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Sustainability Sketch for Designers

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Sustainability: A Sketch for Designers

One of the most elegant ways to forward market greening is to hold each design against a sustainability checklist -- breaking difficult and intertwined systems down into actionable choices. This simple step takes the uncertainty out of the process and frees the designer up to do the thing they do best -- create. If you're new to sustainability, we highly recommend taking the one day (or two evening) seminar offered here in the Upper Midwest by the Alliance for Sustainability.

Alliance for Sustainability
(At the Hillel Center -- University of Minnesota)
1521 University Ave. SE -- Minneapolis, MN 55414
Phone: 612-331-1099
http://www.afors.org

For those of you eager to get started, though we strongly recommend taking the full seminar to get a true understanding of the interrelated nature of sustainability, here's a primer with a few links geared to the design process pointing you in a positive direction. This list is literally a sketch, and has been highly simplified. This is NOT the FULL story, it is simply a TASTE of what can be done when you recalibrate your creative machine.

Overview of sustainability...
http://www.thenaturalstep.org
http://www.thenaturalstep.org/our-approach

http://www.naturalstep.ca

The big, big picture...
In a sustainable society, nature is not subject to systematically increasing:
1. concentrations of substances extracted from the earth's crust;
2. concentrations of substances produced by society;
3. degradation by physical means; and, in that society,
4. human needs are met worldwide.

The big picture through a designer's eye...

 
 
 
 
1) What we TAKE
(Take and leave behind: mined materials, fossil fuels)

http://www.eere.energy.gov
http://www.epa.gov/ORD/NRMRL/lcaccess

https://www.treehugger.com/fossil-fuels/true-cost-gasoline-closer-15-gallon-video.html

> It takes 95% less energy to make an aluminum can from recycled cans, than from virgin ore. If gas were priced at its true cost it would be closer to $15/gallon.


  
 
 
 
2) What we MAKE
(Make and leave behind: materials, manufacture)

http://www.pneac.org
http://www.epa.gov/ORD/NRMRL/lcaccess
https://www.epa.gov/smm/wastewise
https://www.epa.gov/smm/advancing-sustainable-materials-management-facts-and-figures
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6100179

> Nearly 30% of U.S. municipal waste is packaging. Of the tens of thousands of chemicals produced today, only a small fraction are understood for human health impacts.


  
 
 
 
3) What we BREAK
(Ecosystem impact)

http://www.epa.gov/ORD/NRMRL/lcaccess
http://www.environmentaldefense.org
http://ceres.org
https://us.fsc.org/en-us

> 84% of the trees cut in the State of Minnesota go for paper products and strand board. Over 40% of the total U.S. municipal waste composition by substrate is paper products and wood.


  
 
 
 
4) What we NEED
(Stakeholder issues and empowerment, all human needs met worldwide)
http://www.fairtradefederation.com
http://ceres.org
http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev
https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/07/american-food-waste/491513

> About 50% of all produce in the U.S. is wasted (30% globally). One third of all human deaths are poverty-related (starvation, no safe drinking water). Obesity related illness is one of the primary causes of death in the U.S.

Sustainability means:
Never having to say you're sorry.



o2 Quick Picks

Don't have time to surf that endless wave of information? These are our favorite sites.

naturalstep.org
biomimicry.org
indes.net
designgreen.org
MSCN: nextstep
ceres.org










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