While answering the 3 questions provided in regards to my learnings throughout this semester, I’m truly grasping how far I’ve come because of this class and can see how much I’ve grown in my future goals. Starting with question #1: In my own words, I would define sustainability as the practice of living in harmony with the Earth while maintaining the natural resources it provides as opposed to depleting them. I would define sustainable design as creative and innovative ways to advance human lives while preserving the Earth. Before this course started, I knew what sustainability was. As a DHM major, this isn’t a new topic – especially having been exposed to creative problem solving. I think mainly what this class taught me was a deeper understanding of exactly what daily human activities are shockingly harmful to the environment, and as future designers, what we can do to aid future industries to change their ways.
Regarding question #2, I guess an epiphany I had this semester is that our world is in huge trouble – and the consequences are starting to become noticeable. Global warming is a real thing because of how much we’ve polluted this earth – it’s December and I’m wearing shorts!! This is just one example of so many issues we have caused in this world. I know it’s not reversible but there are tiny steps each person can make that together, will make a huge difference moving forward. Such as simple recycling, or electric cars, or even just picking up litter when you see it like the most recent TED talk we watched. There are roughly 3 billion people in America – if each person picks up 5 pieces of litter in their lifetime, think of house much cleaner this country would be? 15 billion pieces of trash gone. Now what if everyone picked up 5 pieces a day? 15 billion pieces of litter gone every day. That’s a perfect example of a small individual act making a huge, conjoined difference. The same can be said for almost everything. If each person remembers to turn the water off while they brush their teeth. Yes, one person individually may only be saving an ounce of clean water, but 3 billion people turning off the water every time they brush their teeth? That’s a lot of water saved EVERY day! That’s what this class taught me – that sustainability has to start somewhere with someone, and ultimately it will make a huge difference.
And finally, answering question #3, knowing what I know now from this course, I hope to learn more about the sustainability design aspect – more specifically design activism. At my internship this summer, I honestly did not like what I was doing at all. I worked in sales and merchandising at Michael Kors in New York City and everyone told me I was living the dream – but I didn’t feel like it. I was unsatisfied and unfulfilled and felt as though everything I was doing made absolutely no impact on the grand scale of humanity. I even questioned if this industry was for me because what does it really matter? I want to help people and benefit their lives and make a difference. I want to leave this Earth one day knowing that I spent my career doing something meaningful and special. That’s where design activism comes into play for me. At my internship, I also discovered that I want to do something more creative such as product development or design. I think my new life goal is to one day start my own small brand that somehow impacts the lives of specifically young women. I’m not sure what I’m going to do – I need to explore my passions a little bit more but I know something I’m really passionate about is making women feel empowered about who they are. I’m a huge advocate for self-love and self-acceptance. Something that I’ve often dealt with in my life is that people make fun of me for the clothes I wear and as of now, my changing colorful hair. Never once have I let it get me down and I want to encourage women to embrace that confidence too with a really crazy, colorful, out-there brand that can allow them to be their true selves. Still in the mental works but I just know I have to impact people in some way or I will never be happy with my career.
Overall, this was a great semester and it’s been very inspiring to have been taught by a professor with such passion. Thank you!