"Green design is just a fashion"

good point.
I’ve been thinking something similar for a long time. “Green Design” seems to turn out more of a FAD. Only minor production/design seem to have good results with efficient process and the majority just using “green” as a selling point.

When they had the “green house design” at the Chicago Sci & Tech museum last year… I was actually depressed.

I mean… “The dining table was made from a tree that was struck by a lightning and the designer has re used it, so its green!”
Come on…

But I do like how it has become a larger factor to consider.

Here’s an interesting article from Frank Ferudi about the fluidity of human life and how it conflicts with the current drive for sustainability. It also explores how sustainability has taken on an almost religious tone.

It’s obvious too. Those companies who’ve converted to environmentalism flaunt their “holier-than-thou” and “holier-than-that-other-company” mantra in your face as they embark on their new marketing mission, printing up new catalogs made of recycled paper and soy inks telling the world of their conversion, asking you to buy their product, and at the same time chastising you for your over-consumption of resources.

I agree with others on this topic, that it’s an obvious choice for companies to be as efficient as possible, cutting down on materials while designing for durability increases profits. It’s a no-brainer. But screaming it from the rooftops increases noise pollution.

The article takes a less critical stance than the one I take.


interesting point he makes there - sustainability acts as a suppressant/depressant to the human desire to fly higher and higher with language that’s about moderation, cutting back, etc…

Sustainability is about addressing the basics of survival, but it’s only a part of the picture and not something to be exclusively obsessed with.
I think the gloom surrounding this is all our failures in not having the imagination to be able to balance the talk of sustainability with challenges for the future. What’s not to be excited and invigorated about ! There’s a Universe of possibilities and places to explore out there… we’re strong, adaptable and have imagination and we’ll get better and better if we take care of the planet that provides for us in our infancy.

I have felt that the term “Green” has become an abused one. In my definition, when marketers and therefore the general public it refers to something being Green it is an intention of postitive action twoards the environmet and or planet. While these intentions are good they can be easily misguided, distorted or have little to no impact. Thus, Green has become a catch all word for almost anything with an environmental spin…

As a design professional I also prefer the term Sustainable over Green. In fact I prefer to even interchange the word Sustainable with Maintainable, because essentially that is what we are doing with our efforts and resources.

A few years on since this thread was started, a new president in the USA who is of the opinion that global warming is not man made, lessons not learned… so what progress was made in direction to greener designs? Here in Australia we continue with business as usual, the next generation can shoulder the burden.
I am trained in Europe as architect, here in Australia we have started 8 years ago an online business (www.thedesigngiftshop.com) offering ‘good design’, simple, near minimalist -if possible.
We as our own little contribution to becoming green and greener keep trying to sell in our shop sustainable products, products that last, eco friendly etc…, but what really sells is what is cheap. Nothing new, but also nothing changes.
I’d love to hear your opinion if we are the way to a ‘greener’ more sustainable future (in the near futur) or not???

Still a very relevant discussion isn’t it. It is often overrated how well products advertised as green or fairtrade do on the market. Yet we are part of a sustainable system ourselves and we like recycling and sustainable energy. If we look at the numbers then yes, we do have an effect on the climate, but not in catastrophic ways. The planet is self-stabilizing and will survive. It is warming up now but not too far in the future will cool down again for a new ice age. Also the ozone layer is healing now we stopped using harmful chemicals. So I think innovation will be very much ground up, bioplastics and biodegradable additives becoming more and more cost-effective and common. They will not be the major selling points of a product, it is just the industry slowly evolving. We are now at the time where we are seriously considering how to innovate sustainably and with the shutdown of coal power plants, the transition to more sustainable energy production by water and thorium reactors as well as Tesla’s Gigafactory plans, get us a long way.

I have a question about this. Why is this a good thing?

The issue is carbon. We extract it from the ground in the form of oil, we burn it, it releases to the atmosphere as CO2.

But if we take the oil and convert it to plastic, we have very effectively sequestered the carbon and it will essentially never be released into the atmosphere as CO2. As soon as you make the plastic biodegradable, the carbon will be released.

Seems to me, putting the carbon back into the earth is more responsible after we take it out of the earth.

CO2 is just one of them, you have a bunch of other gases responsible for climate change like Methane that are way worse than CO2.
I’m surprised this is still on the EPA website Overview of Greenhouse Gases | US EPA

However, plastic are affecting wildlife and, indirectly, also affecting climate. Plastics floating on the ocean are incorporated into the food chain. They also block light and affecting plankton and the other animals they subsequently feed.

Everything we can do to overturn this is welcome. Personally I think both are necessary, taking care of the ocean and of the atmosphere are equally important.

I understand. And as a matter of fact, not only does the biodegrading process create CO2, it creates methane too. Composting biodegradable materials hastens release to the atmosphere. Sequestering plastic in a landfill solves both problems.

While I agree, what I don’t know what is worse, having a low percentage of plastic waste directly in the environment, or biodegradables contributing to greenhouse gas build up.

Basically, humans suck for the environment.

I think there are headwinds and tailwinds. People like Trump are certainly headwinds, however he is not omnipotent.

Some tailwinds:

  1. The Paris Accords continue. At least from what I’ve read, most other signatories have decided to continue on their plans to cut emissions with or without the US.
  2. It takes a long time for many of these regulations to take effect. Therefore, business has been planning to follow the previous regulations for years now. It’s too late for them to change course now. Moreover, with the uncertainty of a 2020 election result, it’s likely that companies will continue to plan for a return to the Obama regulations in the near future.
  3. Carbon taxes are being adopted and more widely supported. For example, my home province has had one for a decade now. These taxes are having an effect on behaviour and will continue to shape market outcomes for years to come.

I’ll try to think of some more over coffee later.

Nespresso or Quebecian blend?


Tim Hortons…mmmm

The low percentage of plastic is actually millions of tons that affect life in the ocean which is actually capable of transforming CO2. I agree is very complicated to say which one is worse without any data or research. Both are pretty bad anyway, discussion should be how to limit both.

I believe we are going too far and that soon we’ll reach a point of no-return. It’s pretty sad, we could actually change things but only if there was political will and somehow people started listening to what scientists are saying.

I am mostly thinking in terms of wildlife. While developing better gill nets is also top priority, plastic is having an enormous impact.
See River Plastic Pollution Sources • The Ocean Cleanup
It’s a good thing this ends up in a central location in the pacific so we can clean it up, and some animals are evolving towards eating plastic, and recycling processes get more sophisticated. But it’s still going much too fast. Bioplastics are great because they are absorbed back into the soil again, and can be digested. There are also other alternatives that are currently expensive, but if we invest in it can be automated increasingly further. Think for example hot pressed bamboo for enclosure shells instead of plastic - it needs no synthetic materials as it can be self-bonding when pre-processed well because of the lignin content.