Why sustain?

If everything could be designed to be ‘truly sustainable.’ I.e. harmonious with nature- derived almost directly from nature or imitating it, creates no waste, not specific to market, inter-generational, inter-cultural, plus all the other crazy stuff that comes under these headings such as ‘self-repairing,’ perhaps, ‘emotionally durable.’ etc. etc. etc. you know what I’m getting at.

My question is, what then? Why all this progress? Why do we want to ‘save the Earth’? Why do we need to live longer, if there are already too many people? What happens if we live forever or extremely (by today’s standards) long times- how can we be ‘considerate’ of the next generations? How do we prevent the next generations from making the wrong moves? Are we evolving as people?

Ok… that’s too many heavy questions to ask at once (perhaps we need a ‘design philosophy’ thread or board to ask this kind of stuff). But it basically comes down to why progress and what’s the purpose? Theism aside, why do designers take it upon themselves to ensure this progress?

So that the kids of the future don’t have to live in high tech bunkers because the environment is so out of whack that you can’t even go for a stroll outside without an oxygen mask anymore?

I believe it is our duty to allow for the opportunity to choose.

Now that sentence might take a lot to wrap your head around, but to answer “why do we need to live longer” and “how do we prevent the next generations from making the wrong moves,” we don’t need to live longer and we can’t prevent future generations to make poor choices.

We as a society, however, should allow future generations to have that choice in the first place–how they decide to live their lives on this earth and whether they want to keep up the practice of sustainability. We cannot be the generation to mess everything up. We still have a fighting chance to minimize the damage to the environment that’s already been done.

If nothing else, humans are naturally inclined to do good things for the sake of doing something good (but that is a theological debate for another time). We as designers are tasked with the decisions (to an extent) in material and processes; designing to improve the relationship between man and nature seems, to me, a valiant and worthy effort. It’s extremely rewarding to offer new life to both the environment and generations to come.