We love manifestos here at Inhabitat. Sure they are didactic and dogmatic, but they also exude a passion and idealism that is hard to find in this cynical day and age – laying down the law and spurring the unmotivated and overly-analytical into action. We definitely think the sustainable design movement could use a few more manifestos, as Cradle-to-cradle is the closest thing we have, and that only addresses one small aspect of the bigger picture of sustainable design. This is why we love Allan Chochinov’s recent Sustainable Design Manifesto which was just published on Core77 >
Allan takes on the material concerns raised in Cradle-to-Cradle, as well as the problems of over-engineering, over-production and consumer culture in general:
Design for Impermanence
In his Masters Thesis, “The Paradox of Weakness: Embracing Vulnerability in Product Design,” my student Robert Blinn argues that we are the only species who designs for permanence—for longevity—rather than for an ecosystem in which everything is recycled into everything else. Designers are complicit in this over-engineering of everything we produce (we are terrified of, and often legally risk-averse to, failure), but it is patently obvious that our ways and means are completely antithetical to how planet earth manufactures, tools, and recycles things. We choose inorganic materials precisely because biological organisms cannot consume them, while the natural world uses the same building blocks over and over again. It is indeed Cradle-to-Cradle or cradle-to-grave, I’m afraid.
Stop Making Crap
And that means that we have to stop making crap. It’s really as simple as that. We are suffocating, drowning, and poisoning ourselves with the stuff we produce, abrading, out-gassing, and seeping into our air, our water, our land, our food—and basically those are the only things we have to look after before there’s no we in that sentence. It gets into our bodies, of course, and it certainly gets into our minds. And designers are feeding and feeding this cycle, helping to turn everyone and everything into either a consumer or a consumable. And when you think about it, this is kind of grotesque. “Consumer” isn’t a dirty word exactly, but it probably oughta be.
Mighty words, which we support wholeheartedly here at Inhabitat.
WORKING DESIGNERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!