Design and Saving the earth

These days we read a lot about global warming.
We are exeriencing some of the wierdest climatical change now…
tropical areas having massive rainfall,
temperate areas having hotter weathers…
polar bears tiptoeing on iceberg pieces
dolphins stranded along the coastline

I feel the proposals to save our skins and the animals are only a short term
resolution. Despite so, we still need something going before we need to emmigrate to another planet…(that is if there is another planet…)

Here are my thoughts:

I believe what we really need to do is to put more hybrids on the road.
It is a shame that American car manufacturers like GM and Ford are not in the forefront like Toyota.

We need to retract from using so much energy. We use the most in the world. This is most difficult.

We need to build more energy efficient/eco biuldings and skyscrapers. Bank of America is building one right here in Manhatten.

I predict in this century we are going to really turn the tide with global warming. We CAN reverse these effects of the earth and restore a greener planet without going to another one.

Do you drive a hybrid? Just curious, can you demand someone to produce more of something you don’t consume?

Time magazine had a “51 ways to be green” issue a few weeks ago, typically I dislike didactic stuff like that, but one of the interesting things in it was to like in New Your City. New Yorkers use mass transit, live in smaller spaces that take less energy to heat and cool and with a high population density they leave more land untouched.

If I used a car to drive to work (which I don’t) I would have a hyrid. I use mass transit so I’m good there. I drive mostly on the weekends, so I don’t use my car often. I walk a combination of 80 minutes a day to and fro work.
I almost never take the subway or the bus inside NYC; In rain hail sleet or snow I move my Clarks daily!

I went to the NY Auto Show and picked up ONLY hybrid material because my next car (when I start a family) would be a hybrid. I go the the show EVERY year and this year was the most I have ever seen with hybrid info everywhere.

Forget demand-make it a law from state to state!!!

Funny, cus I think we need to do the opposite.

We need to stop producing and consuming unnecessarily.

And it’s not about making more “green products”, just like any other issues, it’s our lifestyles. We need to be thinking ahead before we do anything. Not just design, but all aspects of life, from the most insignificant habits to the biggest decisions.

We shouldn’t be thinking about what people or objects can do for the world. It’s the relationships between us and the things/people around that needs to be reconsidered. We don’t need sustainable objects. We need sustainable mentality.

We shouldn’t be thinking about what people or objects can do for the world. It’s the relationships between us and the things/people around that needs to be reconsidered. We don’t need sustainable objects. We need sustainable mentality.

A few problems with this:

  1. We (Designers) are Integrators and are limited to the resources we have at hand. We’re not Creators (i.e. Law/policy makers, etc.).

  2. Convenience will trump sustainability until humans are forced to do something different.

As a Designer about the only tool I see I have that could start to elicit change is to design product that has as minimal impact as possible.

In case you were wondering…No, I don’t have faith in humans to change without a catastrophe to drive the change. I’m not talking recycling, or turning out lights. I mean real, significant change.

BTW, YAYO…Hybrid’s aren’t the answer. They are only ~15% more efficient than a internal combustion only. They’re the interim step. The policymakers need to implement infrastructure to allow true fuel cell technologies to be implemented.

I know that little steps are needed to get anywhere. But there is this feeling in my gut that tells me that we’ve crossed the tipping point. That we’re beyond the point where the little steps aren’t going to cut it.

Wouldn’t work.

You can’t pass a law to force people to care. And even if you could force America to care (which you won’t…) , within a decade our polutin’ ways will be nothing compared to what will be happening in China and India… and you see what happens when we try to get in other counties’ grills.

I’m glad to read you are practicing what you preach though. What you can do is control what you yourself output. Me, I floor it at every stop light… to use up the gas faster… so we will switch to alternative fuels sooner… it all makes sense.

As a designer there is little that you can do, but why limit yourself to being “just a designer”?

What I was trying to say is, we(as in whoever you think you are) should be making people think about what is sustainability to them. Everyone will have a different answer simply because everyone has different needs. Being aware of the needs will lead to many opportunities for us, designers, to create sustainable products.

Therefore, my logic of a sustainable future is to start from the mentality of sustainability which then leads to the creation of sustainable products. The current way of pumping out sustainable products thinking that it’s sustainable for everyone simply isn’t sustainable. At the very least, I find it hard to link the object to the subject because we tend to get lost in the object itself.

I know. Its a conundrum. I don’t have answers. I hate NOT having answers.

But I hate screaming like “Be Sustainable”, when I don’t have any real answers for HOW to “Be Sustainable” when everything I design (Consumer Electronics) have a significant percentage of non-sustainability (is that a word?).

Hybrid cars are part of the problem, not the solution. Here’s a start:

  1. Place a huge tax on air travel. Jets pollute alot, and they pollute in the most fragile part of the atmosphere, ie, 30,000 feet. Not only that, most of the trips are unnecessary. Tourism=pure waste. Business trips? Why are we still making those when we have the internet and a global web of communication that means I can be mountain biking across the mojave but stop and call the office (if I were into that kind of thing)?

It’s all waste, but we enjoy it so much, we’re not going to stop flying. That’s why I’ve never heard a Greenpeacer mention it before they fly off to New Zealand to float a raft in front of whaling ship.

  1. Stop shipping everything around the world for nuthin’. I was just watching the news where they were talking about pet food sold in the US and how it’s components were imported from China. With all the food grown in the US, why is anything being imported? Part of this game is subsidisies, they could be axed next year and farmers would adjust. They used to actually grow foods for local markets, they can do that again.

Designers are guilty too. Our success has come from cheap manufacturing overseas. Unfortunately, that means more shipping, and more pollution.

Lesson: buy local*

  1. Drive small. By far, the best environmental car you can buy in the US is a Toyota…Yaris. It has alot less toxic components, uses less energy to manufacturer, gets great gas milage and has all sorts of emissions control stuff that gets a fairly good results at the pipe.

What we need is a hike in the gas tax, something like a $2 US per gallon. Then, all the automakers would be selling us the same gutless 1.2~1.6L fuel sipping engines that the rest of the world drives (and yes, they do have mountains in Europe, and they are not filled with gutless cars rolling backwards down them).

Small engined cars would be the easiest ground transport/commute answer for suburban America. Cost is low, benefit is high.

In the long run, suburbs should be discouraged and city dwelling encouraged. Those $2 a gallon would probably be all the subsidy needed.

  1. Demand the government do something simple. Why don’t all federal buildings have solar panels on their roofs? It would probably cost less than camel renting in Iraq for a year, would pump $$$ into the solar industry, encourage development of new solar solutions and reduce the feds consumption of polluting electrcity. Win, win, win. Unfortunately, it’s an unsexy solution, because you can’t see them from the road side.

Demand it!

  1. Try to live as efficient as you can. I always liked David Suzuki’s challenge (I can’t find it today on google, at least not the one I remember). It was made of up of very simple things that anyone can do without really changing how they live. You add them up though, and it could be a huge savings.

*as a side note, I’ve stopped eating bananas. See, they are flown from Central America to Canada every day. That’s a huge impact. Instead, I eat apples from Ontario and Quebec, strawberries, raspberries, etc. All regional foods.

Also, French mustard is 100% Canadian mustard seed. The French farmers don’t get a subsidy for growing mustard, so they stopped growing it after WWII. Now they import it, process it into dijon and ship it back. Waste!

It’s not your fault not being able to execute a sustainable design, but you can do your part by executing a sustainable process of your design projects.




Hahaha! Looks like you are in for isolation. Maybe you should ask the chinese communists what made them open up? Oh wait, North Korea will be the best example for the kind of success you are looking for!

I’ve heard all this talk about buying local. It doesn’t make sense to me. First of all, just take food as an example. If you live in NYC, think about how much people in NY consume everyday. Can farmers in the East Coast support the demand? Towns in the country side will also die because there’s not enough population to sustain the amount of crops produced locally!

On the other hand, check out how Singapore has created a sustainable situation for itself(and still looking further yet). Singapore has no natural resources as well as little man power. They didn’t look locally. Instead, they looked out. They saw the world as a market and developed selected industries in which they can sustain while providing services to the rest of the world. Industries like finance, logistics(shipping and travel), oil refinery, Information Technology and recently, bio-tech. They will literally die of dehydration if they choose to “buy-local”.

Shipping/travelling doesn’t just benefit or affect home or the destination. It affects everywhere in between. Good or bad, it just depends how it’s been done.

But it’s not that simple. How many government buildings are there VS the amount of non-government buildings? How many people work for the government VS people who don’t? Why ask them instead of trying to raise the awareness with your own actions?

Exactly. But again, I think it’s not what you do consciously that will make the greatest impact. It’s when you have integrated the mentality of sustainability into your lifestyles, when it becomes a subconscious element that influences every single decision you make that will make the greatest impact. It doesn’t need to be a decision to recycle or buy a hybrid. It can be as small as deciding how you plan your shopping trips, how you utilize a space to perform a task(think about energy consumption), or simply how you plan your meals for the day. Every of such insignificant decisions will add up to be comething great.

Humans aren’t at where they are because of evolution like the camels in the dessert. We need a balanced diet for obvious reasons. While most tropical places can provide such luxury, folks in Siberia won’t be able to get fibers from green produce, or vitamins from fruits.

It seems like your general approach to this is to retard our lifestyles back to stoneage, but most of the examples you mentioned aren’t because of logistical issues. Balancing trade is a complicated and delicate issue. When US exports its rice to Japan, it created a local(Japan) uproar. When Taiwan’s farmers are stuck with over production of their produce, they blame the government for not being able to export their produce to ease the market supply. However, when you think about it, in the first place, aren’t all these bad decisions made out of the desire to sustain? So this gives me a perspective I’ve not thought about before. Sustainability, while is unique to each of us, isn’t sustainable if it isn’t sustainable for all of us. Arrhh… my head is going to explode!



Actually, isn’t this whole thing about “survival of the fittest” all about sustainability? Whoever can sustain the longest gets to stay! Looks like Darwin was ahead of his time, much more than we think! Using this as a direction, we should then be looking at creatures like crocodiles and especially roaches, who’s been around for since who-knows-when, and stop wasting time and money on useless ones like pandas and kiwi birds.

Also, it seems that we’ve ventured way off the topic. Cheerygirl wants to talk about saving the Earth. The truth is, Earth will be here no matter what. It’s all about saving our(humans) own a55es. Every living being on Earth is playing the same fair game under the same rules. Whoever finds the best way to live gets to live. Humans are not doing to well though. So really, humans aren’t smarter than anyone else, cus we abuse our thinking capabilities but neglected others, whereas the more successful species probably use a good balance of everything.

I’d love to have the ability to predict too. However, the greenhouse gases that are in our ozone layer was released from the ground level abt 50 years ago. So, that means that the damage we see today were created half a century ago. Then, let’s think about how much damage will result from the stuffs that are put out at today’s rate…

So, my prediction is, it’s going to take centuries and centuries. I will even go on to say that it’s ridiculous to even think that humans can “reverse” nature’s reactions. The world wasn’t the same in the past and will not be the same in the future. It’s the matter of keeping up with it.


Sustaining the human race is a very different thing from sustaining the world. The world can exist without us, but not the other way around.

I’d love to have the ability to predict too. However, the greenhouse gases that are in our ozone layer was released from the ground level abt 50 years ago.

Where’s that number come from?

quick snapshots here as I’ve got to go for an appointment.

everytime I post this kind of topics, its usually the cars that are in sight…
…i can see why cars are in… but how about the rest of the other products that could cause pollution …

i do think that we need to change mentality before we talk about impleting solutions by doing up green products or other hybrids that save this earth…

i also believe that humans are the prime sinners of all this environment tragedy. its really the pollution of the human mind that we need to clean first.

how can we clean anything in the surroundings when we have ‘contaminated’ thoughts is way way way beyond me

right no time to type

i shall return

my solution to that is to give up the car if you are living in a metropolitan area. Only remote areas need cars…

Believe it or not, I still remember what I learnt from middle school science classes.

Ozone depleting gases released from ground level will take 50 years to slowly rise to the ozone layer. Remember, it’s quite a few miles it has to travel vertically. So the level of damage you see today is really done 50 years ago. Now, compare the greenhouse gases release rate of today and 50 years ago, you can sort of expect the kind of hell we will be living in 50 years from now.

Did I just scare you?

[quote=“cheerygirl”][quote=“YAYO all dayo”]If I used a car to drive to work (which I don’t) I would have a hyrid. I use mass transit so I’m good there. I drive mostly on the weekends, so I don’t use my car often. I walk a combination of 80 minutes a day to and fro work.
I almost never take the subway or the bus inside NYC; In rain hail sleet or snow I move my Clarks daily!

I went to the NY Auto Show and picked up ONLY hybrid material because my next car (when I start a family) would be a hybrid. I go the the show EVERY year and this year was the most I have ever seen with hybrid info everywhere.

Forget demand-make it a law from state to state!!![/quote]

my solution to that is to give up the car if you are living in a metropolitan area. Only remote areas need cars…[/quote]


I live in the suburbs of Jersey with hills and mountains; I need a car.

You all bring up some very good points about this topic. I do think hybrids are the answer (for now) because how do you get people to change thier mindset about the earth and living more efficiently? You can’t do it overnight or little DVD documentaries every once in a while and scattered concerts. You have to take steps and graduate to a better solution and it is happening now. That 15% that you say a hybrid saves in the earths atmosphere is more than enough because things would snowball into better and bigger solutions and eventually change the thinking of us Americans that drive the Tundra’s/Suburbans’s and the Yukon’s of the world. I just came back from Europe two weeks ago and to find an SUV there is like trying to find a green toothpick in a grassy field.

The solutions is very simple believe it or not. You have to start with these things first:

-Cars/Plans

-Lifestyle/Business

-Biuldings

-Government


*We need to go from hybrid (now) to electric (in 25-50 years) with cars and plans. Instead of trying to find a way to have people stretch arms eagle-out on plans, create an energy efficient aircraft and apply it to all commercial lines in 5-10 years.

*Make individual wind turbines affordable so people can install them. Solar panels should be incorporated in mostly all projects as of now.

*Great idea about raising gas prices 2-5$ a gallon.

*Our government is here to protect us not only from terrorists, they need to do the same with gobal warming and greedy corporations. Freedoms and liberty is good but if you give Americans enough rope we would hang ourselves.

I should be getting back to work but I wanted to say a few things, so I know it is rough.

Solar panels on government buildings: If I buy $5000 in solar panels, it will be a small amount of money in the industry. If the US government starts to accept bids for hundred million dollar retrofits…that’s another story. Prices are going to tumble, people are going to figure out mass production, etc.

I’m not for isolation 100%. In the short term, that would be the solution for global warming. Longer term, we can start talking about sail boat container ships. Planes are a dead end. There is a reason man doesn’t have wings: gravity is a bitch. Think of my position on global transport as being for slow-transport.

Actually, don’t do that. I’m getting preachy. I actually thing that the global warming is here, and any human reaction will be too slow to have any noticable effect. Therefore, sell your home in Florida, it won’t be there long. Also, buy a Chrysler 300 with a hemi and burn whats left of our gas. Live like it is the last petroleum soaked day on earth, because who knows…it might be!

Also, we are talking about global warming. The ozone destroying gases and chemicals have largely been phased out in the western world. I’ve heard some reports of China and India pumping out ozone-depleting gases, but they are not in the large quantities the west had released. Therefore, we are talking about CO2. CO2 also will take decades or centuries to be scrubed from the atmosphere in any natural way (ocean absorbtion, plants, etc). That’s why I think we have no hope to stop global warming from CO2.

Lastly, the real problem we need to save the earth from is y5b:

Not entirely true. The sun may die and earth spins out of the orbits, but the Earth will still be around unless it hits other massive objects in space.

What about life on earth? Well, those on the surface will certainly die, but there are tons of deep sea creatures beyond our knowledge that doesn’t need the sunlight to live. My guess is, as long as the Earth’s lava doesn’t cool down and that the magnetic field within itself still operates, there will be life and life will find ways to flurish, like how humans did, then self-destruction cycle starts all over again.

More bad news: NOVA | Magnetic Storm | PBS

I’ve read before that scientists believe the sun will expand to a diameter between venus and mars. Therefore, we are in danger of losing our planet. Also, when the sun is dying it will evaporate all of our oceans and the atmosphere will escape into space. Y5B is not going to be easy!

We will celebrate y5b with fireworks from the thousands of nuclear warheads all over the world, all lit up at once!

That said, I still got the rest of today to worry about…