Sustainability to me is the ways in which we look to find different ways of doing things to better the process and better the outcomes that come from those processes in hopes to better our ecosystem. It is keeping in mind that we are not on a never ending supply of resources and natural systems, it is understanding that what we do has an impact on the world around us in every way whether you see it first hand in 20 minutes with littering or if you see it in 20 years when there is an entire island of trash off the pacific because there is so much plastic waste created by human beings. In one of our discussions we talked about paradigms in which we discussed how the world today views nature as an income rather than an asset and that really jumped out and stuck with me because it is so true. We don’t realize how much we take the natural resources and things that the earth creates for granted until things like global warming are being realized to be in the making. We see that we are using what we have been given with no regard to how much is left. Sustainable design is just one step further into that in which designers, realize that they can make a difference in the amount of waste, pollution, and carbon footprint they as well as the people who are consuming their products because of the design, process, manufacturing, and even disposal of their products or services. These designers do not just look at the world for what it is and what is directly in front of them, but they are looking for new ways to cut down on waste or close the loop like Beynus talked about. I found the things like what Beynus talked about or Michael Pawlyn to be truly inspiring and mental process changing for me. From the beginning of this class we got to take a glimpse into the lives of so many different sustainability gurus and designers. From the beginning we also had a, what I like to call “come to Jesus moment” in which we got to see what our carbon footprint on the world was. We got to take an online test and see the ways in which we were being wasteful, but also it gave us tips and advice on how to cut down on water waste, plastic waste, or electricity waste. I thought this was really interesting because it not only showed us what type of impact we were having but it gave us a way to change and the information to do so. It was almost like giving us that information and telling us what type of impact we had so that we can take responsibility for that. Which was related to the responsibility mapping that allowed for responsibility of sustainability to be separated into separate sections of the process to make it easier to see where change needed to occur. During one week of class I went on vacation and because of this course (and because Jayadas told me too) I was seeking out the ways in which my trip was either sustainable or not, which I think is one of the biggest things I will take away from this course. My mind has been trained now to process the world around me in a different way. Looking at the things around me and asking myself, I wonder where that goes when they are done with it, or I wonder how that is processed. Asking questions and thinking in my mind of ways in which I could possibly design something to make that better for the environment. One thing over the semester and over that trip that I found really interesting was the idea of food waste, especially in America. Our portions are way to big and so there is gigantic amounts of food waste which if you think about it, is not just food waste. There is packaging that the extra ingredients will use, there is extra shipping costs for the multiple boxes of bread that are going to come in, there is electricity and natural resources being used more because of the “small” amount of waste that is left over of food it ends up being way more than you can even imagine. So as a sustainable designer in the making I would think, what can I do? How can I change that system? This class has taught me that sometimes the wildest and craziest ideas can work; you just have to be willing to think outside of the box. Having all of this information been given to me with so many different theories like the life principles of use waste as a resource, support local, use natural resources sparingly, and many others I am excited to learn and continue to find companies like the many that were mentioned in LOLA shows that utilize sustainable design and other theories such as empathic design. I would like to learn more about waste systems for things such as food or water waste. I looked into both of those some during some of our design activities and I just found them very interesting and so I will probably continue to do some research over both of those topics to possibly find some companies that seek to address those issues.

-Lauren Burks

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