It Only Gets Worse

After being in a sustainability class for only 2 weeks, I already notice myself being more mindful of how much plastic I use, what I recycle, and how much food I waste. It is something that when leaned about, becomes something you cannot get out of your head and realize you must make changes that positively affect the future. Sustainability is a necessary part of design and I am understanding why it is so important to minimize waste in every aspect of our lives.

I found the OSU Sustainability office visit amazing. I am so glad we took that trip because it is most likely something I would not have done by myself, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was inspiring to see all the ways the campus I live on is dedicated to using all the waste it generates daily. It was interesting to see where all the furniture gets redone when it becomes so old and unusable, but they can get another 50 years out of a chair by upholstering it. My favorite part of the tour was the recycling center. I have always wanted to learn more about the recycling process and what actually happens to the waste we recycle. It is satisfying knowing the things we throw away on campus are being reused and made into new products everyday. Everything we saw on this tour was positive and I had no dislikes during the visit.

If the Earth was full, I would try my hardest to use as minimal resources as possible knowing someone needs them more than me. With that being said, I also would support legislation proposing a child limit until the population stabilizes again. There is no need for one family to have 6 children when another one has zero due to overpopulation. As humans, we must think about the future and sustaining what we have now. If that means not allowing the population to rise at an alarming rate at which the death rate does not match, it is not necessary to overpopulate with more children and cause Earth’s current inhabitants to suffer. By doing this, we think about future generations and not causing the problem to escalate by the time they reach adulthood.

At first reading Easter Island it was rather confusing but as I reflected on it I understood the chilling metaphor behind it. We are on the same track as Easter Island and we are so blind to it. The way we use resources like they are infinite and have no care for future generations is mind blowing to me. The story follows a small island with limited resources and a decent amount of people. These people continued to take and take from all the islands natural resources they ended up with nothing and no way of escaping. This is a perfect example of the way we are living today and what could occur if we do not open our eyes to the world of sustainability. This shows how ignorant people can be because they believe nothing could happen, but it can and will because we follow the same path as those that lived on the island. It serves as a reminder to us that all resources are finite.

After researching the problem of waste management in the construction industry, I am once again reminded sustainability is in every aspect of our lives. I am learning the importance of making everything sustainable as well as how to save or recycle the “waste” in my field of study (interior design). I am glad we are researching topics that relate to our industry so we learn early on how to use every material we can and turn trash into something we designed. I am very interested in turning old, used materials into new beautifully designed pieces that reside in a house one day.

After taking the carbon footprint quiz I learned my carbon use is 75 tons a year. My footprint is this due to the amount of goods I use and how much travel time I spend in the car. By learning about sustainability and putting my use of resources in perspective, I can understand my own paradigms. It is all about perceive the world in your own view and sharing it with others to get them passionate about sustainability as well. The only way we can provoke change is by discussing the issues we have and changing them in a way we all believe in and can agree upon.

This week in class we completed an activity where we looked at common wicked problems and attempted to come up with solutions. It seems so easy in the scheme of things to do things like not use as much plastic, recycle waste, etc. but what can we actually do to turn these things into reality? How do we make it more convenient to recycle and not use plastic for everything? There is no simple solution. That is what makes these sustainability problems so wicked, if they were easy to solve we would not be in this situation today. We must brainstorm ideas that may seem crazy at first but could actually be the first step in a new direction. We have to look at ourselves in a new light and realize the things we are doing do have consequences and they will continue to get worse. Whether it is the plastic issue in the ocean or the ice caps melting, we have to start somewhere to cause a change in everyone around us.

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