I was eager to learn more in depth information about sustainable design. I knew very rudimentary, surface level information about green building and things individuals can do to ease the stress on the environment from discussions with family and friends and also from a course I had previously taken before I transferred to OSU. I did my best to recall the little I knew from those sources and use that; I was aiming to answer Dr.Armstrong’s questions as best I could and actually try to engage in conversation each class period. Sustainability is really important to me and I’m super excited to continue to learn more in depth information to try to form some of my own solutions to these wicked problems. I just tried to bring as much enthusiasm as possible while learning and discussing in class. Overall, I think I contributed good ideas and I challenged myself to speak up in this class, which honestly doesn’t happen in hardly any of my other classes.
This course was a good beginner course for learning about sustainability. I took several things away from this course. The main one is that without a tremendous effort from everyone on the planet to change our ways, the human race could go extinct. That’s honestly terrifying but I guess people in power don’t really care. So other than grassroots efforts and/or a bottom-up approach, our chances of survival seem very bleak. 🙂 Something else I took away was that there are already so many new technologies and solutions to environmental problems and people keep coming up more and more. Seeing those people make such a good effort and really commit to doing their part, makes me feel a little hopeful for our future. Knowing that some people care enough to put in all the effort to find solutions to problems that a vast majority of people don’t even know are problems, gives me hope for humanity, hope that I just realized I needed. I think, for me, seeing those people do things to better the environment and their impact on it, inspires me even more to mold my life around doing the same thing. I do believe that to make actual changes, everyone will have to contribute, but I also feel good just knowing that I’m doing all that I can do. I can’t make everyone else change, but maybe if others see me, they’ll be inspired to change as well. I kind of already knew this, but this class also made me realize how everything is interconnected. It’s so difficult to get anything done because an effort to fix one thing, would cause fifteen other problems. Sustainability makes me feel like I’m Alice in Wonderland just falling down further and further into an abyss that I have no idea how to get myself out of. Since the topic of sustainability is so bleak, we need high levels of effort to do our best to fix it.
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about real estate and how beneficial it could potentially be. I keep trying to figure out ways where housing can be set aside, preferably by updating existing structures instead of building completely new ones, that would address poor communities’s issues of paying rent and utilities, (utilities that are much more expensive than needed because of crummy energy sources). I know it could be beneficial for everyone in the long run to invest in poor communities and then also work with them to continue to raise them up. I have so many ideas about this and I just wish that green building isn’t as expensive as it is. Implementing something like this would kind of kill two birds with one stone; lower carbon footprints resulting from cleaner energy sources (not just in poorer communities, but everywhere eventually,) and providing poor communities with safe, energy efficient places to live. Providing humans with safe homes would allow them to put their worries about shelter into something else. This is related to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the less people have to worry about food, shelter and water, the more time they can spend bettering their lives. I was also really interested in learning about biomimicry. I’ve heard about this before, but I’m really interested in seeing all the different solutions and possibly studying this more in depth in the future. Learning from the natural environment on how to provide shelter for ourselves can only be beneficial and I can’t wait to see the time when most buildings implement biomimicry in their materials and overall design. I know that this is kind of in the beginning stage and it’s also really expensive, but using these techniques will be so much better for the environment.
I’m trying to be more mindful about things I buy, whether or not it’s a good quality, if it’s from companies that I trust, and if it can be reused to reduce the effect on the environment. Since I live away from home, I don’t really have much effect on what goes on at my moms house as I used to. I used to recycle there and take it to a recycling center because where she lives the city doesn’t provide that service, but since I don’t do it anymore they just throw everything away. I understand that it’s difficult, we’re all so busy already, I just think that this is really something that people need to recognize as a problem that needs to be addressed. I can always suggest to others to try to be more mindful, but I have to keep in mind that it’s ultimately their decision on what they choose to do. Another thing that I need to keep in mind is that, I always have room for improvement in relation to who and what I support and what I do or don’t do to positively affect the environment. Like I said previously, the most I can hope to do is to live my life as sustainably as possible and hope that others will see what I do and take into account what all they can do.