Blog 3: Marketing and Sustainability

The Fashion and Sustainability article was an interesting read. What stood out to me was the fact that fashion can help to stimulate the market but it can also encourage consumerism which can be wasteful. Advertising and marketing promote feelings of false happiness and success to customers. This is done to help encourage consumerism. To be more sustainable, however, the products we have now will not work. If we make the products that we have now long-lasting, they will be products that in time will prove to not be as sustainable. The products we have today are made to become obsolete within a couple years. IPhones and other Smart Phones are designed in a way that within a couple years the phone will not accept new updates or apps and it will be worthless. Layla’s TED talk mentions this fact. She says that 32 million phones end up sitting in drawers after new models are released or phones are made obsolete. While we do have an example of designing products to last, with the Centennial Light Bulb, it shows that these products are not sustainable enough to design to last longer. The Centennial Light Bulb is an incandescent light that has been in use since 1901. The light bulb in today’s standards is not very sustainable as we now have LED’s. If we were to design all products to last as long, as the Centennial Light Bulb, we would have thousands of products in daily use that are not sustainable.

Those in poverty often have no choice but to use products or live in ways that are not sustainable. The Poverty reading pointed out that those in poverty often cannot chose sustainable ways to live. They do not have the money to help sustainability efforts. The Kuznets Curve shows that in order to make laws and regulations that are more sustainable, the economy as a whole needs to experience economic success and be more profitable. Countries in poverty can use Biophilia to help become more sustainable. They can collect rain water to use in times of drought or to have access to clean water. They can build their homes into hillsides or cover them with grass and dirt to help reduce energy costs. Looking to Biophilia can help to ease the costs of home ownership or to help protect the natural environment. Having this aspect of nature close to homes can also help relieve stress for those that live in poverty.

The Story of Stuff mentions that we are taking resources from other places in the world. This can hurt the communities of those abroad and make them live in poverty. Many of the big companies do not care about those they hurt as long as they get to continue to make money. They make products that become obsolete within a couple of years. As mentioned previously, the media portrays the consumption of new products as a means to be happy. And this further contributes to the landfill problem. My sustainability journey has deepened throughout the course of this class. With reading examples of sustainability issues, I can see specific examples of how we are not a sustainable society. Some of the problems with this have several names and several ways that it can be fixed. Activity 3 has also helped my journey. I read about Maslow’s Pyramid of Environmental and Sustainability Assessment. This pyramid can be used with all of the aspects to examine sustainability issues or the aspects can be used individually. This can also help us in determining Life Cycle Assessment. We can determine if a process of production is resource efficient and/or if it is eco-efficient. If the process is not, then we can determine that it is a detrimental factor in the life cycle of the items being produced. Activity 3 has helped me further explore my wicked problem in depth.

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