In sustainability on Tuesday we took some time to walk around the Stillwater botanical gardens and reflect on some of our findings. We wandered around the gardens for quite some time, taking the time to slowly gather our requirements (identify something dead, something interesting, something growing on something nonliving, etc). We had found a bunch of chickens kind of off to the side of the path, we hung out by the chickens for a while admiring their little habitat, noticing how full, beautiful vines had grown over their metal caging (checking off our something growing on something nonliving requirement). We noticed different piles of decomposing leaves and tree branches and a compost pile next to that – both large piles, towering about as tall as my body. These piles were hidden along with the chicken coop but I couldn’t help but think about how wonderful those huge piles were – that waste will have the opportunity to give new life when it breaks back down into healthy soil. Some greenery was already starting to sprout at the base of the compost pile. It’s stuff like that that I don’t stop to notice until I’m being forced to for a class, but I’m really glad that on this day I took the time to “stop and smell the flowers” as they say.
Growing up, my Gram Gram always took me to the botanical gardens by her house and there was always a wonderful butterfly sanctuary. This class day reminded me of those fond memories with my Gram Gram, I’ll always treasure greenery and nature because of her. Seeing the chickens made me think of the butterfly sanctuary at my Gram Gram’s botanical garden and I thought how odd it was to have chickens out there. It seemed kind of random, like something that belonged at a children’s farm not a botanical garden. My dad raises chicken and we have plenty at my house, I know they are sustainable for us – they eat our food waste and we get our eggs straight from them. I love that process; it’s so wholesome to me, not having to rely on a grocery store for something so necessary like eggs. I wondered how the chickens were contributing to sustainability out there at the botanical garden.
My favorite part of the botanical garden was the cactus sanctuary We stumbled upon this little area pretty far down the path. I immediately took an interest because (as I think I’ve mentioned before) I recently adopted a baby cactus myself, I named her Dixie. It sounds silly, but learning how to take care of a plant has given me so much joy and among all my daily waste, it feels like I’m contributing in some way by growing this little green thing in a pot. The cacti at the botanical garden were so ginormous – how long does it even take for them to get that big? Does someone care for them daily? So many questions about cacti – I want to know more! Walking through the little cactus sanctuary, I found a cactus that is the exact breed that Dixie is, except this guy was at least 50x bigger than Dixie. It’s so amazing to me that Dixie has the potential to get that big (if I give her a bigger pot and can keep her alive for several more years)!
For the design slam, our topic was about how to address the issue that a roommate of ours, Norah, buys new clothes every week and throws her old clothes in the trash. We didn’t understand that we should have been innovative and could have possibly created a business to assist with the issue; so instead, we came up with 3 different solutions for Norah that consisted of pretty simple advice to donate and/or sell. Not very creative, I know – and as other groups got up to present we regretted our solution. Two of my favorite sustainable solutions were from Groups 5 and 10. Group 5 had the “Sustainable Storefront” – every single detail was so creatively thought out and the illustration was beautiful. They said they would have raven windows to preserve temperature inside, a “sunbrella” awning to reduce heat and ALSO catch rainwater, a raised garden (to be watered by the caught rainwater) and recycled glass mosaic for storefront décor. Once again, reminding me of my childhood, one of my favorite places in the entire world is the St. Louis City Museum, completely constructed out of recycled materials – it’s so beautiful and intriguing and amazing. This storefront reminds me of the museum (Dr. Aditya, if you haven’t heard of this place it’s worth a google search and honestly worth a trip to St. Louis to see it, you would love it!) Group 10 had the idea of the Vortex shoe made entirely out of recycled materials from a waste vortex in the Pacific Ocean. I know ideas similar to this are being implemented by real shoe companies but I think the vortex idea and marketing that can be done with that is what would make this shoe sell. Overall, the design slam was awesome – some of the designs presented could actually be successfully carried out and better our society which is so cool to think about!