Eco-Friendly or Eco-Enemy?

What many may not realize, is that pollution in our world can come in so many different forms and from so many different sources. Carbon dioxide emissions into our atmosphere come from cars, planes, and factories plus many more. There are some scenarios for pollution that we do not always think about. One of these scenarios comes from the vast amount of electricity used in our massive buildings and skyscrapers. Large structures like these are the largest users of electricity. People like Leigh K. Fletcher believe that if more building codes and restrictions were placed when designing these buildings, they could drastically reduce the amount of electricity that is produce, therefore reducing carbon emissions as well. The best proposed solution to date, is the carbon tariff, which places a tax on buildings which go over their allowed electricity consumption. I personally believe this is an excellent idea, because the only way to get things done is to threaten people to pay. This also comes back to the designer/architects/engineers of the buildings who can ensure that there are alternatives to electricity usage, and reduce it anyway possible. This personally teaches me to start keeping an open mind when it comes to designing commercially, which is my desired profession. Being sustainable is a practice that can be incorporated into almost everything. There is a website called wickedproblems.com which goes into further depth explaining the root of wicked problems, and educating the public on what they are and more ways to fight them. The website also discusses and includes various application and methods to think about in design as well as conducting research. This is a great resource to use and refer to those who may not know the what wicked problems are or the depth of them in our society today. When discussing the topic of wicked problems, it can be difficult to comprehend the level of severity and urgency. I believe that the absolute first step that should be addressed is educating the public on these issues, that they are REAL and not just something you do or don’t believe in. I follow Greta Thunberg on Instagram and I love following her journeys and seeing where she is, as well as the impact she is making. There are millions of people who criticize her work and do not believe she is making a difference, but this infuriates me because they do not realizing she is doing more than anyone combined to tackle the issue of climate change. Just the other day, she posted something addressing the “haters” and included the quote “right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.” I am next going to discuss not a sustainable company, but one who rather fails to do so ethically. I used to work at Starbucks my senior year of high school. It was a fun job, I enjoyed learning how to make all the different types of drinks, and some of the customer service even. However, while I worked here I experienced some things that have continually stuck with me ever since working there. Starbucks claims to be striving to make eco-friendly decisions with all of there plastic cup usage and in other areas as well, however, I believe these are lies. When it comes to the cup usage, they tried to eliminate straws by making plastic lids instead. But all plastic is the same so why does it matter what function it is serving? I mean either way, they are seriously polluting the environment with all of the plastic they use every single day. Another issue I found while working there is the severe ignorance of food waste. Every night when closing, we were forced to throw away ALL goods in the pastry case. Even if they were only one day past expiration. I asked once if I could take them home because to me, they were still good. However, the response was, “if you take them you must pay for them.” To me this made no logical sense because they were being thrown away anyway. I do not see why there is a need for such excessive food waste when there are plenty of people in our cities and communities that are starving for as little food as they can get. Starbucks should be putting their efforts into giving back to the community they claim to love so much. It is problems like these that motivate me to pursue a truly eco-friendly path of design when I am older. I want to always consider sustainability in whatever I do and attempt to incorporate this as much as possible into my field of study.

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