8 Weeks and a Lifetime’s Worth of Lessons

It seems so surreal to me that I am writing my last blog reflection for our sustainability journey. Truthfully, what a journey it has been! I will admit, when I first enrolled for this course, I was confused and quite honestly annoyed that I had to take it. “What in the world does this have to do with interior design?” Now I know that it has everything to do with not only my major but the lifestyle that you and me both live. Throughout these eight weeks I have been educated on so many facets of sustainability that I had overlooked many times before. I did not even know what sustainability was before this course! I do believe that I have come out of this class a better human. I am more concerned about my environmental footprint that I have on this earth more than I ever have been before. I’ve honestly realized how selfishly I’ve lived. Whether I was reading articles, answering questionnaires, sharing my insight in a breakout room, or watching “The 11th Hour”, I was constantly being enlightened to the concept of sustainability. 

Throughout this course, I believe what I contributed most to the learning community is my thought process on all of the wicked problems and paradigms we read about. I was able to bounce off other classmates’ ideas and dive deeper into conversation. I enjoyed sharing my thoughts so that someone could either add their insight onto mine, or counter me and challenge my thoughts more. If there was one thing that I wish I could share more about, it would be my experience watching “The 11th Hour.” I thought that it was such an amazing documentary. I’m not one to usually enjoy nature shows or non-fiction films, but I was just drawn to this particular film. I remember the first time I watched it during our first week I did not want to stop, but I knew I would be so happy eight weeks later to resume and watch it again.

My major takeaways from this course would first have to be that sustainability ties into everything around us. This is something that I did not realize until I took this course. I did not know that buildings could be “green” in terms of how ecologically friendly they are, and how much that the structure and materials used can affect the environment around it. I think the main thing I am taking away from this course is that there is always a way to care for our environment better. There are so many little steps we can take, from changing our means of transportation, altering the fabrics we use in our clothing, using reusable materials rather than single-use plastics, growing your own food in a garden instead of buying it at the grocery store, etc. If everyone took these small steps, the world might just get a little greener. I am also reminded of how fast our world is diminishing though. We think we have all of these resources left and all of this time to spare and the truth is, we don’t. I can’t forget, when I was watching the last hour of the film “The 11th Hour”, one of the professionals being interviewed said “we truly are living in the 11th hour; more like 11 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds.” That just really hit me like a train. I feel like those words need to be a wake up call to everyone who hears them. Why not start being more sustainable now?

Some solutions that I am taking away from this course and would like to learn more about is mindfulness practicing. I know that this isn’t necessarily a solution to environmental issues, but it does benefit the people living in the environment. Before this class, I did practice a sense of mindfulness through my spirituality with prayer and reading scripture. I also have practiced “mindfulness” just by resting where I am and knowing I can find peace right where I am. Taking ten minutes out of our day before we started class was so nice and definitely a great break from reality. I am absolutely going to continue practicing my sense of mindfulness and dive deeper into peace and comfort. Whenever I do, I always feel so much better afterwards and feel like I can take on the rest of the day. I also really admire how everyone has their own way of finding rest and peace. I think it is so interesting that when we mute ourselves and turn our cameras off, we are all embarking on our own private journey. We all also have our own definition of peace and bliss, which is so interesting to me. My bliss could be very distasteful to someone else, and theirs could be complete bogus to me. What is beautiful is that it doesn’t matter if someone else’s sense of peace is different from our own perception. We all deserve rest and tranquility at the end of the day and that is all that matters!

Reflecting on my ability to positively impact my circle of influence, I realize how much potential I have in doing so. I have so much knowledge from this course now, and I feel confident that I could make thoughtful and insightful suggestions and wisdom to my circle of influence if I ever needed to. I believe that I have the full ability to enlighten my circle to sustainability and the idea of wicked problems and paradigms. What is great about this is that it can be so easy. Through going shopping, travelling, and decision making I have the power to educate my circle on how to be sustainable and treat our environment in the way it should so that our home here on earth can stay our home for many, many more years. Moving forward, I will not live my life with a “I can’t make a difference, I’m only one person” type of attitude. I will take up my responsibility as a human and do my part to take care of our beautiful home.

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