Crash Course in Saving the Planet

Who knew that a four week course would be one of the most impactful thing I would do this year. Not only was it painful to listen to all the things that we did over the years to harm ourselves and the planet, but it was also a great teaching experience that I will carry with me from now on, in and out of my profession.

Planet saving aside, the focus on meditation in this class will be a permanent change in my routine as it should be for many. Allowing thoughts to simply drift past you from day to day brings a whole new perspective on life as it shows how simple those thoughts truly are. Even  small section of time opens your eyes to a whole new realm of possibility, which can be used to create a world where our planet will no longer be in harm’s way.

Coming into this class, I had no formal training on our impact on earth. It is disappointing to know that knowledge of our home is not on the forefront of many people’s minds as classes discussing this are minimal. But through personal research with my many Google searches and book excerpts along the years, I knew that we needed a century long miracle in a span of only a few years. This was clear during the movie in class, as the harmful numbers kept increasing instead of ebbing away with the passing years.

Entering a profession such as interior design, gives me so much excitement, but also fear. As building materials and environments create a vast majority of our issues in the pollution and waste areas. But with the rising population, it can seem inevitable. But keeping the idea of humility has stuck with me since the article we read. Thinking of each solution to not be the end, but only the beginning of our understanding in how we can reshape our culture and it’s needs. Using the idea that every solution will not be the best one, but we must create and recreate new innovations that take a larger step towards our safety.

Building materials and the issues they create has stuck with me as it can become a way of life for me as I grow older in the interior design field. Branching away from common resources in search of the safer and more friendly option will always be in my mind as it will be only a small piece that I can change for the world. With this in mind daily, it could be used as an influence to others to think outside the box while also stripping our culture of our need for “keeping up with the Joneses” mindset.

This mindset has shaped our culture for the longest time as we continue to stray for necessities and run towards luxuries. The danger we brought on ourselves, with the increase marketing and advertisements over the hundreds of years, is controlling our minds as we are blocking the thoughts of our own safety and stretching for the just out of reach superiority of having more money than the neighbors. It’s terrifying to think that some cultures have already been through this situation, as history truly does repeat itself, yet we are none the wiser. The smaller population of Easter Island created a whole society on superiority and ranks, which can be discussed as the reason they fell apart and collapsed. Through their limited resources and the refusal to create more innovated ways to use said resources, it crumbled around them.

With all of the culture talk, it brings into perspective just how scary the future can be if our mindset as a whole does not change. Knowing that, as a twenty year old college kid, I cannot be the one to hold all the answers also brings a shiver down my spine. The population as a whole must band together and deem this our ultimate problem, and until then we must continue to strengthen our smaller solutions and watch them grow.

Even with the dependent situation we are in, the list of ways a single person can aid in reversing the collapse continues to expand. Learning that small things, such as the correct tire pressure, have at least a small impact helps as I try to live as helpful as possible. With fast fashion being a giant consuming cloud, keeping second hand stores and researching brands gives me a little bit of power as I vote for those options in my future. Even finding pre-owned furniture instead of buying new items has an impact on how our future looks. Simple changes like multiple use grocery bags and recycling have made it into my home as do my best to lower my little footprint on the planet. I would love to add on to this list with bigger projects like composting, gardening and other long-term sustainable living options as well.

Researching building materials and their impact after they are used is something I would love to dive deeper into as this is an area that creates a ton of waste. Also learning about the steps that we can do to keep a structure up and safe for longer periods of time, as we constantly remodel and rebuild different structures. These two ideas could be a giant way to reduce our impact, but also a way to simply give life and culture to buildings as they could be occupied for a longer time than the average forty year cycle of construction.

As for my future, I plan to expand my circle of influence as I create sustainability in my profession in interior design. Creating habits for myself and my clients that bring us closer to the earth while still bringing personality to each space is a goal as I stray from the easy options and put research into every material I use. While this will not solve the crisis, I believe that influencing others as one can bring us one step closer to changing the world.

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