This week I was absent in class on Tuesday so I missed the discussion about Design Activism. I was able to read the article discussed in class, Design Activism by Tim Brown. I found a lot of interesting points from the section titled “Sometimes the Thing To Do is Stay at Home”. In this section Brown touches on problems going on around the United States, like childhood obesity which he stated as reaching “epidemic proportions”. This was eye opening to me because I have witnessed the change in the number of obese children just in my lifetime. One of my friends has Type 2 Diabetes, which was originally called adult-onset diabetes. The name has now changed because it is no longer just adults who get it, but children as well. My friend started taking insulin when we were just in middle school. Brown touched on different initiatives people have started to try and tackle the problem like incorporating healthy foods into school lunches and educating kids about where there food comes from and healthy options.
From what I gathered on my own, Design Activism does not cater to specific niche categories. It is “Targeted to a VERY broad audience and its intent is for the higher good of many (most inclusive design paradigm). I think Design Activism is a great approach for designers to take to better the society, economy, and future of our planet. There are many different areas that Design Activism can be applied to, some of them include: poverty, hunger, education, health and sustainability. I think when targeted correctly it can be very effective. I think the difference between active design and design activism is that active design is designing for a healthier more active lifestyle and design activism is recognizing a problem and coming up with a design solution to help generate awareness, and help combat the issue.
I think a major problem that I recognize and find very relevant to myself and my generation is laziness/ being wasteful. Because my generation grew up in a different time than generations before us, we have been accustomed to technology and having things available to us at the touch of a button and in a timely manner. I believe this has contributed to both our laziness and wastefulness. We do not realize the impact we have on the environment and economy as a whole. What we have talked about in class that has really stood out to me was that we (consumers) really have a big say in what companies do. If we do not like the practices of a brand like the way they treat their employees or their unsustainable practices, we have the choice and spending power to make a change. Because I am now more aware of my purchasing decisions I will be more conscious of how I may be influencing and making change (for better or worse) by the products I buy.
On Thursday we had the opportunity to learn more about AATCC from a guest speaker who came to talk in class. AATCC is a Not-for-profit professional association devoted to design, textile chemistry, and advanced fibrous materials. There are more than 2,600 members and they act as a resource to the industry. We talked a lot about misrepresentation in the industry and how some products say they are “organic” but it is truly more complex than just “organic” fibers. We also talked a lot about Greenpeace and their “Dirty Laundry” that they publish. I think that is very important, because how would consumers really know what goes on behind the door if there weren’t people inspecting and checking on the conditions. I found the guest speaker to be very informative and interesting to listen to. It was nice to have someone come and talk about their perspective and part they play in the sustainability journey.