It has been an interesting and thought provoking experience in the last 8 weeks learning about some issues facing the sustainability of the earth caused by industrial practices and man’s activities. As a human, a student, a career person, a business owner, and a future interior designer, I am responsible to play my part in these different roles, relating to protecting my environment. Considering the popular opinions and actions of the vast majority of the earth occupants, the challenges that come with being different as relating to being sustainable is one that will require bold steps that will seem different from what is popular. It might mean encouraging a customer to refinish that old wood flooring, instead of replacing it entirely; it might mean looking for ways to make work what is available while incorporating a few new changes instead of switching the whole furniture and accessories altogether; it might mean repainting and re-designing those old decor and frames, instead of getting rid of them; it might mean personally learning to live a minimalist lifestyle so as to curb sponsoring abundance and waste.
The desire to live sustainably is a state of mind and can be truly heartfelt after one has taken the time to get informed of how our activities have been detrimental and of how much we have derailed from the core of how our relativity with the earth ought to be. Most of us are not aware of how it ought to be because all we have seen and been taught are how it ought not to be. The present younger generation will have to suffer what was caused by the previous and older generations unfortunately; as at this current state of the earth condition, I believe that we are already at some point of no return. If we are not at this point yet, then how can the solar deterioration that has increased the heat here on earth be reversed? How can we renavigate to living in minimum with all the technological provisions available? How can we solve the issues with waste and pollution that is resultant from our operations and lifestyle? The problem is when it is not perceived that there is a problem and therein lies the solution- when it is perceived that there is a problem. With the human body, where there is a problem in the system that causes a stroke, the amount of damage caused to neurological functions can be directly related to the amount of time the stroking victim was found and treated. I compare this to our faulting earth which has already suffered a lot of damage; some that cannot be reversed and some that the time ticking is crucial to the extent of damage that will be caused.
I realize that one of my initial steps in this journey of making a sustainable difference begins at home with my family and teaching my kids the ways in which we have done it wrong and the changes we need to make so as to live sustainably. Actions I recently took such as: hanging out the blankets and bed sheets on the rail to dry instead of using the dryer, hand washing the dishes instead of washing them in the dishwasher and planting a couple of the vegetables we eat are baby steps I plan to continue with, and plan to add on to that. Just like some others out in the world who are willing to make a difference but discouraged by how their little difference can even make an impact, I struggle with such thoughts and feelings as well, but when I think of how the domino works in causing an effect that causes other dominos in line to fall just by activation from the domino on the end, I feel encouraged that I can be that domino on the end to invoke a change in my circle or lane of influence.
To specifically mention one of the wicked problems that personally melts my heart, it is water pollution. This problem is one that makes me imagine how I should feel okay taking trash to a water body for dumping. Water bodies being polluted is something that can be very well prevented mostly. First, it is the responsibility for the cities to provide means for people to dispose off their trash, and so, if this responsibility is not met, that results in problems with pollution. Why should trash be thrown into a place where I and others get water from? To me, this sounds like an extreme action and I wonder if it is an issue of lack of education or lack of care. I lived in Nigeria up till I was 20 yrs of age, and I do remember taking our weekly trash to the dumpyard every Saturday where the city burns the heaps of trash. This leads to my next concern which is, is there an ultimate way to prevent all forms of pollution or is the goal the prevention of the worst form of pollution? Do we mostly reduce air pollution while we contaminate the water bodies or vice versa? Or do we make little changes in all areas of pollution? All of these concerns and thoughts make me think of being part of an active involvement in doing something to help the current situation. For a while, I have had issues with the use of plastic bags to cover clean equipments at the place of my employment and I have always thought to myself why should these bags be used to cover these intravenous machines? In addition, I have also thought about the hospital having separate recycling containers for bags and other forms of plastics to be disposed off for recycling, considering the amount of bags and plastics we use. I really do hope to have the bravery to look into how I can approach this situation successfully, as I really do hope to see a positive change about this practice. I can foresee this change creating a domino effect in outlying hospitals adopting the same practice. I am hoping that this is how change begins and optimistic about it.
Personally, I have noticed that when I am in a meditative state of mind, my intuition processes thoughts in a way that seem rather right and natural. I believe that this is something that is lacking in our busy modern lifestyles, which I can say contributed to our problems of non-sustainability. WORLD! STOP! Yes, stop and think for a moment… Is this abundance and pursuit of happiness that does not fully satisfy all worth it? Stop! and weigh the benefits and consequences of our pursuits thus far… I am sure there are changes we can make moving forward into our nearest future. Being SUSTAINABLY SMART is the new futuristic move. Shall we begin this move?