. The way that each learning community quickly discussed each tenet allowed me to learn more than I would have on my own. My learning community talked about how important it is to shop locally. This was very eye opening to me because I do not shop locally in Stillwater. I often do shop locally in my hometown of Lubbock, Texas, but not here in Stillwater. One point that Benyus made was that you could have the globe in your backyard. We have all sorts of food shipped to us from far away countries whenever we could be growing those foods in our backyards. This would save us time, money, and could save the environment. Another thing that she discussed was appreciating your local artisans. I had never truly thought about this or related it to sustainability. When I think about my hometown, I think of so many artisans that produce products that I buy from places overseas. I now realize how unnecessary this is. I also learned a lot from learning community one who discussed using waste as a resource. They talked about how we as humans are in a constant cycle of waste and while that is now a very negative cycle, we can change it to a positive one. Another tenet that I related with was “use materials sparingly”. I appreciated this one because this is definitely something that I have started doing since I began this class. I am now much more aware of the materials that I use and how much I use of them. I also like the idea of leasing materials. If we all adapted to the idea of leasing materials, especially home appliances, we would do the earth well.
As of right now, I do not have very good sustainability practices in place. I currently live in a sorority house which makes it very hard to save energy, recycle, and calculate my carbon footprint accurately. Living with 96 other girls does not present the most ideal situation for sustainability but I believe that there are big changes that could be made to improve our living facility. For one, we do not have a recycling option at the house. I think that we definitely should have a recycling option considering the amount of trash that we go through on a daily basis. I will say though, I am very excited to live in my own house next year and put all of the sustainability lessons that I have learned to good use. I can correlate the life principles that we learned to how I live right now. My favorite principle was “be locally tuned and responsive”. I have already touched briefly on the fact that I like to shop locally in Lubbock, but I feel that I could do a much better job of this in Stillwater. In Lubbock, I like to go to the farmer’s market with my family almost every Saturday. We buy fresh produce and local products made my Lubbock natives. I have heard that there is a good farmers market here in Stillwater and I think that I really need to check it out. Being locally attuned is a really refreshing feeling, it allows you to help the environment and directly help your community. The C2C activity taught me a lot as well. I have never really thought about products that are designed from the beginning to be recyclable/sustainable. I like this idea because it gives no one an excuse to not reuse or recycle an item. When I learned about cradle to grave, it was very astounding because I realized that pretty much everything that I use in my life is created by C2G. I want to start investing in more C2C products and eventually learn how to use C2C in the fashion industry.