Blog 3

My problem that I have been studying over is the use of animal cruelty in the fashion industry. I learned that millions of animals are harmed every year for their fur, skin and scales. Animals are poisoned, suffocated and electrocuted for their fur and are often skinned alive. I learned of alternative ways to help protect the animals but using synthetic materials. We can help save the animals by using vegan leathers or faux fur. The more sustainable way to help save animals is to buy secondhand furs and leathers. Another way is to use organic cotton in some materials to create clothing.

During the reading about poverty in the environment, I learned that poverty can cause environmental degradation. The poor are forced to live in conditions that are unsustainable. In the Ted talk with Leyla Acaroglu I learned that both paper and plastic are both bad for the environment. 40% of food is wasted in the US. Biophilia is the love of life or living systems. It’s the urge to affiliate with other forms of life. Biophilia is compared to phobia and it is the love for natural life and it helps sustain life.

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The Peak of My Sustainability Journey

The Ted Talk given by Leyla allowed me to put in perspective how much waste plays a key role on our everyday lives.  Every single act a human being makes affects the environment we live in in one way or another.  When she goes on to explain her hatred for refrigerators, I find  it very intriguing, because I have never looked at a refrigerator and thought of the things that went through her mind.  It’s a given that we as humans waste so much food each and every day and don’t even take into consideration how bad we our harming our environment.  But do we ever stop to think about how refrigerators actually are helping us to have the ability to do such a thing.  I learned through this talk that refrigerators are growing larger and larger in size and 50% of the food in them end up being wasted in the long run.  Its all about designing the product to solve the problem, and we as consumers must design solutions in order to control and put a hand on the never ending issue concerning waste.  For example, a good design to control waste and energy would be the Tesla brand of cars and a bad example would be paper and plastic bags.  We have to construct more and more ideas like Tesla to end up with the outcome we are truly looking for in our world today. 

            When reading about merchandising and how its emerging into becoming more personable with suppliers and retail buyers, I became fascinated.  The fact being that merchandising is my major, I believe it is very important to learn first hand about what we must think about and practice before going into our particular field.  This emerging industry relates back to Leyla’s talk concerning the use of consumption getting out of hand and finding ways to improve its trajectory.  It is an extremely important concept to build and maintain a trusted relationship with a supplier in the sense that, without doing so, how are we suppose to know every aspect about the product we are getting? 

            I want to take the time to conclude with, biophilia is, in my opinion, the way and almost the solution to allow us to be become fully connected with nature as we once were.  The technical meaning of biophilia is “love of life”.  The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Do my actions fully represent biophilia and am I doing all I can do to sustain natural life?”.  The human race is evolving into a problematic society, by using up all of the worlds resources and not fully being connected with nature in its entirety.  Although, when I truly sit down and think about the human race and how we’re harming the planet, I remember something I believe we all tend to forget along the way.  Lets go back all the way to the story of Adam and Eve.  They were given any and everything they could possible want or need, and what did they do, they took advantage of their perfect world in nature and ruined it for the rest of eternity.  The two of them didn’t intend to cause harm, yet they did by being disobedient.  This is incredibly symbolic to me, in the sense that no matter how much we try to ‘love life’ or ‘reconnect with nature’, our race has shown we always fail and are not made do these things in full.  There is a positive side to this tragedy.  By allowing ourselves to fully experience biophilia and continue to create many more aspects of biophilic design, we might possibly change our name and past for the better.  It starts with just one person to change the world and that could be any of us.

            Every aspect of this course I’ve learned thus far has contributed to my topic for activity 3 over textile waste in the fashion industry and fast fashion.  I find it very intriguing what I continue to learn through researching this topic and am becoming much more aware of how it negatively affects our environment as a whole.  I am learning the many characteristics involved with this issue and how fast fashion is contributing greatly to the decline of our world in the since of not recycling or re-using articles of clothing.  There have been many researchers who are attempting to find various solutions in order to fix this problem the best way they know how.  The main problem I see with their ideas for solutions is the fact they can’t come up with one single solution that applies to each individual around the world.  All the ideas are great and have the potential to be successful, but we need to think of people in every country and the resources available to them.  This is, in my opinion, the upmost reason behind textile waste and fast fashion ultimately being deemed a ‘wicked problem’. 

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Blog #3

For Activity 3 I chose the wicked problem of contamination in water from dyeing textiles. I learned that this is one of the most hazardous ways of polluting water. The waste water that flows in the drains corrodes and damages the sewage pipes. Flowing in the drains and rivers it effects the quality of drinking water in hand pumps making it unfit for human consumption. It also leads to leakage in drains increasing their maintenance cost. Such polluted water can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. Textile effluent is a cause of signifiant amount of environmental degradation and human illness. Chemicals evaporate into the air we breathe or are absorbed through our skin and show up as allergic reactions and may cause harm to children even before birth.

In the TED talk Leyla aims to make people think about how the choices they make on a daily basis affect the environment. She also explained her story in a fun way. She engaged peoples attention with her team from a design at Eco Innovators to get individuals and companies looking at the full life cycle of products in order to make the kind of savy decisions that can actually affect change. She displayed her design of a card game that helps people think about how to approach sustainability from a systems thinking view. The game features three types of cards, “purple” (Design Problems) cards, which highlights products that lead to strain on Earth; “turquoise” (Design Strategy) cards, which offers approaches to rethinking them; and “green” (Design Inspiration) cards, which offers solutions that others have tried with great results to further open up brainstorming.

Biophilia is the love of life or living systems and the urge to affiliate with other forms of life. This shares the need to (re)connect people with nature and this helps their health and well being. The Biophilia hypothesis is the instinctive bond correlating to humans and living systems. The TED 10 consists of 10 steps that help with sustainability. These 10 topics include, Design to min. waste, Design for cycle ability, Design to reduce chemical impacts, Design to reduce energy and water use, Design that explores clean/ better technologies, Design that looks at models from nature and history, Design for ethical production, Design to reduce the need to consume, Design to dematerialize and develop systems and services and lastly Design activism.

Merchandising is the practice that contributes to sales of products to a retail consumer and not just a physical store. With this you have to be able to think about satisfy increasing stakeholder demands, reducing risks, identifying new opportunities and ensuring supply resiliency for the long term. A traditional retailer – supplier relationship is more of an arms length transaction between the retail buyer and supplier unlike an emerging retailer – supplier relationship where its more of building and maintaining trusted relationships. The value of retail merchandising reduces greenhouse gas emissions, destruction of forests, raising animals, biodiversity loss, human capital and chemical exposure.

In readings over Poverty I was asked to look in depth for the YES view, I found that poverty is responsible for global environmental degradation. It was interesting reading about the two views this Professor had over the relationship between environmental quality and poverty within the wider context of the environmental development system. He examines first that poverty is a vector or agent of environmental degradation and the second that poverty causes a deepened poverty. He concluded that the two added together in a dynamic setting yield the vicious downward spiral.

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My Sustainability Journey pt 3

From the beginning of this class till now, I am continually learning about sustainability and the issue with the fashion industry’s copious amount of waste. I am constantly shocked by how much of a negative impact our industry has on the environment. Something I came across that shocked me the most was that Americans will toss out 81 pounds of clothing this year, and companies will toss 26 BILLION pounds of textiles and clothes into landfills this year. The fact that these numbers are in the millions and billions is something that hurts my heart. All of these items can be revamped and up or down-cycled to recreate something new and decrease our footprint. I have learned that there are companies out there really trying to make an impact. For example, Levi’s has created processes which are reducing water up to 80%. Companies like these are really making an effort to stop this issue from getting worse. I really hope companies take part in this and it turns into a chain reaction. If we have that chain reaction then we can change the future of the earth and prevent our footprint from growing more than it already has. Being a merchandising major and reading about these issues, I am feeling inspired. It makes me want to get up and make a change. I know all it takes is one person, and I am definitely intrigued by sustainability in merchandising and apparel production. I think this influence has come from this class. Before this class I did not know that this was such an issue, and every class my knowledge has just grow deeper. We have learned so much about our footprint, but also about what we can do to make a change, and I think it is all very interesting.

The TED talk we watched last week was very interesting. The debate on paper verses plastic was very intriguing, I was shocked that plastic was better than paper. Paper is significantly bulkier, and takes about 40 years to biodegrade. Prior to watching that video I had the pre-conception that paper was better. I think I was fooled by the fact that paper comes from trees so I just thought it would biodegrade really fast, but my thoughts were quite off, but in the end bringing your own bags to the grocery store is the best option. I completely agreed with the talk when they said as humans we need to learn how to do more with less. I think often times we think we always need more, more, more, but in reality if we reuse what is already here and use less we are way better off. This TED talk made me more aware of the environment and our landfills. I had no idea landfills didn’t have oxygen. Overall it was very informative and interesting and beneficial for my sustainability journey.

It is very sad to think about, but is true, poverty is a root cause in environmental issues. The poor are forced to live with our waste which creates environmental issues. They need to be taught how to live more sustainable to help themselves and their communities. It is so sad because we are the cause for their issues because we put our waste in their homes and force them to live with it. We need policies that prevent this from happening so that these environmental issues can be reduced and the poor environments can grow to be better.

Biophilia is the love of life and the living world; the affinity of human beings for other life forms. This mind set increases sustainability and performance. It is this mindset that we are close and have connections with nature and other forms of life. This allows us to be close with worldly functions and how nature reacts. This mind set is what is allowing scientists to look into spiders and how they make their webs, and other earthly processes to implement it in industrial processes. Biophilia will increase sustainability and our relationship with nature. I find this topic so interesting, I think if we think more like the world then we will be one with it, verses against it.

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Unjust Factory Practices & Fast Fashion

Recently, I decided to research about the unjust practices that take place inside of factories across the world. Factory employees are forced to work under conditions that may cause health conditions and or put their lives at risk. I am currently working on researching sources for my paper and trying to figure out new ways to help end this problem.

Just the other day I read that some believe that there is a direct connection between poverty and environmental degradation. The author of this article believes that because people in poverty have lower incomes, that they have to perform unsustainable practices just to survive. Some of these practices include over farming lands that are most times not even meant for farming and destroying forests in their areas just to gain profit off of the timber that the trees produce. Over farming lands is a practice that has taken place in the past and present and will eventually lead to soil erosion. Soil erosion was also the cause of the Dust Bowl catastrophe that took place in Oklahoma and other parts of the Midwest during the 1930’s. That was an awful event and I believe like the author of this article that we must teach people who are living in poverty more sustainable practices so they can perform them themselves and keep the ecosystems that they are living in healthy.

Building on the topic of relying on more sustainable practices, recently in lecture we watched a TED Talk by a woman named Leyla who had a few ideas on how to live sustainably. She believes that we must as humans learn to do more with less. This means we must begin learning to expand the uses of resources without actually creating more of a mess for ourselves and the environments that we live in. She preaches about life cycle thinking, which is knowing that every single thing that we do in our lives has an effect on the environment, whether that be positive or negative. I believe, like Leyla, that we must come up with new creative ideas in order to save our ecosystem.

Lately, the new trend within the apparel merchandising industry is fast fashion. Fast fashion is a practice that involves companies creating new trends so fast that consumers have limited time to even react to the new emerging trends. This means that consumers are constantly shopping ad filling up their closets with new clothes and throwing out the old. The old clothes often times find their way to landfills and that creates a bigger problem. I believe that in order to end fast fashion, we must begin reusing the clothes we already have. One way I do this is up cycling clothes I currently have by adding embellishments or graphics to them. I think if more consumers tried this practice they would find a new life for their old garments and help consume less clothing that they do not need.

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Takeaways​ of poverty​

The problem I have decided I would like to explore is the wicked problem of poverty. There are many different solutions to this issue because there are many different subcategories that come with it. Although, there are a few solutions that could potentially help the overall issue of poverty. Creating more job and raising wages is one way of decreasing the issue of poverty. In some areas, it is very difficult to find a job opportunity which leads many people to a life of poverty. If they are able to find a job, the pay might not be enough to support their family. Another solution would be gender equality. In some countries, women don’t have the right to education. When women have the correct education, they are able to go out and get jobs for themselves to support their family.

Poverty remains the root cause of several environmental issues. They need to be taught how to use more sustainable practices to better themselves and the community around them. Using unsustainable practices make them run out of resources much quicker, forcing them to relocated to an area with more resources. This issue has caused deforestation, poor soil, and lack of food. Some people believe that globalization can improve the wealth of developing countries. But this could also produce environmental impacts like pollution. Another idea is that they need to create an effective public policy to increase environmental quality in developing countries.

Lely Acarogula’s Ted talk discussed how we can be more sustainable. One idea is to use paper bags over plastics because they are biodegradable and recyclable. She discussed being more mindful of the products we consume and produce. We should focus on having more biodegradable products, which are products that degrade naturally. This will stop the pollution in the air from burning or from factories. We also need to reduce the amount of waste we are producing. Stats say that 40% of the food in our refrigerator is wasted, which is a major problem once you think about all the steps it took to make that food that is now in your trashcan. Another issue we ar3e facing is a waste of energy. To become a more sustainable society we need to be more mindful of the energy we are using and come up with simple ways to reduce it. In the U.K, using a kettle is a popular item. Although, many people overfill their kettle which makes it use more energy to heat up. The amount of energy it takes to heat up an overfilled tea kettle is the same amount of energy the U.K needs to light up all the streets for a night. We need to look at designing more sustainable appliances so we don’t continue to waste precious resources.

Ted 10 explains many different ways that we can be more sustainable. 65% of clothing items go to waste when they could be recycled and used for other items. We need to find ways of making clothes more sustainable while also making them out of fibers that don’t require an excessive amount of water. Cotton uses tons of water for crops, so switches to a fiber that uses much less are much more sustainable. Another way to be more sustainable with clothing is by using heat to dye clothes instead of using water. We also need to become more cost efficient when it comes to clothing items. Industries are now beginning to use finishings to reduce the cost of items. Another more efficient way of creating clothing is using the wood pulp in a closed system. All of these ideas are very sustainable ways of saving our environment one step at a time.

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Blog 3

While working on activity 3 I have learned that the textile industry is one of the leading industries in producing waste.  There are many companies within the industry that are trying to change their ways and become more sustainable.  One thing I know I could do better was recycle my old clothes.  There are many times I have just thrown my old clothes away, when I could have taken them to recycling centers to lengthen their life cycle.  When reading the taking sides articles I had no idea how much the wealthier, more developed countries hurt the poor.  The mass population growth and economic growth produces a negative downward spiral on the poor.  The western countries use smaller, developing countries as a source for waste disposal. The United States ships waste overseas for “recycling,” but this only creates more health and environmental issues in those countries.  These developing countries will never be able to recover and make money if bigger countries continue take advantage of small, poor countries.  These small, poor countries often have people living off one to two dollars per day, so when sickness hits these countries, they cannot afford to receive healthcare.  Social groups and wealthy countries have all the power in these situations, so they need change their ways to help the Earth.  What will we do to contribute to a better environment, country, and world? 

Most people think picking a paper shopping bag vs. a plastic shopping it is better for the environment.  Come to find out, this is not true.  When making the paper bags, the paper has to come to from somewhere, and from somewhere I mean trees.  We have to cut down many trees to make the paper bags we think are better for Earth. Everything goes through a life cycle, so if we could make products that have an endless life cycle, we could help like on Earth so much.  When we send things that could be recycled to landfills vs. back into nature, we are contributing to climate change.  I also thought it was very interesting how the crisper in refrigerators are not designed to actually keeps things crisp. Who would have thought this?  We are a country are wasting 40% of food produced annually, and big kettles are wasting tons of energy.  We as consumers are hurting the environment in ways we did not even know, all because we do not pay attention to all the facts.  Changing the little things we do will make a great impact on out environment.  

When we are designing new products or trying to redesign products, we need to keep biophilia in mind.  We always need to love the life of the living systems that have given us the materials to make products.  Having love for nature when making products will help us create more sustainable items. My favorite TED 10 is designing to minimize waste.  If we continue to create items that better the environment it will grow bigger and bigger. People love to follow trends, so if everyone keeps the trend of minimizing waste, then people will continue to follow.  

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