One Step At A Time

Since I am a junior in the interior design program and have had previous classes and experiences talking about sustainability I feel like I was able to contribute some of that to the learning community. As I mentioned before, I got to study abroad in Europe specifically about sustainability which was an amazing experience. I talked about how you get to see the way other people live and it seemed like they lived quite more sustainable than the people in America. Something I got from that class is learning about cradle to cradle and cradle to grave which I ended up talking about when we broke off into groups one day in class. I also talked about what I saw in the different countries when it comes to sustainable practices such as having to pay for a bag at almost every store as well as how different transportation is there. I went to Copenhagen and it is the bike capital of the world so all you see are people riding bikes to school, work, etc. This in return helps the environment by driving less so there are fewer toxic fumes going into the environment. I also remember talking about my opinion on certain subjects from the numerous articles we read for class. One of them being that I agree with designers focusing on designing with more humility and not just designing products and spaces to last a long time. If we put the environment before our ego then that is just another step in becoming a more sustainable world. 

I feel as though I got quite a lot of takeaways from this course. I went in not even knowing what wicked problems were, having only tried meditating probably one time previous to this class, and I pushed myself to read and understand the articles we were given so I could have a better understanding of the problems going on in the world. One of my major takeaways is that it starts with taking care of yourself before you can really take care of the environment and people around you.  By meditating you are able to focus on what’s important and the present moment around you rather than stressing about what has happened or what is the unknown. By doing that you can put more focus and energy on things that really matter, such as helping this planet even if it is in small ways. Another major takeaway I got was how much of an impact I can have as an interior designer on the environment. Every decision I make could either harm or help the environment and it is my choice on what I want to do. I think this is such a huge responsibility but it is such an exciting thing to think about. A third takeaway I got was how much the government, industry, market, consumers, and people all over the world contribute to this crisis and how urgent it is that we all work together so we can give the planet, as well as us and the future generations, a chance. 

My group did our infographic project over construction demolition and waste and it really opened my eyes to how much damage it is actually causes. I learned quite a bit while doing the research but I would really like to learn more about this problem and possible solutions. I also would like to know how in my future career as an interior designer I could contribute to decrease this waste and what things I could do and not do. There are so many sustainable materials and products that could be used as well as different ways to reuse things rather than just throwing them out. There are also many technological advances out there that could be used more as well such as solar panels on the roof and eco-friendly textiles. I would like to dive deeper into that and do more research. Another problem I am taking away from this course that I would like to learn more about in the future is over consumerism and under consumerism. How poverty plays a role in the cycle of environmental degradation was really interesting to me because when people think of consumerism they think of the people who buy too much but under consumerism isn’t discussed as much, at least I have not personally read or talked about it with anyone before this class. I would like to learn more about how people living below the poverty line could still live in a way that doesn’t also hurt the environment and also ways to help people in poverty whether it is coming from the government or local people.

My ability to impact positive change in my circle of influence would mostly be to just educate others on what I learned in this class as well as other sustainable classes I have taken. Not everyone cares or wants to listen though so I would like to lead as an example and show people that it does not have to be these big changes at one time but making a change one step at a time is what is important and sticking to those beliefs. I’m not exactly sure of what I specifically would do to help influence the people around me, but I really loved the idea of how our professor mentioned she took something that made sense to her and expressed that to encourage and influence other people. Just even seeing and hearing what she does encouraged me to do something similar. If people see that you are passionate about something then it is more likely to spark something in them to maybe do the same. I am grateful that I am getting an education in interior design because I feel like it is so underestimated and being able to educate people and show them that what I do is about combining art, science, and helping others in my everyday life while including sustainable practices is a great way to influence the people around me. 

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