My focus on sustainability increased substantially after learning about design principles that foster environmental protection and buildings systems that are fully sustainable. Sustainability through design takes place when created physical objects adhere to environmental goals that ensure that this creation and use and eventually recycling doesn’t cause negative externalities.


I learned that there are many things that go into thinking about sustainability. The most important for me to learn are:

  • The importance of shifting cultural focus away from use to re-use and stopping the throw away
  • Recognizing the environmental harm caused by humans, specifically global warming, and have honest discussions about ways we can change systems to return to a more sustainable state
  • That there are communities that are farther along in implementing sustainable design like Copenhagen and bicycling. We should look to mimic the successes of other communities
  • Design has a direct impact on communities: good design principle in community planning can have positive influence on residents
  • There are many facets to sustainable design including product design, city planning, architecture, public policy, economics

A significant result of learning more about sustainable design is the realization of how important these principles are and the ability to spot sustainability more easy. Sustainable design is increasingly important and exciting field of design, one that I had not considered.

Learning about sustainability opened my  eyes to the impacts of poor design decisions. The focus on climate change and research helped me see the significant impacts already felt by my community in Staten Island. Climate change caused significant loss: human and property. This loss saddens me and is further amplified by the fact that many in my community refuse to understand the main driver for these issues. I am far more active in expressing my views and teaching the truth than in the past – I feel confident in understanding the issues and talking about them.

I have a strong desire to be part of a a solution. I want to help my community. I want to design for the uplifting and benefit of others. I want to be a motivation force for change. I want to make personal decisions that I know are sustainable and are creating negative externalities. I want to use an increase in passion for sustainable design to influence change to make the world a better place for my children.

Graphic Source:

Living Space Architects. “Sustainable Design.” http://www.livingspacearchitects.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Sustainable-Design-picture.jpg



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