After reading the article on design activism this past week by Tim Brown, I realized how much of our industry relies on profit. So many retailers design products in relation to how much profit they will make. I feel as if our industry is slowly transitioning to think more about the consumer while designing the product because of the competition in the market. Design activism is very important for our industry because it is taking a step back and looking at the overall needs of the industry. I think that active design relates more to making a connection between a human and a product or a community where as design activism looks at the overall needs of a community or industry.
In our society today, natural capital often takes over and shows more in our industry rather than human capital. When learning about natural capital I thought about Tim Browns article because natural capital relates to how much money the product could make. Human capital refers to the emotion or connection to a product or space. I feel as if many products are made very cheaply in order to make more profit, which takes away the emotional connection to the product. Reflecting back on when we shared the most valuable item we own, I feel as if no one shared something that they purchased but yet that was given to them which made them emotionally connected to it. Human capital has decreased because of the wide variety of cheaply made products in the industry. If we as consumers start to place more emotional connection into their purchases, then maybe the industry will focus less on natural capital. I often let natural capital affect my purchase decision and then I have no connection to the item and end up getting rid of it. When I think of human capital, I think of the first expensive purchase I made on my own, which was a designer purse. I have an emotional connection to this item because of how hard I worked to earn all the money to purchase it. This also relates to natural capital because of the profit that was made on this item. The product does have a higher quality than others in the market, but human capital raises the natural capital for this product because it is a very popular item in the industry.
I think that a problem in our society that needs attention is education, especially in our state. I was fortunate enough to go to the best charter high school in Oklahoma but many are left with a public school filled with thousands of students in a low income area. I think that the problem with education is that it relates to poverty. In lower income schools, students often do not have the help that they need to go onto college. If students were more aware of the scholarships and aid that Is available to them then there would be a higher chance of them attending college but I feel as if it is often over looked in bigger schools. I have seen this first hand because my mom is a high school teacher and track coach in a low income high school. The school had previously not had enough funding to pay an experience track coach so the program was very small. When my mom began coaching, she had so many intelligent and talented students who had never had someone help them with track scholarships for college. I don’t see an overall solution to this problem, but I think it starts with one person like my mom helping a student in need.
Our learning community came up with the Halloween party idea of using pumpkins anyway we could. We decided to plant the pumpkin seeds after we carve the pumpkins and use them for our party next year. We will also serve food and drink items out of the pumpkins. We plan to use every recyclable material we can to make our party very sustainable.
I enjoyed the visit from Maria Thiry because I had never heard about the AATCC. She talked about the three pillars of sustainability, social, environmental and economic. These three things are also known as people, plant and profit. An interesting fact I learned from Maria was that 90% of the environmental impact after purchasing jeans was post consumer. This was surprising to me because I always assumed that the most harmful was the dying and water process. I had also heard of freezing jeans instead of washing them and my dad has actually owned a pair that recommended it to be more sustainable.