There are many environmental and global issues that we face nowadays. High level of consumption and environmental degradation are major problems that contribute to global warming. In the market vs. government regulation reading, buildings are largest contributor to electricity consumption, and they impact harmfully on the environment, which contribute to pollution and climate change. Buildings use about one-third of energy use and raw materials, produce one-third greenhouse gas emission and waste output, and 12% water consumption. These large amounts of consumption contribute to pollution and climate change. In the TED talk of Annie Leonard, our stuff moves along different stages from extraction to production to distribution to consumption to disposal. We are running out of resources because of extracting too much natural resources to create stuff and trashing our planet. In addition, toxic chemicals are put in the stuff, which impact human health and environment. Especially, we have become a nation of consumers; advertisement and media play a big role in this. The only part of material economy that we see is shopping. As the result, we have more stuff than ever before, and it then will be trashed and dumped in a landfill. These pollute the air, land, and water. In addition, causes of environmental degradation are globalization, the move to manufacturing and the increased demand for energy urbanization. Population growth and inadequate resources also lead to the migration of the poor and force them overuse environmental resources.
For the solutions, Annie Leonard mentioned that recycling can help reducing the garbage pressure to mine and harvest new stuff at this end; however, it is not enough. We need to see the connection and the big picture of the entire system. Sustainability and equity are also solutions to solve this problem such as green chemistry, zero waste, closed loop production, renewable energy, and local living economies. Furthermore, effective public policy can increase environmental quality in developing countries and improve the lives of the poor while protecting the environment as mentioned in the article. Improving asset base of the poor is important; these include natural, social, human, physical, and financial capital. Poverty concept is very complex and a set of relationship. Location of poverty influences policy options. By developing effective community – based institution for the collective management of resources is a key factor to aid the poor. Implementing better policy requires both conceptual and operational shifts. Policies support both enhanced livehoods for the poor and more sustainable management of environmental resources. Co-managing and co-investing with the poor, supporting infrastructure development, developing technologies, employing and compensation the poor are some options to solve the problem. Poverty and weak governing institutions can lead to corruption, which can cause environmental degradation. Therefore, creative policy plays an important role. Through this policy, natural sources can be used as source of income and a means to protect the environment. Next, green building is one of solutions that can help reducing greenhouse gas emission and fighting global warming. Green building can help with energy efficiency, use of recycled materials, water conservation, and improve indoor air quality. These buildings have a significant impact on the environment and people health. However, there are barriers and challenges to green buildings due to cost, variety of US. green building programs, inability, building codes and regulation, zoning and land-use policies to implement green building programs. Therefore, the purpose of incentive regulations is to offset some financial barriers to green building like tax incentives, expedited permitting, reduced development fee, and density bonuses. Without national regulations, the greenhouse gas emissions cannot be managed successfully. Therefore, regulation at local state and national levels are needed in construction industry. Regulations can be built into zoning and planning laws; they can also encourage energy conservation and sustainability by reducing global greenhouse gases. Buildings have along life cycle. By developing stronger regulations at all government levels, energy demand will be significantly reduced.
Through the activity 3, I learned that construction and demolition waste is really a wick problem that we need to have more concern and consideration. Depending on the professionals’ views, locations, and countries, they have different views and distinct cases of problems. Although some solutions work for some places but not work for the others due to unique situations and context to implement effectively. Because construction and demolition waste are 30% waste in landfill, we have to come up with solution and implement it to solve the problem. These wastes affect a lot to our environment. Therefore, as a future interior designer, I need to consider and apply sustainable design to help reducing the construction and demolition waste. Understanding life cycle stages and entire system are important to reduce the waste and contribute to green building. Since I had this class, my sustainability journey has been improved significantly. I pay more attention to recycled materials and think about life cycle stages of products when buying stuff. I think that I can contribute to make a change for our environment by changing my habit and daily activities into sustainable way. I believe that each person is a member of our planet, so we need to work together to protect our environment. As a role of communicator and educator, I would love to talk to my family, friends, and people know and understand more about what the wicked problem and how our activities can impact and change our environment. For social entrepreneurs, the drive is toward helping people and creating the non-economic wealth within a community. They seek to solve many pressing problems that often include inequality, education, access to food and water, and sustainability. Social entrepreneurship is important and helpful to develop, fund, and implement solutions to solve social, cultural, or environmental issues.