Design for better
Climate change, global warming, the ice melter, whatever you call it, our world is changing for the worst right now. The amount of stuff we buy that we don’t need and the even crazier amount that we throw away is completely unsustainable for the limited amount of resources the world has. The worst thing is that we’re completely responsible and we continue to do it regardless of how much we know it’s hurting the planet.
Lets face it, I’m an idealistic generation Y design student looking to change the world, struggling with my own future plans let alone the planets’. I don’t know the first thing about actually implementing change; I scramble with that enough in my purely theoretical design briefs at uni. The one thing that I’m positive about (and that’s hard enough as it is) is that our planet’s about to implode under the weight of the Western society’s hunger for stuff. Not even good stuff, just new stuff, shiner stuff, upgraded stuff. It’s not really our fault; brands and companies give us what we think we want and we consume it like hungry baby birds. But unfortunately for us and the giant space rock that gives us life, those corporations favour the money more than our future. And who can blame them? Sustainable materials are more costly, less reliable and makes your product separate to its standard competitors. Besides, none of us will be alive for the really bad stuff. We might see the extinction of the polar bear (an advertisers favourite sob story) and 2 inches off our coast lines, but for those of us born in the years before to the millennium thats the worst that will happen to us; our grandchildren will reap what we have sewn (the next best tagline after the polar bears). The thing is, for my generation, we haven’t even worked out how we’re gonna make dinner let alone our generational successors.
What frustrates me is the power we have as the most intelligent species on this planet, and we chose to use it for destruction. It’s not like we can feign ignorance anymore; the information and evidence is everywhere, and yet we still throw that bit of plastic packaging in the bin as opposed to the recycling because it’s less effort. We need to appreciate the opportunity we have to make things better; our inventions, technology, connectivity at the touch of a screen… why waste that? Design has the capacity to change everything. Designers can change attitudes and behaviours; it can design things that seem so complex into the convenient bite-sized chunks of action that add up to a dip in the rapidly climbing red line on the chart of Co2 emissions; it can incorporate the incredible advances in technology into everyday life, for the better.