Sustainable Design and Sourcing Locally

What I feel I contributed this week was in the discussion of how we should be aware of where products are produced. As a society, we are so out of touch with where our food comes from, where our clothes are made, how our buildings are built, and honestly so much more. The factories that produce our clothes are typically sourced to developing countries, where the local people are polluting their communities and also over-consuming their local resources. If our clothes and other products were produced locally, and we felt the impacts of industrialization in our own backyard, would we care more about the environment?

In our assigned reading groups for Thursday’s discussion, my group talked about how the poor are not taking care of their land because they are constantly moving. If the poor were somehow able to plan for a future on their land, then these people would feel a sense of responsibility for how they are using the resources their land offers. One of the articles we were read in class actually talked about a program that did just that, giving land to families for 90 years. I think this is a great solution and it will be interesting to see how this will affect their communities in the future.

This week we were asked to increase our mindfulness exercise from five minutes to ten minutes daily. While this increase did double the amount of time I spent practicing, I found that it wasn’t that difficult to give myself a longer amount of time. When I first started this practice I found it was more difficult because I had to find the time in my busy day to just breathe. While I haven’t noticed a significant difference since increasing the time, I find that when I am practicing, it’s nice to have a few extra minutes in my day to be mindful.

My major takeaways this week were surrounding the idea of consuming local products. I think that this practice is important because it will encourage people to care more about how production affects the environment. I actually just finished a project for studio, where I tried to practice a few different sustainability methods. One of which was selecting local materials. To achieve this, I choose to use ACME bricks, WW Steel, and reclaimed wood. All three of these materials are either manufactured in Oklahoma, or can be found locally to the project site.

This idea of sourcing locally is important because we will feel the effects of their production much more easily, and there won’t be as much energy wasted on transportation. For example, if we clad a building in a composite panel from Europe, it really isn’t sustainable because we aren’t being impacted directly and we are also wasting energy transporting these materials that could have been produced locally. Seemingly small decisions like this tend to have large impacts on our world, and when I’m a practicing architect I’d like to yes make sustainable decisions, but also really think about where building materials are coming from.

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