My Articles

Living Sustainably: Going Beyond Green Design Trends
By
Leanna Ganci,AKBD

Within the last decade environmental concerns have peaked dramatically and the home
design industry, together with product manufacturers in various industries, have sparked
a new design trend called “Green design”. This design trend generally promotes the use
of consumer products that protect, improve and or save our environment in some form.
Renewable materials such as bamboo flooring promotes the prevention of rampant
deforestation while energy efficient appliances and compact florescent light bulbs assist
in saving on energy costs. While these and other green products focus on improving
our immediate home environments and lives, more emphasis needs to be placed on more
in depth environmental, social and economical concerns that promote a sustainable way
of life.
Surprising to some, sustainability has been around since the mid 1850’s when self
sufficiency was written about in a novel entitled “Life in The Woods” and emphasized
the destruction of nature and consumerist attitudes. Living sustainably addresses the
concerns of whether design can function without pollution and looks at new methods
and resources to reduce our carbon footprint. It provokes us to reevaluate our daily
activities and make choices on a more ecological level. It not only encourages us to
lower our thermostats to save energy but to take a step further, forego our reliance on
fossil fuels and look at alternate energy sources such as solar, biothermal and wind
energy.
Incorporating recycling centers within our homes is a sensible choice, however,
reducing our reliance on non biodegradable products such as plastics can reduce not
only the energy used to create plastic, but reduce the large amounts of it that end up in
our landfills every day. Other easy sustainable habits to adopt range from fuel efficient
driving, one pot cooking and composting. None of these rely on the purchase of a non
renewable resource but are habits that can be easily adopted within our daily lives.
The growing concerns of global warming means we need to change what we have
been doing for so long and reevaluate our production systems. How are we producing
energy? How are we producing food and consumer items? How are we disposing of
them? These are all valid questions that need to be addressed in order to spark sensible
change in a society enslaved by the power of consumerism. Living sustainably requires
us to care enough about future generations and what they will inherit and also paves the
way, by example, for the way our children will inherently live their lives.

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