Week 2: Great Acceleration and the Anthropocene

  • 1) How do you as a designer want to skillfully and creatively meet the realities of the Great Acceleration? (What kind of projects and actions do you think might be needed)?

I normally don’t think as a designer because that’s not the career I plan to follow. But if I did I’d definitely would think and create in a conscious way. Some examples would be only making the use of only biodegradable materials or either materials that have better quality and last longer and are still eco-friendly, and trying to produce the least amount of waste as possible during the process of making whatever my design pieces would be, between other measures that could be taken in a way to not contribute to the rates of bad impact of human activity on earth. Not only environmental issues come to mind but socioeconomic too. I would prefer to be supplied by local businesses/suppliers, which I’d make sure that people have good working conditions and are getting payed the amount they should.

  • 2) Research the word Anthropocene and write a short description that you would share with a close friend (using your own words/language to explain, not an internet definition). Images are encouraged.

Anthropocene is the current period in time, where human activities seem to have the higher impact on the environment.


Museo Aero Solar at Les Abattoirs, Toulouse. (more info: https://www.estherschipper.com/exhibitions/282/ )

  • How resilient is your hometown ecology to climate change/the Anthropocene? Do people have a relationship with the natural environment today? 

Besides being an extremely hot city that is definitely affected by climate change and global warming, my hometown, Vitória, has had numerous complications for its high rate of air pollution. The city has two of the largest ports of Brazil, that are also iron ore mining industries that produce an enormous amount of dust. Therefore, the air pollution is really high, I’ve grown up hearing people complain about it, and even though measures had been taken, such as the implementation of an Automatic Air Quality Monitoring Network, the rates are still up. Doctors pointed that the iron ore particles are really small which makes it easy to get into peoples lungs and therefore cause breathing complications and diseases.

Besides these concerns people do have a relationship with the natural environment, the beaches in Vitoria are always full (besides the ones that are too close to the ore mining company that are quite unfit for bathing), it is a city full of beautiful natural landscapes.


(Headline: “pollution exceeds limits in Vitoria”)


(Headline: “understand the dust that has been polluting the air and the sea of Vitoria through years”)


(Headline: “why is it so hot in Vitoria?”, this article talks about how the city’s weather have been affected by phenomenons such as “El Niño”)

Pictures of the iron ore mining companies from the beach in Vitoria.


  • 3) Next week we will tour the Donghia healthier Materials Library on campus. To learn about their work.
  •        What are you most interested in learning about at the library during the tour?

On what are the main objectives of a project like that.

  •         What are two questions that you have for the librarian?

– The library has a focus on “healthier material education” how is it determined what is a “healthier” material?

– What kind of impact did you notice this kind of project/organization has in our community/environment?

  • 4) Which videos did you watch?

“Some Solvents”, “Flame Retardants” and “Antimicrobials”.

  • Explain in detail what was most surprising to you about the videos and why.

I didn’t realized how much of these chemistries were present on everyday objects and utilities. I was mostly surprised to know how exposed us humans are to these toxic chemistries.

  • Do you use any of these materials commonly in your work or personal life?  Which ones? 

Yes, I do use solvents for paint.

  • Will you change your behavior as a result of watching this series?

I consider change in a way that I can be more careful and thoughtful with what’s on the products I buy. But I think is not on my hands to change how these chemicals are being used on the process of manufacture of these products.

  • Why do you think so many chemicals exist in contemporary design? 

As design evolutes everyday as a way of facilitating the human life in different areas, and meeting different needs, a lot of products are created, in a speed that we almost can’t catch up with. The velocity of the capitalist system seems to leave behind sustainable ideas, people as consumers, look for practicability, and accessibility and they want it as fast as possible, in the easier and most of the times, cheaper way possible. Taking that in consideration, as a lot of products are made by companies that only care about consumption and meeting the demands of a client, they leave behind possible concerns on the environment, making the use of a high quantity of distinct toxic chemicals that can have enormous impacts on nature.

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