Last week in lecture we started off with a TED talk by Michael Pawlyn. He spent a great deal of time speaking about Biomimicry and how using Biomimicry will help create a more sustainable society if followed by in an appropriate manner using 3 different habits. I find myself thinking about Biomimicry all the time. I’ve always been intrigued by the concept but even more so recently due to this class. I firmly believe that using nature as our only tool to prevail will strengthen both society and the environment.
In addition to the TED talk and Biomimicry, we were introduced the term Industrial Ecology. Industrial Ecology was described as using nature’s principles and lessons as a model to lessen the impact on the environment while increasing natural capital. Prior to this specific lecture, I had never even heard of the term. However, now that I’ve had time to process its meaning, I have been very cautious of my surroundings and the negative impact industries have on the environment. During our class activity, my learning community and I spoke about how to optimize rather than maximize. To do this, we need to remember not to overconsume what you DON’T need. So many people get caught up in the quantity of things we own rather than the quality. We are always wanting more then what we have, even if what we have is sufficient. We compare this to the iPhone. Every few years Apple comes out with a new iPhone and people seem to freak out and buy it immediately. But why? Why spend the outrageous amount of money to buy a product when it’s more likely than not that your phone is completely fine and usable? In addition to my learning community, I was drawn to using waste as a resource. This brings about the idea of upcycling and reusing various products to serve another purpose. Lastly, I like the idea of using materials sparingly. I like to compare this to the textbooks we as college students have to get. I always search for rented or used copies of books, not only is it more cost effective for me, but a used book is just as functional as a new one. If more people just reused books, the materials for the new ones would be spared.
Currently, I am not practicing any sort of recycling within my daily life. I wish I were better at doing so, however, it just isn’t something I normally think about. I drink water and green tea out of plastic water bottles and just end up throwing them in my regular trash can once I am finished with them. I would like to implement recycling and maybe soon I will buy another waste basket that will be designated for all of my plastic bottles. Although I don’t currently recycle I do practice re-using A LOT of items. I am a firm believer that objects have many different uses. All of my furniture has been used prior to my ownership. I love to refinish a lot of pieces which allows the life of my furniture to last longer. I have no problem buying hand me down clothes, it helps reduce waste and is cost affective!
As far as the life principles go, I was really drawn to two of them: being resource efficient and adapting to changing conditions. I really like reading about adapting to changing conditions because it is so relevant in today’s society in SO many aspects. Although I know it’s meant to be more of a sustainable meaning, I processed it as being a mental adaptation. There are constantly things in life that are changing and that will directly affect one’s life. Instead of fearing change or reacting negatively, it’s important to adapt and let nature help along the way.
I was really interested in the C2C and C2G concepts. Being an interior designer, I think it is important that the materials, finishes, furniture etc. we use for our projects can be upcycled or recycled in some matter. There are many ways to reuse interior items. I’m a part of an online buying and selling site on Facebook where people will post various home items for sell including countertops, tile, lighting, cabinets and appliances. This is a great way to reduce waste and extend the life of products. I wish more items would follow the cradle to cradle concept rather than the cradle to grave because then mass waste would decrease which would help create a more sustainable and efficient society. The activity we did in class was a little rushed due to the time, however, my group and I were able to utilize that time and come up with a great idea. We chose to create the bed using recycled materials such as plastic and fish nets. This design would create a longer life for the bed by being more efficient, functional and cost effective.