Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

The Designers Accord Sustainability in 7 video series delivers a daily dose of design inspiration by today's leading sustainability experts. Join in the conversation as they share 7 things every designer should consider when integrating sustainability into design practice.

CPS Day this year is focusing on the theme of Sustainability, and I thought it would be interesting to hear from designers--what does sustainability mean to them? 

Pick a couple of videos to watch. Do the designers agree? How similar or different are their ideas?

25 comments:

Alyssa said...

I watched Andrew Dent’s video on materials, Alissa Walker’s video on “Walking the Walk,” and Dawn Danby’s video on life-cycle thinking. While each addressed different approaches to sustainability, they all emphasized that we as humans should be more aware of our environment and what we are putting into it. Andrew Dent saw sustainability as “a journey,” Alissa Walker referred to the word “sustainability” as too broad of a term, and Dawn Danby looked at sustainability in the most general terms but with specific goals. Although these three ideas are different, I think they can coexist to define sustainability. All three point toward taking initiative and carrying out specific actions that will allow us to maintain the “sustainability” of our planet.

per4annaick said...

Wendy Jedlicka discusses what sustainability means on a personal level: how an individual can live a “sustainable” life and help the world. She encourages people to get angry about how wasteful humans are, be willing to do something, learn as much as they can, and get involved. Hunter Lovins, President of Natural Capitalism Solutions, points out why sustainability is good for business. These reasons include: Leading businesses that are “sustainable” and environmentally friendly have a 25% higher stock value, and using sources productively and not wasting is profitable. Lovins discusses sustainability as a method for businesses to help out the environmental movement. Adam Werbach focuses on sustainability through culture: the way humans transmit information socially. He discusses the often forgotten “cultural strain” of sustainability and encourages people to adopt sustainability into their lifestyle. Although these designers have different methods and ways of approaching and thinking about sustainability, they all strongly encourage everyone to get involved in order to help the planet. All of these experts are trying hard to promote integration of sustainability into design practice.

per3brisa said...

Wendy Jedlicka's tips for being more sustainable emphasize the importance of caring for the planet in the little things we do, and leaving our environment cleaner than we found it. She mentions the unfairness of the situation that generations before us left us with many environmental issues to resolve, however, instead of succumbing to anger and fear for our predicament, she encourages taking action right away, even if on a very personal and maybe small-scale level, in order to work towards having a sustainable environment.
Chris Hacker discussed how his company, Johnson & Johnson, tries to design their products to have the least possible amount of waste from unnecessary packaging. Though this is on a larger scale than what Wendy Jedlicka was proposing, the two speakers share the belief that sustainability must come from the individual work of those who hope to see changes come about on our planet as a whole.

per.3Aaron said...

On the topic of sustainability, the speakers hold similar opinions. The problems our Earth is facing are clear and present-shortage of natural resources, loss of species diversity, climatic changes etc. All these problems call for action plan today in order to have a bright future. In designing a new product, attention should be paid to the whole cycle of manufacturing from raw materials to final products and finally to disposal of waste. Recyclable materials should be used whenever possible and the products should be made durable and long-lasting. In addition, the products designed should have a utility and a purpose providing a service to the population. There should be an increase in public awareness in the whole process. The speakers also believe that there is not necessarily a conflict between what makes sense and what makes profit. In other words, the business could be eco-friendly without sacrificing profits. The message from all the speakers is that we have to act now.

Liana4th said...

I watched Alissa Walker's video on "walking the walk" and wendy Jedlicka's video on what sustainability can mean personally and how someone can live a sustainable life. They are very similar concepts that work together very well. Walking the walk is all about being more aware of our environment and what we can do to be more aware of what we are putting into it.
Jedlicka's video went a step further, telling people to get angry about how wasteful people can be. If we learn as much as we can and get involved we can become more sustainable.

Daniel said...

- Dan Cohen period 4

I watched Lisa Gansky's video on environmental business practices. She is also the author of The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing. I also watched John Peterson's video on Pro Bono Design. Pro Bono means for the public good.
Lisa's video mostly focuses on sustainability through re-useable or sharable goods and business practices. I think her ideas are interesting because we are a wasteful society. If we were more efficient with the way that we pollute or throw away trash the environmental problem with the world would be much less of a big deal.
The other video that I watched was John Peterson's video on Pro Bono design. He is an architect and talks about 7 things (with terrible places that represent numbers) that you can do to improve the public good. His 7 things were: 1) To support a non profit in need of services that you like
2) Find a local non profit
3) Understand why (or if) you want to take on your own project
4) If you want to do something good through business, ratify your goals in a contract
5) Think strategically about helping a non profit
6) Do not be afraid to mix business and philanthropic goals
7) Set your expectations high

- Thanks

Leah said...

I agree that finding a non-profit organization that you feel strongly about is very important. I watched the video of John Peterson and I found what he said very interesting. I also agree with what he said about working in your community and doing what you can to help maintain the growth. I also think it is important to understand why you are doing a project. If your heart isn't in it I don't think it is actually worth doing. I find it really interesting that high schools require community service because it just forces kids to do things that they don't understand and don't care about. Having a goal is also very important. I thin k that if you set out a goal to reach, it will be easier to be motivated. I am not sure whether I agree with what he said about having a contract. I think it would be valuable in some cases, but not in others. I think that having a strategy is also important.

per3Dorothy said...

I watched Wendy Jedlicka’s video regarding how one can change the world, Chris Hacker’s video on designing and buying products in a sustainable way, and Alissa Walker’s video on “Walking the walk” to an environmentally friendly world. Although all of the videos were focused on the topic of the environment and how to better it, each person spoke about slightly different subtopics. Wendy Jedlicka talked a lot about what we can do as individuals to better the environment. She said to “make [one’s efforts] personal.” Doing so will create more interest in the broad topic of helping the earth. She also said to “get pissed off.” This idea goes along with the previous, in that it emphasizes the importance of making the health of the world an issue we are invested in on a personal level. She said to get mad at the generation before us for leaving us with such a troubled habitat. Chris Hacker focused on how to make sustainability part of the designer’s process. He listed seven questions that designers should focus on when buying material or making their products. I think that the big themes that were present throughout his video included minimizing the amount of new materials used when making a product and designing one’s product while keeping in mind the effects it will have on the environment. Lastly, Alissa Walker mentioned some simple ways to help improve the state of the environment. Her biggest example was to simply walk in order to better the environment. She also said that “fun is a great motivator” when trying to change the way you live.

per3katrina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
per3katrina said...

I watched Wendy Jedlicka's video, where she discussed little things we can do to better our environment as it is now - even though generations before us were the ones that brought it to this state, and leaving our environment cleaner than we found it. Even though it wasn't necessarily our faults, every little thing we can do will help alleviate the repercussions of the status quo. In Lisa Gansky's video, there is a focus on sustainability through business practices and re-useable/sharable goods. She definitely brings up a good point, because aside from the little personal things we can do to be more environmentally friendly, it is crucial to recognize that our society as a whole can be a lot less wasteful, and that can be monumentally beneficial.
Chris Hacker's video also focused on bigger scale change rather than personal tips, saying that sustainability should be a priority for the design of products. He had seven questions that the designers of products should consider, the general point being that designers should turn to using reused materials (rather than new ones), and that they should be wary of the effect their products will have on the environment. So, like Lisa Gansky, Hacker wants our general society to become more sustainable through products and business and large scale awareness.

Kevin said...

The design principles of Gil Friend and Dara O’Rourke to create a sustainable product are very much alike. Gil Friend is the CEO of Natural Logic, which advises governments and companies on profitable strategies regarding sustainability. O’Rourke is a UC Berkeley professor and founder of GoodGuide.com, a site that rates consumer products based on their environmental impact. O’Rourke emphasizes the need to completely think out each step of product design, from the extraction of raw materials to product disposal. This idea is in line with Friend’s, which advocates thorough evaluation of product quality versus cost. Friend points out that there is not always a correlation between the performance of a product and the expenses, environmental or financial, required to design it. Both stress the importance of simplicity in product design. Friend tells us to not overcomplicate matters; the research and development for sustainable design has already been done by nature. Furthermore, products should be simple. Customers don’t care about the non-essential “stuff” surrounding the true services and utility the product provides. To be sustainable, as Friend believes, businesses must re-evaluate the real purpose of their business. The sustainability of products relies on the assumption that the business aims to provide services to their customers, not to simply maximize profit. O’Rourke endorses the idea that, in addition to being simple, products should also be designed to be durable, long-lasting, and reusable. Gil Friend’s principles regard sustainable business strategies, while O’Rourke’s concern actual product design.

per3sarah said...

Fiona Bennie from Forum For The Future discusses how her work in analyzing future scenarios can be applied to sustainability. She helps calculate what the world could look like in the coming decades in terms of resources, climate/demographic change, technology, and economics. Then she can use that information to backtrack from the future to today, and create designs that can make positive changes in production and consumption.
Dara O'Rourke, from the UC Berkeley Dept of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management talks about sustainable design. He says to consider the whole life cycle of the product, from raw material to manufacture to use to disposal. Start with the hotspots of production, but also focus on end of the cycle, making a product durable, reusable and/or recyclable. He also talks about designing a product for utility and simplicity. Transparency and education, having customers conscious of the product's story, makes sustainability easy.
The two experts agree that looking ahead is the best way to create a sustainable design now. That's the whole idea of sustainability. It means that a product or design can both be effective now and continue to be healthy for the client and the environment in the future.

per3Dryden said...

I watched the videos of Lisa Gansky, Chris Hacker, Hunter Lovins, and Nathan Shedroff. I noticed that EVERY person in each video agreed that there needed to be a major revision of "how things are today" to avoid the consequences of climate change. However, each one of these individuals approaches are different. Nathan Shedroff decided that be best approach to sustainability is systems engineering, or the logic of functional and robust systems. However, Lisa Gansky and Chris Hacker offered tangible advice and questions to how one should design products to become more sustainable. I agree most with Hunter Lovins,who suggests that the business opportunities of sustainability outweigh the costs of maintaining the status quo. All large scale changes within society are economically based, and I believe that Hunter Lovins is totally on target with the idea that global economic growth will result from companies that make sustainable products.

Sam said...

I watched Lisa Gansky's video about "meshing"/sharing options for businesses, as well as Adam Werbach's video about cultural sustainability (the first and third videos, respectively). I found the first much more applicable to everyday life. She talked about Zipcars, a company which you see a lot here in the Bay Area, and it represented one of her many examples of how items and tools can be shared and used by a larger group of people in a community. I think the only overlap of the two videos is the emphasis on community and the interpersonal interactions. The point in Adam Werbach's video was much less clear to me (I mean, how can you make a culture sustainable?) In other words, it was a much more abstract concept. I suppose we do need to look to culture as well as society to spread the word of sustainability, and that idea in his video made a lot of sense.

per3Abby said...

I found Adam Werbach's video about cultural sustainability a bit confusing, at least in its relationship to design. He said that cultural sustainability, although often forgotten, is important. Culture, which is the details of relationships between people, can transmit important information and greatly influence how people live. I guess his point might be that culture can be an important tool in promoting sustainability, and that designers of solutions to environmental problems should be aware of how their work ties into culture. On that second point, it seems like Werbach agrees with what Nathan Shedroff said in his video about systems thinking. Shedroff argued that everything is part of a complex system of relationships, and that it is important to keep this in mind. He also made the point that diversity--including cultural diversity--makes systems resilient, reinforcing Werbach's point that an important part of sustainability is sustaining cultures. Both videos seemed to emphasize that solutions to big environmental problems depend more on balance, flexibility, and relationships than on top-down rules and decrees.

Per4_Jlor said...

I watched Lisa Gansky, John Peterson, and Dawn Danby. Lisa Gansky emphasizes sustainability on a more "classic" level. She focuses on trying to advertise car sharing, an idea coming from the statistic that Americans only use their cars 10% of the day. She says that sharing cars, like sharing the bus, is a much more efficient way of running things because users of the cars can make comments and suggestions more easily that can create better designs.
John Peterson says that architects and other businesses should do more pro bono work. Although, he says that if one is willing to work pro bono, one should understand the organization that one has chosen well. By saying we should "set our standards high", he forces us to be completely passionate about the work we chose, instead of haphazard or sloppy volunteer work.
Dawn Danby talks about how designers should create products which people will want to use for a longer time. One example that comes to my mind would be something like the design of a chair that wont break as easily, or doesnt lose its comfort quickly. I dont know, im just spouting things off the top of my head.

per3JohnnyMatejczyk said...

I chose the video featuring chris hacker because it seemed to have the strongest argument and most well thought out statement based on the description. One major theme that I realized about his seven statements is the necessity argument. He emphasized getting rid of the elements of a product or packaging that would be extraneous. He considered eliminating the use of certain plastics and un-reusable materials. This would make products more sustainable because it would be both economically sustainable and ecologically sustainable. It is Economically sustainable because a company's products cost less to make and cost less to the consumer. It is ecologically sustainable because company's are using less material to create products.

Daniel said...

I watched Adam Werbach's video on Cultural sustainability, Chris Hackers video on the Design Process, and Dawn Danby's video on Product Life-cycle. ifelt that Hacker and Danby's videos generally agreed that sustainability must come from the people who design the products, whereas Adam Werbach seemed to lean more toward the idea that we need to promote sustainability in our culture. i think i agree more with Adam, because although Dawn and Chris make valide points about a designers responsibility to make their products sustainable, if we as a society stop buying non-sustainable products, desginers will be forced to make them sustainable.

Kai said...

I watched Dawn Danby's video on life-cycle thinking and Hunter Lovins video on the business case for sustainability. In Danby's video i thought it was very helpful and progressive that she bullet pointed each goal that we seek to reach through sustainable living as well as speaking to how we should reach those goals. Danby did something that is crucial to the progress of sustainable living; that is, she gave the viewer the resources to make the change. she was able to provide websites and the materials for the viewer to access and look to for guidance as to how we can all improve in our fight for sustainability and make those necessary changes to ensure a bright future for the coming generations.

per4_vfedrigo said...

I watched Adam Werbach and Chris Hacker's videos. I found Chris Hacker's approach to be the most interesting, because he brought up a question that seems to often be neglected--do we really need this product? While Werbach took a more long-winded approach to sustainability, breaking it down into various categories, Hacker addressed the underlying issue of a consumerist society that produces many things that, in essence, it doesn't need. I think that Hacker took a very simplistic approach to the question, which was further elaborated on by Werbach.

Sarah said...

I watched Nathan Shedroff's video about systems thinking. He explained how there were many different factors within a system that made the system work, and without balance between those factors the system would be unhealthy and unsustainable. I also watched Alissa Walker's video, which said that people shouldn't use the words "sustainable" or "green" but should instead be more specific about how something is more environmentally friendly by saying things like "this saves water/energy/money". She also said that in order to save more, people shouldn't buy new things as much, but should instead buy used things or just borrow them. Alissa didn't talk about balance as much as Nathan did, but both of the designers did say that people (or parts of a system) should depend on each other and work together somehow in order to make the entire system work better.

period4_shelby said...

I watched Adam Werbach's video on culture's relationship to sustainability and John Peterson's video about encouraging pro bono services in architecture. Andrew Werbach focused mainly on the effects that culture has on sustainability, and John Peterson on the community that can be affected by doing pro bono work, especially in architecture. John Peterson says we must "improve communities by serving populations" and I think that Adam Werbach would agree that improving communities is key to improving sustainability. The way we live our lives is so much determined by our culture, and if culture as a whole were built in a certain way, sustainability would be achieved. Community affects sustainability, and vice versa.

per3frehiwot said...

Both John Peterson and Wendy Jedlicka emphasize the importance of passion in the field of sustainability in their videos. Peterson’s seven tips included finding a nonprofit to join if one is passionate about said nonprofit or possibly creating a project focusing on a problem in your community. Peterson also advises that one should understand the purpose behind their project and make their goals clear. His advice makes it clear that someone attempting a project should be very engaged with their work and have some type of personal connection because having one will allow the project to be both successful and meaningful. Jedlicka’s points were also connected to passion and her tips included making a project personal and drawing inspiration from personal surroundings. She also discussed the importance of learning the value of sustainability and not just leaving efforts at materialistic ends such as just recycling. These designers generally agree in their views of how a person can make an effort to design a project that can meet their goals, have value, and positively impact the world they live in.

Natalie said...

From watching the videos of Adam Werbach and Wendy Jedlicka it was pretty clear that they shared the idea of sustainability being possible only through collective efforts of a mass of individuals. Jedlicka advocated the actions an individual can take, while Werbach emphasized the infuence of culture on our lives and thus the importance of integrating sustainability into culture so as to make it more prevalent and make the movement more successful. Though the designers focused in on different aspects of sustainability and making it more successful, they seemed to agree that individuals must fully take in the core values of the movement so as to spread it and make it fundamentally and not superficially successful.

Hoffy said...

The video involving Alyssa Walker "walking the walk" and Wendy Jedlicka's clip were both closely linked and stark in their advocacy for environmental change. Their individual attempts to make the world sustainable are mildly different, but they both sought to explain the necessity of awareness. When people understand what their actions entail for the environment, new steps can be taken to lower our carbon footprint. Wendy was encouraging people to get upset about the status quo. I disagree with this aggressive stance against environmental preservation, but nonetheless think sustainability is important.