Reflecting back on this past semester and taking into account everything that I have learned, I would define sustainability similarly to how I did in the beginning. Being sustainably is using something up to its entirety without wasting any part of it, or very little of it that it has no lasting impact. I think that most people don’t realize that even if you’ve used up something and it not longer has the purpose that you originally bought it for; you can still possibly reuse that item, whether it be through upcycling or downcycling it. So if you were buy a shirt and wore it until it started to get holes in, typically this is where they would throw it out where it would end up in a landfill. But a better alternative would be to turn it into a rag that would be used for cleaning rather than going out and purchasing a new rag that is marketed as a cleaning rag. This saves money and unnecessary waste ending up at landfills. As far as sustainable design coming into play, I would describe this as incorporating environmentally friendly practices into creating the item, which includes less water and more biodegradable materials. Sustainability as a whole is about putting more into the environment than what is taken from it. It’s about preserving our nonrenewable resources and maximizing the renewable ones that we have.
The biggest impact this class had on me was showing me how badly the fashion industry has negatively impacted the environment. A lot of the drinkable water that we have is being affected by all of the chemicals that are dumped due to dying fabrics. We also require a lot of cleared out land in order to plant and grow the fibers that make up fabrics and materials needed. The clearing of land is cutting down the tree population in turn taking away the only way that we are able to breath. I also enjoyed the website that allowed us to see what impact we have on the environment and tips for changing our behavior. Sometimes people don’t realize that they are using up a lot of resources themselves and I think this website is eye opening and beneficial. I also enjoyed learning about closing the loop because I didn’t realize that a lot of materials can be used in different ways and that even if they can be recycled in some places, other places don’t have the funds to recycle that material; such as glass bottles or other types of plastics that aren’t the regular type.
I hope that in the future I will see a lot more companies using eco friendly materials and textiles to create their products as well as eco friendly ways of creating the product in the first place. I want to learn about brands that are already sustainable and transition into using their products over a brand that hasn’t made this switch. I think that if enough customers stop buying from these non-eco friendly brands then they will be more likely to switch over. I think that one of the main reasons is that it could be more expensive at this time until more company switches over to these resources. I hope to work at a company that cares about the environment and is aware of the current state that the environment is in and wants to help. Or if the company isn’t as aware, I want to help educate them enough to convince them to make at least some changes. I fear that if society as a whole continues on the path that it is now, then a lot of our non renewable resources will be used up in a matter of years and I doubt well be able to create an alternative in that amount of time.