A Bonus Onus
We designers create objects to be possessed. And it seems that we can forget what that means. A design can be possessed by an individual, as is often the case, but it can also be shared by a society. In fact, that society can collaborate to design their own particular object. This cooperative design yields efficient, functional, and beautiful products.
Sifting Through Waste
Waste conjures images of landfills packed with our obsolete efforts; rubbish bins & sanitation services; dumpsters & burn barrels. But waste is often invisible (or ignored) by the consumer and designer alike. For instance, about 90% of industrial effluent (720 million tons/year) is wastewater: water adulterated with a small percentage of nonaqueous contaminants.
But what if the issue of waste is deeper than the piles of it? Concisely defining waste may help us avoid designing waste.
World Water Day
Today is the UN designated World Day for Water. Fresh water access is shaping up to be the new big threat in our global community. We had a series a while back to get designers up to speed on the situation, and what can be done about it. Check out A Dry Future: Firewood, Irrigation, Back home.
Recycle VS Repurpose VS Downcycle
Sustainability, and environmentalism have become an international movement. The Media have picked up on the fact that average viewers are into this stuff, and consequently, average viewers are starting to take notice. This is huge, and it's a fantastic opportunity to really shake some things up in the world. But, like everything else that gets a lot of media attention, recycling is beginning to be more and more broadly defined, and in many cases, begins to loose its benefit; People love names that simply sum up complex ideas like energy and material conservation, but when those same words are applied to something which does none of these things, it's a problem. And designers are more guilty than most of doing this.
Built For Breakdown
You learned it as far back as 6th grade -- recycling is the coolest. And if you're trying to recycle a soda can, or glass bottle, it couldn't be easier. But pop bottles and plastic grocery bags are quickly being outpaced by consumer electronics and household accessories as the dominant waste stream in the developed world. Since these new waste sources are complex assemblies that do not lend themselves to reuse or recycling, simply planning end-of-life strategies are not enough. We need to develop products which acknowledge that they will someday die.
Waste Not Want Not Baby!
When you get into world resource shortages, and high consumption, the other side of the same discussion is waste. Consumer waste is the inevitable by-product of the current short appliance turnaround trend. But that doesn't mean that designers have no choice but to crank out waste. In order to beat the enemy, you've got to know it, so say hello to garbage.
We All Wanna Change The World...
To celebrate the first anniversary of WorldChanging, our own Dominic Muren got invited to guest blog about our favorite new design effort that's changing the world ofr the better. He picked the amazing efforts of Solarcookers International, an NGO promoting solar based cooking technology by providing education and equipment.Check out the whole story
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Dominic Muren and IDFuel Team