This past week, we took a trip to Oklahoma State University’s Facilities Management office, where we learned about all the ways OSU implements sustainable practices on campus. I found it interesting that we are one of the most sustainable campuses in the United States. Part of our efforts to be a greener campus involve our very own Upholstery Shop. There, furniture is reclaimed and updated, to cut costs of buying new furniture, and to cut the amount of waste our campus produces. I was surprised that older furniture was built better, therefor it has outlasted new furniture. Some of the chairs being redone were 60 years old! That is incredible but shows that mass production might be more convenient to the consumer but proves to be more expensive in the end. After the visit to the upholstery shop, our class moved to the Recycling Plant on campus. There, paper and cardboard are sorted, palettes are shipped, and a large compost pile resides. We were able to see the bailers compress cardboard and paper scraps, allowing them to be stacked and ready to ship. Although they pack many tons of cardboard and paper monthly, the prices have dropped significantly in the past couple of years, resulting in less of a profit. We saw the palettes being loaded into semi-trucks and learned that most Coca-Cola palettes cannot be sold for coin. That made little sense to me but is something the company can improve on. Our class also got to look at the compost pile, which is composed of organic matter, which in time will decompose into nutritious fertilizer for our gardens on campus.
This trip got me thinking about what my role is, regarding intergenerational responsibility. I recognize that our earth is full, so it is our job to think about the consequences of our actions today, in order to ensure that there is still a tomorrow. As far as my self-narrative goes, it is my job to promote sustainable practices within my industry when I enter the job world. I also can take the things I learned in this class and let them inspire me to educate others on the world we are harming. It not only harms the environment, it will later have great effects on the human race. We need to boycott companies who do not allow their products to be sold in department stores, call congressmen to let them know how you feel about environmental sustainability laws. Be advocates for fining big companies that are contributing to the polluting of our atmosphere.
We are making the same mistakes the inhabitants of Easter Island made hundreds of years before us. Although our society is more advanced, and common knowledge is not so limited thanks to technology, we are treating our earth like an income, and not an asset. Right now, we are able to cut down billions of trees and not see the immediate affects. We are heating up our earth art a rapid pace, without any thought about what happens when there are no more glaciers. We have hit a point of no return, and unless something is done about it soon, history will repeat itself, on a much grander scale.
For Activity 2, I have chosen to research the problem society faces of construction waste mismanagement. I have just scratched the surface of my research on this topic, but it is very clear that construction waste is a leading cause of pollution on earth. Infrastructure will cease to stop any time soon, so we are responsible for finding alternative ways to dispose of harmful construction waste in a timely and cost-efficient manner. I am excited to dive further into this topic, as it relates to my major and future career as an interior designer.
I mentioned earlier that our personal self-narrative is so important. In order to see change, we must make change possible in our individual lives. I discussed ways to help promote environmental change, but there are smaller things we can do in our simple daily lives. Remember not to use plastic as often as possible. I recommend buying a reusable water bottle and stainless-steel straws. They are hypoallergenic and we aren’t wasting plastic. Doing little things like this will help change paradigms of the human race. We must stop seeing the environment as a convenience, instead recognizing it is what fuels our lives. And without it, society will crumble, just like Easter Island. vg”,viewBox:”