Why Me?

The more I learn about sustainable practices, the more I realize how applicable it is, no matter what industry. As a merchandiser, the wicked problem of global sweatshops in the apparel industry is something I will more than likely encounter at some point in my professional career. Researching this topic has been very enlightening for me, as I was unaware of just how many American companies are participants in this international evil. Dr. Jayadas made a great point in class, that when we buy goods from companies, we are essentially condoning their practices. We are using our money as a confirmation of our approval, whether we realize it or not. As a result of my research and this course, I will be more conscious about the companies which I support with my business.
One main contributor to the sweatshop industry is poverty. Poverty, which is a wicked problem in and of itself, often forces people into certain lifestyles. It is a proven fact that those affected by poverty are more likely to partake in less-than-sustainable practices. This dilemma also contributes to the sweatshop industry. Although we are seemingly a world away, we are not blameless in this situation. Developed countries like The United States are notorious for dumping trash and waste in other countries, and then it is simply out of sight, out of mind. The solutions proposed in the article were good starts to alleviating the problem, but a long-term fix is not on the horizon. One short-term option included funding and educating these communities so that down the road, they might be able to identify the root causes of their environmental issues, and address them accordingly.
Another key contributor to certain environmental crises is the overuse of energy. This was a large portion of what Leyla discussed in her TedTalk. She talked about the phenomenon in Great Britain, in which a vast majority of individuals admitted to over-filling their electric tea kettles, boiling more water than they actually plan to use. If people were to only use what they needed, it is estimated that enough energy would be saved in one day, that it could power all of the streetlights in England for a whole night. This is yet another example of the drastic overconsumption of humanity.
Next week, our class is taking a trip over to the sustainability office and recycling center located on OSU’s campus. I think this visit will be eye-opening as we get a glimpse into the excessive waste we create on a college campus.

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