I really enjoyed all of the activities this week for our sustainability class. I am a very hands on learner so being able to legitimately be hands on with the outdoor activity at the OSU Botanical Gardens was awesome (even though it was VERY warm out there). I thought one of the first activities that we did where we had to connect the things that make up a tree, a building, and a garment. I feel like each of those things have to have characteristics that are similar such as strength, durability, life, shelter or covering. I think making us as students think about those characteristics of the complete natural world and the world that we have influence over (the fashion industry) is a really smart way to begin to change our thinking to incorporate more natural and sustainably designed apparel or interiors. The other activity that I found really influential in the way that I think about sustainability and my sustainable journey would be the blindfolded one. I feel like so often people are so incredibly unaware of the damage that they are causing the environment because they are so focused on achieving whatever goal that they have in front of them. Which from the activity, I do not feel like talks to the character of the person, I don’t think they are a bad person, I just think it shows how uninformed, uneducated, and ignorant humans can be when they put their minds to one thing. I know often when I start something that is a specific goal, such as making a bulletin board really cool for my job as an RA I often end up wasting a lot of paper or resources that come from the environment, but yet all I see in the end is the cool bulletin board I have created. If I were to save the paper and things from all of the boards throughout the year and then put them on one board at the very end and make it an educational board about reducing, reusing, and recycling I could teach the residents on my floor about the life principle we learned about using materials sparingly. I think having our learning communities come up with different solutions to the ways that us as humans just stomp all over the environment around us, was just another way to really continue shaping our thought process allowing us to be more analytical about the ways in which our actions are effecting the world around us.
Another way that I think the changing of the thought process and group thinking/brainstorming is really benefitting my sustainable journey would be working with my learning community on the design slam activity. Three out of the four members of my learning community were also in Problem Solving Strategies together, so we have a group dynamic and synergy that allows us to have open communication and effective brainstorming by pushing each of us out of our thought process comfort zone, since we have that previous experience of working together. We are not afraid to push the boundaries of our creativity, saying, “No, I don’t think that is unique or creative enough, lets keep thinking” type of mentality. I know working with them and seeing the things that we are all passionate about like reducing the amount of waste being created and recycling what we can to help with that has really shaped the way in which we think about each hypothetical problem we are faced with in class. Our problem that we were faced with in class was about keeping the natural world in mind in every day life and promoting the conservation of nature. Our learning community began brainstorming and was discussing things like sustainably designed clothing, washing systems, etc. but we wanted something that was really going to promote conservation as well as tying in a few of the life principles that we feel most passionately about. We ended up deciding on doing the “Not Your Average Baggage” shopping bag that is sustainably created that would reduce the amount of plastic waste being created by the retail industry. By giving customers these bags that will be made out of recycled clothing with our logo on them and the local companies that are participating in the bag program we are promoting the conservation of the resources that go into making plastic and paper shopping bags. We were really passionate about tying in the life principle of supporting local businesses so we were going to have a local embroidery shop embroider our logo on each of the shopping bags. We also planned to have the logo of each business participating on the back of the bags to further promote consumers to partake in all of the things that local business has to offer the community and local economic state. Another group that highly valued the keeping it local principle was learning community two, which was Shop Local and engage permanent pop up shops. I thought it was really economically smart for them to want to partner with local businesses and become more of a permanent thing within each of those stores. The other learning communities design slam concept that I really liked and thought was very relevant to today’s consumer was the social media campaign “Seven Days of Sustainability” from learning community eight. I think the influence that bloggers and famous people have over the young consumer is so incredibly large that having them take a stand for sustainability would be really good. I think that the younger generation can begin to think the ways we are learning to in class, from the social media icons that they already know and love. Therefore benefitting the future of sustainability and the thinking towards that.