Sustainability’s Affect on Me

 During my time in this short 4-week course I learned about wicked problems. At first I had no idea what that meant and what to expect out of this course. This course opened my eyes up to the problems being faced around the world. The population of earth, 7.53 billion individuals are suffering from these problems caused by one another. These problems are caused by the simple choices we make everyday such as choosing to each individually drive ourselves in our cars to work, school, and other activities. Choosing to drink out of plastic water bottles every day instead of a reusable water bottle. These are little things that have huge impacts on our earth. What I learned and found interesting about these problems is majority are influenced by society’s wants and desires. This could be referring to fast fashion. Fast fashion meaning how individuals are constantly getting rid of clothes to buy new ones that are “in style”. This could also be referring to building new things rather than reconstructing the old. I found this topic to be very interesting as I am interesting in interior design and architecture. I think each family and individual has a goal with retirement of where they want to live and for many this is a home they build for themselves. I personally have that same desire. A desire to build a house on a ranch or a lake. These houses could be reconstructed from older homes or built by reusable materials rather than all new materials. I read an article that discusses using simple every day materials for building. Materials such as newspapers, corks, tree bark, recycled glass, and many others to construct these houses and designs. The corks were described as being used for siding and flooring. Such a small and simple item that could have such an impact on the earth’s health. The newspaper was described as being used to make wood. Each material being reused instead of going to waste. Materials finding a second purpose helping the earth. 

Over the past 4 weeks I have realized the issues of the earth and its health in a new perspective. As a person from the south and a child of a oil and gas engineer I had never thought much about the earths health quality. I always though the people in California and Colorado were being dramatic. These people were making these issues seem larger than they actually are. I was wrong. These issues are large and do need attention. These problems need attention from more than just a couple states. These problems need attention from the entire world and its population not just one state, one country, one continent. The earth needs all 7.53 billion individuals to come together to save planet earth from the destruction us humans are causing. I never thought much about the use of these resources because I thought they were the only way for humans to survive. These are not the only way though. There are other ways that are just as efficient and are better for the environment. I’m not saying that we should stop oil and gas production. I know that this is an economy based society and that this industry provides jobs and money to many families. However I think that society should find a better way, a more effective way and beneficial way to use its natural resources such as oil and gas. For example I think oil and gas should be used for public transportation. Public transportation such as airplanes, buses, etc.. I think electric cars should be used for personal use of individuals.

A major takeaway I had from this course was a realization of how economically based our society is. The economy is affecting the health of individuals and our planet. Something I also learned about during this course was fast fashion. Fast fashion is defined as “inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends” (oxford dictionary). The idea of fast fashion creates a lot of waste by overproduction. These companies produce more than what consumers will buy by the time the next latest trend hits. Big brands such as H&M and forever 21 use this idea of fast fashion. These fashion items being produced rapidly also creates for a lower quality making them damaged easily and there for easily put to waste. I think if people had knowledge on brands like this taking advantage of consumers and adding to waste on earth, these brands would not be as large and as popular as they are in media. As an individual I think that I could use social media to create a positive impact on my circle of influence. To provide what little knowledge I have gained on such a massive topic to inspire those around me to learn as well. One of my best friends is from California and I have enjoyed talking to her about this class and comparing our different society’s back home and how they have impacted the way we act and behave now. For example she doesn’t use straws because California made the switch to paper straws. Every time we go out to eat and I get a straw I am remembered that I am wasting a piece of plastic for what reason alone than to drink my water without my lips touching the glass/ cup. A simple difference in the use of a straw. That’s like when I go to her apartment she ahs reusable straws that she washes and cleans. She also drinks from a hydroflask that she takes with her everywhere she goes and is constantly filling it up with water rather than wasting a cup or a bottle. Imagine if everyone did something small like this. Such a small change in her daily routine but the impact it could have on the earth if all individuals made a simple change to their routine. As an individual I don’t feel as if I was able to contribute any knowledge further than what I learned in class as I was a close-minded oil field kid. However after taking this class I feel as if I can contribute this new knowledge to those around me. 

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