Our Unsustainable Environmental Impact

I recently read “Environment and Poverty: Perspectives, Propositions, Policies” and read the perspective of “yes”, which held the viewpoint that poverty was responsible for the environment’s state. I thought this viewpoint was very interesting. I had always thought that the pollution and horrible environmental state were causing the poverty rate to rise, but this article made the opposite argument. It goes on to give points about international effect, the environment’s many services to society, and economic development. I would be interested to read the other side of this argument since that is the one I had always believed to be true. Most people probably thought of it in the same way I did, but is that ignorance causing real harm to our environment and causing more people to descend into poverty? And if so how do we remedy this ignorance that our society as a whole has come to agree on? A TED talk from Leyla Acaroglu was also very interesting, as it also ties into the idea of environmental issues and their causes. The main point of her talk was that “We need to learn to do more with less.” I really related to this point and definitely agree with her that we need to use what we already have instead of using more materials to achieve the same goal. One of the things I found most interesting from Leyla’s talk was that lettuce is not biodegradable in a landfill. There is not enough oxygen in a landfill for lettuce to compost, so it remains there in much the same way as a plastic bag. Everyone is trying to be so environmentally friendly now, but the “organic” items might be the ones causing us issues in the long run. Another thing that I found very interesting from her talk was the part about the tea kettles. She said that most people overfill their tea kettles, and with that extra energy they are using to boil that water, all the streetlights in England could be lit for one night. That is a huge amount of energy being used that we don’t even think about. We don’t think that boiling an extra cup of water will waste that much energy or resources, but when everyone has that perspective then the amount of energy used is just not sustainable.

Post-disposable future is a concept I found really interesting. It focuses on redesigning single use items such as water bottles, straws, and other items. We use these items one time and then they end up in a landfill to rot for the next hundred years. But what if they didn’t have to? This is where post-disposable systems come in. They are redesigning items so that waste becomes obsolete. The overall goal of this design concept is to fully reduce waste. Recycling does reduce waste, but why have these toxic items that need to be recycled? Why not just have something that can be recycled, but would not poison us for the next thousand years when it is thrown out? This is the overall objective of a post-disposable future. To help us to use what we already have and keep our environmental fingerprints from causing any more harm on our world. The TED 10 is a list of design elements that help increase both designer and consumer knowledge of the environmental impact of fashion and textiles. They include everything from clean technology to zero waste designing. Anything designed with these concepts in mind would be much more sustainable and could be potentially more visually interesting than other designs. This fits in well with Leyla’s ideas and with the idea of a post-disposable future. These concepts will help create a better world of design and will ultimately reduce the waste we put out while creating new designs. The TED 10 is very similar to C2C, which is a biomimetic approach to the design of products and systems. Biomimetic refers to biomimicry, which is design based off of nature. Biomimicry includes honeycomb structures, kingfisher-bird shaped train noses, and climbing pads mimicking the feed of geckos. These designs are more interesting and generally more effective. C2C uses these concepts by modeling human industry on nature’s processes, and does so by viewing materials as nutrients circulating in healthy, safe metabolisms.

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