Growing up, I was taught not to be wasteful and that recycling is important. My family always emphasized that I had access to things that other children might not have the ability to have and that made me grateful, but as I grew older I started to forget about those values. Until recently, I didn’t think twice about the waste I produced and I was unaware of how sustainability involves more than the plastic and food that you throw out. Being sustainable affects all aspects of life, from the trash in landfills to the children suffering in sweatshops. One of my goals is to learn more about sustainability and practice being mindful day to day. I feel that as I hope to have a career in the fashion industry, it is imperative to be a part of the movement to lessen the industry’s ecological impact and work toward sustainability.
Taking the carbon footprint test really opened my eyes to how much my actions impact the environment. As Americans, I feel that we place too much value in material possessions and act before thinking. This goes against other cultures, such as Native American cultures, in which the land is respected and nothing goes to waste. I feel that for our collective viewpoint to shift, we should learn from other cultures.
As Andrew Dent said in his Ted Talk, thrifting is a great way to be sustainable because it allows consumers to fulfill their urge to buy more, but allows items to be reused instead of thrown out. Do you think thrifting is an easy way to shift to a sustainable mindset?
There are many wicked problems that involve sustainability. Wicked problems are characterized by having vague problem definitions, solutions that have no endpoint, variable solutions, solutions with irreversible effects, solutions that require unique approaches, and urgency. Because of these characteristics, it is nearly impossible to completely solve issues involving sustainability and would require a collective change.
If we continue at this rate of wastefulness, we will deplete our resources and have to resort to a state of barbarism, similar to the people of Easter Island. Just like how they competed to make the biggest stone carving, we are competing to have the best house, the best car, etc. and don’t consider the resources we are using up.
A wicked problem I would like to explore is consumerism. I feel that consumerism has caused many of the problems we have and it’s important for our beliefs and values to shift in order to continue to have healthy and peaceful lives.