Week 3 Reflections

We discussed many things in Week 3, and for me, they revolved around the idea of making changes to our current ways of life. In Leyla’s TED talk, one point that I found very interesting is how we use items like gigantic fridges, or inefficient tea kettles that are designed terribly. From this TED talk, I realized how even if we make small changes to these appliances, that fix these minor-but impact-ful problems, we will save so much energy and use less stuff. After reading and discussing the “Western Values” reading, I agree that our values do not line up at all with the concepts of sustainability. Here, the standard idea of “success” includes having a giant house, several cars, and as many things as money can buy. But this leads to a society of over-consumption, and we do not really care about the afterlife of these things. We need to bring our attention to things that should really matter- like connections with people, and finding our passions- rather than try to replace these things with material items.

The article about Fashion and Sustainability also touches on this same issue- the problem with our current fast-fashion, and how products are built to become obsolete. With this article, we can begin to strategize on how to marry the competitiveness of fashion with the practicality and necessities of sustainable practices. Here too we get an idea of slowly integrating new technology into products as we develop them, rather than create a “long-life” product that will not keep up with our sustainability standards.

The video, “Story of Stuff” further confirms this paradigm in our Western culture, but also for the world; it explains how we exploit our resources, add in dangerous chemicals to items, mistreat workers, over-consume and create a greater demand, then at the end of the day- dispose of these products without second thought. From this video we can understand the viscous cycle that we are trapped in and only make worse, but we can also see where we can begin to make changes, such as in recycling efforts.

A new concept that I had never heard of prior to this course is biophilia, which has to do with incorporating aspects of nature into our everyday spaces. I that for me, I love the sound of moving water, as well as other sounds of nature. If we began to incorporate this as a regular idea for our society, I think this would bring people back to a connection with nature, rather than with materialistic things.

After the 3 weeks of this course, I have noticed that I am more aware of the waste that I produce, and try to make even the smallest acts of change. Even with my future career, I now feel that working towards a more sustainable future is something that I want to be involved in when I work in the merchandising field. For me- a very tiny piece in the puzzle- this shows signs of change, and if we inspire this in others, the paradigm in our society can slowly start to change for the better.

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