Sustainability for Me

At the beginning of this course sustainability was not something I thought about very often if at all. I knew the more popular issues our society has caused for the earth, but I never thought past what was said in the TV ad or random conversation that probably lasted 5 minutes. It’s sad because these problems rarely brought up in society are extremely pressing matters that are not to be taken lightly, however not enough people know how seriously these matters should be taken. A normal conversation in my life about the direction our earth is going often times looks like me telling someone not to litter, turn off a light, stop excessively using products that don’t easily breakdown, or recycle something rather than just throw it away. These are great things to be putting into words that people can hear so they may start thinking about how the small things they are doing are affecting the world, however it is not enough to start the tough conversation that everyone needs to be having at this day and age almost daily. A simple, “hey don’t throw that out the window I’ll take it” is more than likely going to get someone to make fun of you before it makes them think about what they’re doing to the world. To follow that even when the person does think about what the small things are doing to the world most times the immediate after thought is, “well what is me making a change going to do? Literally almost nothing” and they go on like normal discouraged by the fact that recycling a small piece of paper isn’t going to solve global warming. Along with this comes the fact that no one thinks about how sustainability can be implemented everywhere. Personally, the thought that as an architectural engineer I have an opportunity to impact any communities I work in never crossed my mind, which is crazy. It may just be me, but I only ever thought about recycling paper and not using too much plastic, the common things. Don’t get me wrong those things are very helpful and I try to do my part as much as possible, but once my eyes were opened to the opportunities I have in my own field my entire perspective changed. I have learned that sustainability can be found in everything. Realizing this has positively impacted my way of thinking, in all things architecture I am now constantly thinking about the most environmentally friendly way of building. A new curiosity for all things building material has been unlocked in my brain. I genuinely believe I am equipped to do better for our world now that I have taken a course that has forced me out of my comfort zone of thinking. Along with that this course has taught me how to be able to sit with my thoughts. Sitting with my thoughts turned out to be more than I thought it would be. The original challenges included: getting myself to sit still, not falling asleep, allowing the thoughts to be relaxed rather than flustered because of the new process, and staying off my phone. These were all things I was eventually able to overcome but, in the beginning, it was a huge struggle to even get myself to sit down for ten minutes. Once I got comfortable the few minutes I spent a day focusing on my thoughts became an outlet of calm and creativity. The calm gave me time to collect myself and think about some of the things I needed to accomplish over a certain amount of time within the near future, and the creativity was in how I began thinking about the world. When I was little, I always thought I looked at the world just a bit different than everyone else and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve felt as if I have conformed to society and lost how I used to view things. This has given me the opportunity to reconnect with myself and the way I think about things. Through that I have had the opportunity to grow in my own aspirations towards the type of architectural engineer I want to be regarding the materials I am using for buildings. My minor is in Sustainable Design and this class has given me the tools to explore new ways to use reuse materials in future buildings so that I can help protect the world we live on. My progress towards understanding others’ perspectives on the world and the way we take care of it has grown immensely. I can now say the I am fully able to be open-minded towards others’ thinking processes and possible ways of solving problems. These wicked problems we encounter are hard to solve because they have an effect on so many things that in many cases at least one factor is going to be negatively affected. I have learned that because of that it is so important to be able to listen to others so that in problem solving we can hopefully come up with a solution to every problem. I have also learned that unfortunately there is not always an answer to every problem which is why it is so important to be taking care of the earth now so that down the line there are minimal problems to be dealt with. My hope in the future is to be able to be an engineer of not only buildings but also of change. I want to be someone that finds ways to implement better reuse of material into society in a positive way. When someone thinks about recycling materials their first thought should not be negative, it should be positive and happy that we are taking care of the earth. I believe that throughout the next few decades with the right engineers our world will have better ways of reusing materials creating the positive change towards getting rid of demolition waste littering the ground everywhere. 

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