Sustainability as Keepsakes

Sustainability as Keepsakes

by J.J. Fellows

Promoting sustainability by passing down furniture

A while back I wrote an article on how to promote sustainability in our consumer practices (to read that article, go here). I wrote that article while sitting at my grandmother's desk, one of many things in my house that belonged to someone else before it belonged to me. At first, the reason for the abundance of hand-me-down furniture that peppers my house was simple: I was a poor student. But over time, these hand-me-downs served as anchors to my family. They provided me with ways to revisit those I had lost. They allowed me to keep those I'd left behind as I moved across the country in my heart. In short, these pieces of furniture became more than simply places to sit, sleep, or work. They became keepsakes.

In conducting the research for my sustainability article, I realized that reusing old furniture and consuming less can be a way to promote sustainability. Less consumption means less production which, in turn, results in less harvesting of raw material and burning of fossil fuels. It also results in less waste in landfills. But I admit that when I look around my home, I did not  reuse these pieces of furniture with any goal of sustainability in mind. I kept them because of what they do for me. These old pieces of furniture connect me to my roots, and make my house feel like a home.

Of course, this is not the only—or even most popular—way to design a home's interior, and it's entirely subjective. If you don't know the story of my grandma's desk, my father's wooden chest, or my neighbor's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainabilityrocking chair, then you will likely not feel anchored and connected in the way I do. You may not find my home to be aesthetically pleasing at all. So, I wondered, how does my home compare to modernist aesthetic values? How does it stack up against one of the best examples of modernist interior design, the Glass House? Was I sacrificing beauty for memories? And, if so, was the cost worth it? Once again, I did some research. To read more about Modern Aesthetics and my grandma's hand-me-down desk, follow the link for A Discussion of Beauty and Comfort.

 

Sustainability as Keepsakes

Robin Wade