Applying Our Lessons in the Real World

Walker formed a theory that is centered around innovative design instead of consumption reduction. Out of all of the readings and perspectives we have gone over I think that Walkers is the most attainable. Speaking for the developed portion of the world, we have already dug ourselves deep in this whole of consumption. Every structure that has been formed, that we presently use, is based off of economical growth and nothing else. It is hard to understand the consequences when the truth is hidden from the public as much as possible. A good amount of people I talk to that are close to my age at least have a general idea of what’s happening to our planet but the older generations have no idea and/or don’t want to know.

 

This class has inspired me a ton and during these past three weeks I have dropped my sorority, moved into a house with no roommates, and have been commuting to Colorado for my long distance relationship, but somehow living a more sustainable life has been one of my main focuses. I have been using the Stop Think Breathe app daily and it has made me realize that when buying a home my mother was trying to buy me a ridiculous amount of stuff for every detail of owning a house that she thought was a need rather then a want. I stopped for a second and got so overwhelmed and asked her to slow down because only about 30% of the things she was trying to buy me would actually be used. For example, all I need to clean my floors is multi-purpose cleaner, a rag, broom, mop, and a vacuum, but you should have seen the size of her list for my floors alone. I didn’t know what half the things where even used for and I know myself well enough that they would never leave the packaging. When I told my mother not to worry and I will get the bare essentials and buy the rest as I need it she got upset. She thought I was being ungrateful by telling her to stop buying me a billion small things for my new house because she didn’t understand the environmental impact of overconsumption. In her mind we have the money to buy all of it so why don’t we? I finally got the chance to explain to her a few consequences of over-consumption and although she didn’t agree with all of it she did decide to let me choose the products and furniture for my home, which are mostly second hand or upcycled.

 

It has also been mind opening to think about each of my purchases as a production timeline. Whenever I pick up an item in a store I like to imagine how it was created, what it’s made with, where it was created, and who helped make it. I have found myself putting items back on the shelf and walking away more times then I have bought them. I recently broke the zipper on my backpack and the black pattern rubs off onto my clothing through crocking which lead me to the decision to purchase a new backpack. I probably visited 7 different stores in Tulsa and Stillwater and could not find a backpack that had limited collateral damage being produced. As a consumer that has been educated in environmental and ethical impacts of cheap mass produced products I feel I have a responsibility to find the best products for all aspects. I decided that finding a backpack in Oklahoma that wasn’t Patagonia that is conscious was close to impossible. After checking Walmart, target, kohl’s, and many places in the Woodlands Mall I gave up and took my search online. After lots of research I came across the company Fjall Raven which was founded in the 1960’s and has a business model based on ergonomics of the human body and sustainability. Not only does this company use wood frames instead of plastic and textile fabrics that use minimal energy and chemicals, but they are also involved in different organizations for saving artic foxes and other nature related issues that need help. Fjall Raven has a compass model with N, S, E, W meaning Nature, social, economy, and wellbeing which I found relatable to the discussions in our taking sides reading. They are aware of how developing countries are being taken advantage off and take extra precautions when picking factories and have a special team that checks the ethical environment of the working conditions. The backpack wasn’t cheap either and I think that by putting a lot of thought into it and paying a higher price to obtain a sustainable product will have a longer lasting satisfaction in my personal life. I have taking what we learned this week and tried to apply it to my life in several ways and so far the biggest struggle is with accessibility to sustainable products. I hope that this next week I can read and do some research on finding sustainable products here in Oklahoma.

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About becsburroughs

Apparel Merchandising major with a minor in Sustainable Design
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