The first four weeks are already completed? This thought actually bums me out a bit, because I was thoroughly enjoying this course! My first week of class had me absolutely enthralled to continue studying about sustainability in industrial practice, but it also has provoked so much thought within me, things I have never even considered before. I know it might sound cheesy to say “this class changed me,” but it truly did affect my everyday life. I thought I was always fairly environmentally conscious, but I have learned that I could do SO much more. Since starting this course, I have questioned my use of plastic, if the brands that I support practice safe industrial methods, and if I carelessly waste water. With these questions in mind and my desire to continue studying sustainability, I want to start being more mindful of my consumption of goods.
We finished the documentary The 11th Hour and I felt inspired. When we watch the first half of the movie I felt ashamed to be a consumer, someone who can throw away products without remorse, but I knew that I could change my lifestyle for the better. The film discussed the opportunity for a brighter, cleaner future, a world where being frugal wasn’t being considered “cheap.” I have always thought being frugal was a synonym for being cheap, but I was very wrong; this is a quality trait because it means an individual uses everything they have until it is gone or until it has given its full life of usage. I would definitely not considered myself frugal, but I have been thinking of how I could modify that part of me. To be thriftier I have decided (1) exercise more self control when buying products, meaning that I will start asking myself “Do I really need that? Do I already own something similar to that?” (2) Though I already shop frequently at thrift stores, I would like to buy more second hand clothes and fix them to make them follow today’s trends. (3) Lastly, I would like to stop purchasing disposable plastic products like paper towels, paper plates, and bottled water. These changes wouldn’t be life changing, but I feel it would be enough at the moment and would have to make some difference, right?
To continue with the message of The 11th Hour, they also discussed changing our focus of energy, switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy. I felt a naïve in class when I fully agreed to this switch, but I consider myself an optimist and if something is perfectly attainable, then we should try everything in our power to make it happen. Many of classmates said the thing that would stop the switch from happening is people not wanting to adapt to the idea, but that is the exact problem! We put so much emphasis on fossil fuels and our economy is centered on it, but we forget that humans are mammals too and have the ability to adapt. I think that is the issue with people is that they are scared of change. Americans especially have had a luxury of not having mass change and have sustained for a relatively long time, but as a super power we should take the opportunity to be leaders of the sustainability movement in the world. I think it is time for a revolution in our country, but this change would be for the greater good of the world and our environment.
The ending of the documentary left me moved. I would not like to end my journey in sustainability after this class. My only hope is that I create some change someday, even if that change is to educate others on consumption. I am hopeful for our environment and confident that change is right around the corner, now we just have to wait…