Alison's SUST 401: Surveying Sustainability Reflection


Surveying Sustainability changed my entire world view and I'm not exaggerating.

Growing up, I knew I was abnormally interested in the horrors and challenges of the world. There's something about having knowledge of a problem and wanting to solve it so badly that all I do is obsessive over it in hopes that I'Il find a way to help. Challenges like climate change were something I always found myself thinking about even though I didn't quite understand the nitty gritty details. In my Freshman year of college I somehow stumbled upon the SDM and thought that maybe I'd like it.

Alot of the topics we covered in SUST 401 like the history of sustainability, what sustainability is, and the three pillars, helped me realize that these were ideas that I'd always cared about but never could put a name to it. I just thought I cared too much about things that didnt matter to other people.

I've always been interested in social justice, environmental degradation, food and agriculture but I never knew that I could study it. So I enrolled. The entire semester I was so intrigued by everything we talked about. I was so amazed at how many issues are sustainability challenges like uneven wealth distribution, access to education, and even basic equality made up the greater definition of sustainability. 

At this point, I had been volunteering at the Freedom Cafe for a few months and that experience had already opened my mind to challenges like fair wages, forced labor and consciously sourced goods. I cannot stress how excited I was to learn that all of these things were sustainability challenges and it seemed that eveything I spent my time and energy on were things that I could study (and enjoy it). I think a good way to sum it up would be to say that this class was the first time I felt excited for what I was studying. I enjoyed the work, the topics, the SCIENCE (rare), the people, the converstaions, and -even- the group projects. So naturally, I'm going to invest my future in pursuing it. 

Personal Action Project: Conscious Consuming