Last year I went to see Michael Braungart, author of Cradle to Cradle, speak at Voices from the Edge. Not only is Braungart a delightful speaker, his ideas on our approach to production and consumption, I think, are inspiring and refreshing (see the post). In November Braungart is running a workshop - 'an opportunity to learn how to incorporate Cradle to Cradle into your business process and product design and to become part of the community that is creating the next industrial revolution.' The flyer with all details is here.
Such smart cards
We've talked about carbon credit cards before but Design Stream have come up with an Emmissary Credit Card concept that is aimed at helping consumers make ethical consumption choices on the spot at the point of purchase, with messages about their consumption choices actually displayed on the card itself. It relies on the next generation of chip and screen technologies of course, but keep an eye out for your Ethics Card to help you spend wisely in the future.
John Thackara @ the RSA
When John Thackara joined us for the first in RED's Towards a New Aesthetic seminar series we were inundated with interest and ended up running two sessions to meet demand. I thought then I'd just give a heads up that John will be giving a lecture at the RSA on Monday 12 December at 6pm - Solidarity Economics and design: life after consumerism. Contact the RSA for details and to register.
2People for sustainable behaviour
2People is a new organisation that is also looking at the "making behaviour change" agenda with sustainability at heart. There are links between our energy work and their ideas for online tools to make information about our impacts visible and meaningful, empower people to manage their own impact, and to help people collaborate. They are also creating Reef, a new kind of web application that provides a citizen's dashboard for the 21st century. Have a look at the site for more information on what they're doing and how to join.
idFX Magazine featured and article in the October edition regarding the Sustainable Design Forum. It's great that this is getting coverage and to update, the revised Scoping Report will be available in the next week. I am aware that people did have trouble downloading the original draft report form the rooster link on this blog. If anyone would like a pdf emailed do email Jude. But reading this idFX article I am moved to sigh. The attitude and language of the sustainability argument is all so caught up in using less, consuming less, wasting less, cutting back, restricting this and that and stopping all of the other. For anyone who is interested in a whole new dialogue of affirmative action go listen to Michael Braungart at the RSA on Wednedsay 9th November. I have heard him speak before and no doubt many will have read Cradle to Cradle. To really bring back the spring in your sustainability step and a sense of the wonders of possibility his lectures come highly recommended. Details on the RSA website.
From Richard Poynton...
I'm Richard Poynton of Profit & Planet in Weybridge, Surrey. I'm an industrial biologist and Chartered Environmentalist, working in food and consumer goods.
My interest is in ways of redesigning our provision of food and consumer goods and services, to meet the needs of "developed" world consumers, within the capabilities of our one planet's resources and regenerative systems. For me this means redesigning our underlying systems of customer value provision, not just the products and services.
Yesterday's seminar Futureproofing Business, Sustainability & Success, was very interesting. Robin Murray invited me to set out briefly on the "blog", the points which I made orally from the floor, which I do as follows:
100 ideas for sustainable design workshop review from o2
Review: the '100 Ideas to Boost Sustainable Design in the UK' event catalysed by o2 UK and organised by Jean-Paul Frazer at the Design Council on Wednesday night (17/08) has produced the beginnings of a very promising submission to the Sustainable Design Forum steering committee. It was great to see so many o2 UK'ers members in one room working together.
The event was kicked off with a brief intro from JP and Neil Tierney and Chris Sherwin from Forum for the Future gave an insightful snapshot of current steering group progress. The main brainstorm involved getting everyones thoughts onto stickies and onto the wall. Then some re-organisation was followed by everyone voting for their favorite ideas. The voting produced a roughly ranked series of approximately 100 ideas. The winning idea was that the Design Council should ensure the 2012 Olympics are the 'Sustainable Olympics', thus creating work for sustainable designers.
JP, Neil and Tom are now going to work on progressing and developing the ideas into a more concrete submission to the steering group. The main value of the event however was more momentum which is what is required right now. Thanks again to all who came along to lend their support!
o2 calls for ideas - workshop 17th August
o2 UK in collaboration with [Re]design, WestFocus, SDN and others is compiling a list of '100 ideas to create demand for sustainable design in the UK.' The ideas will be presented to the Sustainable Design Steering Group by 31st August 2005 in time for inclusion in the proposal to ministers at the Sustainable Design Forum scoping meeting in October.
The process of generating and ranking the ideas will take place on the 17th August at 17.30 - 20.30 at the Design Council (www.design-council.org.uk). Opportunities to make a real change like this don't come around often. This is a very important event and all are welcome for an evening of inspirational direct action!
If you can't come in person please don't despair - we still need & value your input. We will be obtaining a phone number for you to ring in your ideas throughout the event. We will also give you directions to a blog that we'll use to collect ideas. Details to follow.
o2 UK member John-Paul Frazer is co-coordinating the event and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let JP know if you will be coming to the Design Council so he can organize logistics in good time.
The report can be downloaded here - look for the rooster - and you can also add your ideas there as comment or on the o2UK website
Design & Sustainability Scoping Report
The new UK Sustainable Development Strategy (March 2005) lays emphasis on the importance of eco-design for sustainability to force the pace of improvements in product performance and stimulate real step changes. The Government proposes to bring together expertise through a new Sustainable Design Forum to champion and educate in eco-design, and promote best practice tools and approaches which can be adopted by designers.
RED has been working closely with the DTI, DEFRA, RSA, DBA and Forum for the Future, and has commissioned a Design & Sustainability scoping report which will be presented to the Forum. Yesterday we hosted a working session to discuss the conclusions and recommendations of the report, and in particular to explore the following questions:
How to create demand for sustainable design? and
How to take advantage of the business opportunities from sustainable development?
We'd like to treat the report as an 'open source' document. Please feel free to comment or contribute further ideas.
Sponge competition for green graphic designers
Sponge is a network of open-minded individuals who share a particular interest in sustainable development. These individuals generally work in, or are associated with the development of our built environment; from bricks and mortar through design, engineering and planning to communities and regeneration. On the sponge newsletter today I noticed a competition for 'budding creative sustainability types' - Sponge are looking for someone to create postcards to communicate who they are and what they do - check the sponge website for details if you're interested.
London Remade runs: the Enviro-Entrepreneur Summer School
The Enviro-Entrepreneur School aims to encourage aspiring entrepreneurs who have a passion for recycling and a belief in the importance of environmental technologies. The Enviro-Entrepreneur School is open to all aspiring entrepreneurs who have a great idea for a sustainable business or want to create an exciting recyclable and recycled content product. It is open to all sectors and is particularly suited to :
Arts, Engineering and Creative Industry graduates and alumni who want to make or design something using recycled and recyclable materials. And business specialists who want to develop a sustainable business.
The school will support their entry into the marketplace by taking candidates through an intense three-day programme delivered by seasoned entrepreneurs and environmentalists.
Cradle to Cradle - designing for fun?
Many of you will have read Michael Braungart's notoriously heavy book Cradle to Cradle. Last night Michael spoke at Voices from the Edge on his ideas around materials and products and the need for a new way of thinking about our place within the nutrient cycles of the planet. Braungart tells a good story. His tirade against toxic toys and poisonous products is peppered with humour and absurdly funny but desperately serious commentary on our chemical folly. The key to his arguement is sound - if we are to thrive we must stop thinking of ways to be less bad and start thinking of ways to be good. We must feed the systems that feed us. He argues that to be merely 'sustainable' is not aspirational. That (eco) efficiency is not the right objective (who after all wants to have an 'efficient' dinner or enjoy 'efficient' sex? there is no joy in 'efficiency'). We need to eliminate waste as a concept and we must find ways to be truly proud of what we do. How much more fun can we have designing, making and using products that can be thrown away to feed the soil and fertilize the garden?
How Piecemeal Design Approaches Hurt Us
An article from Metropolis......
The obvious question to ask is: "Why are industrial designers and the manufacturers they work for not designing computers that produce less heat?" This question has overtaken my brain; it now has such urgency for me that I am not even trying to tackle such problems as the waste produced by the computer industry--and its designers. I won't even mention the heavy metals and plastics that end up in some recycling dump in China and in our water supply. I'm now focused on the heat produced by computers. And so I ask: Is it possible that industrial designers are unaware of the unintended consequences of their work even after they've had time to assess their designs?
Motivation for greener behaviour
The National Concumer Council's latest idea in the consumer cause:
a recycling lottery.....
In Norway, a recycling lottery has more than doubled the number of people recycling drink cartons from just 30 per cent to 70 per cent of the population.
All you do is squash your carton, write your name and number on it and pop it into the recycling bin for entry into the prize draw. Or we could use the idea to help tackle Britain's battery mountain. Batteries are toxic and leach chemicals when thrown away, but at present we only recycle one in every twenty five batteries we use.
It was estimated in the research that consumers face up to 500 different pieces of advice on what they should do to be greener. So, instead of the usual penalties and finger-waving, perhaps it is time to engage people in a positive way!