Week 4

Give three examples of how you can use nature as a model / mentor / measure for your own designs (and life).
1. Becoming a better listener: When forming relationships with those around me, it is important to know how to listen. This is also true for my work as a documentarian. From nature, we can learn to listen and learn to unconventional knowledge. Trees, for example, have complex systems of communication. They transfer information through chemical signals to warn of fires and blights. They also transfer nutrients through roots underground. Understanding alternative ways of communication is important to my work and life. By listening to nature, we can learn a lot more than we think.

2. Understanding connections in order to develop synthesis skills: In my life and work, synthesis has been very important. I’m drawn to unusual connections and excited by unexpected similarities. In nature, everything is interconnected. By studying and understanding the less obvious relationships in nature, I can train my mind to be more attuned to connections in research.

3. Nature as a superior being: As a human race, we generally feel that we are the most intelligent beings on Earth. However, nature has been solving our problems for thousands of years. Acknowledging nature as knowing more than we do can open us up to new ways of problem solving and development. Personally, a heightened awareness of nature as “knowing best” can humble me and open my mind to accepting different world views and ways of thinking.

Pick one of Life’s Principles. Explain how you might apply it to your work and life (could be unrelated to your GSIF projects).

Leverage Interdependence: The Leveraging Interdependence principle is relevant to both my project and my personal life. In reaching my personal goals, having a support system of people to work alongside with is very helpful. In my research team right now, we help motivate each other to do well. In my project, empowering women works the same way. When women start to empower each other through example, the effect can snowball and result in a larger social change.

How do you envision integrating the Cradle to Cradle Design concept into your project (and life)? Give one compelling example.

There is a strong connection between women’s health and environmental health. We feminize the environment through terms such as “Mother Earth” because both human and planetary mothers provide life and sustenance. My project has the opportunity to create cultural change and emphasize the importance of maternal health. Because abuse of land and abuse of women are paralleled, my project can have an impact on mindset for both mother figures. The cradle to cradle design concept takes into account the entire life cycle of the product and emphasizes renewability. I believe that through empowering women and changing the mindset around women’s health, we can start a cycle of improving the lives of mothers (both human and natural).

Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a completely alien concept to you.

1. I became close friends with a student from India, who told me he wanted to have an arranged marriage. This was not a new concept to me, but I never knew that it was desirable. He explained his reasons and it forced me to view love and marriage in a different way. I ‘m thankful for opportunities like this that make me challenge my beliefs and make me question whether my beliefs are “best.”

2. A friend of mine sees no problem with a world where every living thing is engineered by humans. For me, biodiversity is incredibly important. Hearing her perspective didn’t change my mind on the importance of diversity of life and species, but imagining other perspectives was interesting. What I previously viewed as “unnatural” she showed me was actually natural, for humans are nature too – a fact that we often forget as a result of the increasing divide between human and nonhuman nature.

3. My sister’s boyfriend’s family opens all of their Christmas presents the day before Christmas. It was alien to him that we opened them on Christmas and alien to us that he didn’t. This shows how stuck we get to our traditions.

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