I think that we all have grown up to have some idea of what sustainability is. Before the class, I had always just pictured recycle bins, solar energy and those “conserve water, shower together” people. There is so much more to sustainability, and I think this class taught me that it is very important that we are all informed. After taking sustainability, I would define it as using our resource in a practical and efficient way that will positively impact the Earth for future generations. I think that sustainable design is crucial this day and age. We need more designers and producers to approach creating in a sustainable way. It is crucial that we make a change. One difference between my early perceptions of sustainability and what I know now is that there is more to sustainability than just environmental responsibility. After learning about the triple bottom line (people, plant, profit), it makes a lot of sense that we must sustain and nurture each one of these aspects if we want a tolerable future. I enjoyed all of the TED talks and think a lot of the videos shared in class were huge eye-openers to what is really happening in the world, outside of our little Oklahoma bubble.
I really loved learning about how nature is being implemented into design and how it has positively impacted the world. First, I think that biomimicry is absolutely genius. Why have we not already been living by this concept? I think after our focus on biomimicry, I will think about this in any future projects I have in my career. We really have so much to learn from nature, because it has been sustaining itself long before we were even on Earth. I also enjoyed learning about Biophilic design. I know that in my personal experience, I am so much more comfortable and relaxed in a place that has incorporated natural features. We as human beings are soothed by nature, so it makes so much sense that we should incorporate it in places that have not done so traditionally.
The most important lessons we learned in my opinion were the ones covering empathic design. I have never been a very empathetic person, and I have learned a lot about why it is a very important characteristic for people in our industry. I know that when designing or merchandising it is so important to put yourself in the consumer’s shoes so that you can design something that they value. After all, designs aren’t worth anything if they aren’t valued. I am going to work on improving my empathic skills and will take more time putting myself in others’ positions.
Since I wasn’t particularly informed about sustainability before this class, I really came in not knowing what to expect. That being said, I think I learned much more that I could have guessed! I had no idea what all went into living a sustainable life. I am glad to have learned so that I can take the steps to improve my own sustainability journey. I think I just want to know more about what I can do as an individual to make an impact. I think that I have gotten the tools to get a good start. Overall, my eyes were really opened to what we need to do to improve the world for generations to come. It was a great learning experience and I think I would have a very different attitude had I not learned what I have throughout the semester.