Saturday, September 19, 2009

Run Forest, Run!

Since it seems as though we are all rushing to show everyone snazzy new sites i thought that i'd follow the trend.

I'm not sure if you guys remember a comment that Eric Nay made during design thinking (which was about green design).  He mentioned that the only way we can achieve that is by not designing at all.  

Yes? No?

So I went looking for Green Designs and i came across this:

It's got green design written all over it.  It's kind of neat, it tells you simple things to keep green, which is nice i suppose.  Some of the products that they are selling are from recycled material.
It's just that, unless all products are created from recycled goods, we will always be harming it in some way.  We can only design to harm the environment less which is kind of silly.   No product is set to last forever, and at the rate we are consuming goods, we certainly don't want it to be.  We see as much through all that we have learned about planned obsolescence.  

So what do you guys think about this green design?  Is it more than a contradiction? 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Eric has a point about the value of stopping.

    Today I talked to Cal a grade 12 student from Contact across from OCAD. We sat on the grass and talked. He said that he'd just come back from a camping trip. He said whenever he goes up north, he disappears into the forest for 3 days with nothing except the clothes on his back. I was skeptical about the value of doing this.

    "What's the good of getting back to nature if you just slide back into the same old you when you come back?"

    To answer me, he picked up the chocolate brownie beside him. "When I come back, this tastes different. Civilization, everything, is different. True, to you they may be the same things, but I see the world with completely different eyes."

    How does this relate to green design and stopping?

    For Cal to change civilization, first he had to stop participating in it. No electricity, no cellphones, no people. Only afterward when the person has changed does he return to civilization. The real revelation happens not out there in the forest, but here upon resuming the old life.

  3. In that treehugger article they mention the Permaculture principles. I've been trying to read that book for a while now and it's a bit of a tough one to get through, mostly because I don't feel like a lot of it is useful to me right now. I have learned a lot of interesting things and found some useful philosophies and analogies in it. I just don't really have any need to live a permaculture life right now. It sort of seems to be a 'worst case scenario' thing to me, good to know just in case, but, based on other observations, not immediately practical.

    That said, there are a great many topics discussed under the umbrella of permaculture, and the principles themselves, many of them anyways, can be applied more broadly to very many problems, including a lot of the problems we are given as designers. To me though they don't make up a grand philosophy that I can accept completely. They are useful as distinct principles to combine and consider with other principles such as cradle to cradle.

    Incidentally, I just found my Permaculture book today in a box I hadn't yet unpacked. Someone, either ironically or carelessly, had marked my place in the book with a Hummer H2 bookmark. Actually I'm not even sure they marked the right page, so it's probably some kind of joke.

  4. Also, I'm not sure that's what Eric meant by 'not designing'. I don't believe he meant to take a break from design. More that he meant 'we don't need any new objects'. Something more in line with Philippe Starck's views, which were touched upon in Richard's post with the video of Starck's new BBC series (which was a great watch, especially the part about their assignment to find things from the supermarket and Starck's comments on the findings re: this notion of 'sustainability'). The idea being that really the most sustainable thing to design is not to design anything, because any new product is a 'waste' in a sense. It's a sort of very entropic view, as in the second law of thermodynamics which says that the order in a system can only ever decrease, or rather the disorder (or entropy) can only ever increase.

    Unless the thermodynamic arrow of time is reversed... but that's another topic alltogether, and one quite unrelated to the current discussion.

    On another note, related to my point earlier about permaculture principles. I find them to be only as useful as any other principles: thermodynamic principles, social psychological principals, geomorphic principles, etc. They are just information, data. Useful to compare and sometimes combine with other information or data. Useful in some situations but not necessarily all. It is really the combined accumulation of all sorts of information that is most useful to me.

    My point is that there is not really going to be any one set of principles that will always work to produce the most appropriate solution to any given (design) problem. So while permaculture principles can work very ideally for some problems, other problems may be best solved by taking a step back and secluding oneself, and still other problems are best solved by not solving them.

  5. What is the Permaculture principle that you are speaking? I sounds kind of interesting, and almost primitive.

    But on your note of not designing anything is the most sustainable design is something that i can agree with. That is how i imagine green design to be since how ever we choose to design, something have to intimately be used to make it.

    There are probably many ways to attack that and create sustainable design and not further destroy this world.. possibly in one of those principles that you mentions?