Design Activism

This week in sustainability, we talked about empathic design through a reading on Design   Activism by Tim Burton. Something I found very interesting was how he mentioned creating objects for people rather than profit. I think this is the key to creating sustainable items. If we focus on who will be using the product rather than how much money we can make, empathic design can come to the forefront of product development.  Another piece of information that Burton hit on was the importance of creating things based on the lifestyle the target market is accustomed to as to not over or underwhelm them. I never considered this but it makes total sense! It wouldn’t be smart to create something so complex and extravagant for a group of people who are used to a simple way of life. Included in design activisim are the different types of captials. In India and other poor countries, creating a shirt requires an incredible amount of human capital and not all is good. Although hiring workers to create a garment pours back into the economy, but at what cost? Yes people are learning skills but the amount of money they are getting paid is unbelievably small. In addition to that, the conditions by which these workers are producing our clothes is shameful. We need to consider the price that had to be paid when we purchase clothing as sometimes it clearly is not worth it.

Sweatshops are a huge problem in the fashion industry. Our economy is so focused on the latest trend and having their clothes when they want it and at the cheapest price possible that they don’t even stop to consider who made it. We need to look into creating clothes that come from businesses who care about the safety and wellbeing of their employees rather than how much money they can make in a short amount of time. I think the only way to fix this problem is to tell everyone about it. To make sure people know of the problem and want to fix it.

Next we discussed the affect we have on our environment based on our CO2 level. I unfortunately had a very high emission rating a lot based on the fact that I fly a lot and am not good about recycling glass. One of my personalized tips for reducing my footprint was to try your hardest to not take as many flights. Unfortunately, being that I am from Minnesota, the only way for me to get home is by plane unless I want to spend 14 hours in a car. I wish I did not have to drive far to visit family however that is not the case. In addition, my roommates and I are not good about recycling glass. I know that if we did, we could save almost 5 grams of CO2 each year, that would definitely make a huge difference!

Finally, homecoming was this past Saturday which means thousands of students have been working very hard at creating extravagant house decs. For months’ Greek students partake in pomping which is the act of placing tissue paper in chicken wire to create beautiful pictures on the lawn of fraternity houses. The problem with pomping however is the amount of waste that is produced. Millions of sheets of paper get used and then simply thrown away the day after homecoming. Although they are beautiful decorations for everyone to enjoy, it seems quite wasteful.

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