ASSIGNMENT #13 – 3 TED Talks + Observation
In William McDonough’s Ted Talk he discussed cradle to cradle design. He showed how this concept allowed for designs to be cyclical to allow (preferably) all materials to be recycled. I think that this design concept and it’s development is incredibly important, especially when you consider the impacts waste and climate change have on earth. Designing products or cities that are sustainable and work in a cycle to be self sufficient and renewable would ideally even allow for the elimination of all waste. The one example he gave that was incredibly inspiring was the city he had designed to be built in China. By raising farm land on top of the buildings, having waste be turned into energy and many more innovations his team designed a city that would do little harm to the environment it was built in and create no pollution. This idea of renewable design is how we need to start thinking as we try to combat climate change and stop harming our planet.
Part 2- Video 1: Some examples from my surroundings that need Cradle to Cradle are:
- Clothing/Fashion Industry: Most clothing is unable to be completely recycled if at all. Often times nowadays clothings is made cheaply and the material breaks easily and has to be thrown out after a few wears. This industry creates an incredible amount of waste and consumes a massive amount of resources to produce these often wasteful items. Although some companies have tried to start recycling campaigns (ie. H&M) most of the material isn’t able to be recycled and is still thrown out. If the industry used cradle to cradle they could make clothing that could be recycled and made into new pieces (that look completely different) and resold, creating less waste.
- Cosmetics/Skin Care Products: Many cosmetic products have ingredients in them that cannot be decomposed. When you wash your face with exfoliators with micro plastic beads or other ingredients they are washed down the drain and contaminate the water. Using a cradle to cradle intervention companies could make products that when washed down the drain will be able to decompose into the natural environment to be reused by nature and not harm it.
Suzanne Lee’s presentation of her growth of a cellulose fabric is another example of how design can be made more sustainable. Similar to Janine, by following and learning from nature (in Lee’s case the fermentation process of kombucha) she was able to grow fabric that could be used to make a variety of things. This process, however not entirely wasteless, is far more sustainable then normal fabric production because you can reuse the liquid where the fermentation happens and it requires no outside energy sources (on a hot day atleast). I think it will be really interesting to see how this concept develops and how growing cellulose materials could be used within fashion and other design industries. Growing materials that are quickly renewable could allow for many products such as wood, paper and other plant matter to be used less, allowing for their sustainable renewable use.
In Janine Benyus Ted Talk she discusses how biomimicry can be used in design. Biomimicry is the process of learning from nature and applying it’s techniques and lessons to designs. I personally think that this method of design is an amazing way to solve design problems and come up with jumping points for your projects. Majority of problems that need to be solved in the human world have small scale solutions that exist in nature. If designers more often studied these systems that already naturally and successfully exist they are more likely to come up with solutions that are not only better but also more sustainable and less harmful to ourselves and the environment. Overall, the importance of understanding nature and what already exists on the planet (outside of man made things) is paramount in designing for a more sustainable and stronger future.
Part 2: Video 3
A loofah looks like coral or a sea sponge in it’s structure. A sea sponge absorbs liquid and the loofah does this in some ways as well so it would make sense that they would have a similar struture.
A fan looked like wings or leaves to me. Particularly like a peacock’s feathers. The fan functions to blow cooling air and wings blow air to allow a bird to fly so they both hold a similar function.