Week 6 was not quite as adventurous and creative as the one before, but it was however filled with opportunities to see different perspectives on sustainability and what our campus has done and are doing to create Oklahoma State University a green campus. We have a whole Sustainability office on campus, who knew? Well probably plenty, however I did not. I thoroughly enjoyed having Ida Hershey from the Sustainability office speak with us. She demonstrated the immense amount of milestones that Oklahoma State has accomplished and implemented over the years on their journey to sustainability. I have to say I was impressed. Upon visiting Oklahoma State’s Recycling Facility, I realized that here is a lot more that goes into living a sustainable life, than just what meets the eye. So though we may not see these actions taken by our campus, they are doing them just the same, and helping us to live, even if it’s nonchalantly, a more sustainable life.
One thing that stood out to me during Ida’s presentation was that she mentioned “the biggest part you can do to be sustainable, is reuse.” This kind of stuck with me because of when the question “Do you Recycle?” was posed in lecture. I thought sure I did, but in reality I am a very big advocate of reusing and repurposing things, maybe I get it from my grandparents, I don’t know! So hearing about the available recycling bin for textiles at the end of the year when students leave and are getting rid of clothing or furniture really intrigued me. I feel as if they should advance on this idea however, and make the moves to truly reuse the furniture that is being left behind. This is much like the concept that my learning community produced during Design Slam I. We came up the concept, Functional Furnishings. A place like Functional Furnishings would create a sustainable place much like the Oklahoma State’s Recycling Facility to break down, sort, or repurpose used furniture to be reused. Many solutions for living a sustainable life can be found right before us we just need to open our eyes to the world and nature around us.
I read an article about how we, as humans, are drawn to natural environments for survival and comfort. Research showed that often times when people were stuck in a building without access to windows and daylight, they became agitated or conflicted. They complain about the loss of time, or weather data. Which seems redundant right, I mean since we have radios, televisions, Iphones? The thing is that the preference of nature stems from daylighting and being outdoors. It’s all very psychological. By using daylighting, one can tell what time of day it is, how the weather may be, or even feel slight joy from the sun and greenery. When nature is the root of our designs (Bio-Based Design) as it should be we as humans will work and functional more properly. We just need to realized that we are part of the cycle not controlling it. The 14 patterns help us to do this. They also help us connect to the environment and find solutions in the materials that nature creates, and with those we can then create natural forms, shapes, and structures that are from nature and that nature understands. The bamboo structures that Elora Hardy mentions in her TED talk cover several of the 14 Patterns. Bamboo is an element of nature; therefore, it forms to nature without effort. It is rapidly renewing, strong, and resistant making it not only suitable for buildings but also beautiful. These bamboo houses are unique because they can curve to any shape, their blueprints are 3D and brought to site to be turned into the real thing, and they take design to a different level. The bamboo structures that Elora and her father design use nature as the major design influence. It just goes to show you that it can be done, and not only can it be done it should be done. We have got to start realizing the potential in the materials nature has provided around us, once we do, we’ll be a lot better off.