Growing human population, wealth and consumption are creating increased urbanization, industrial production and mining to the extent that we are all collectively contributing to great transformative changes to nature and this shrinking rock we call earth.
“Each of us humans (in the developed world, at least) on average, in our lifetime, uses some 500 tons of sand and gravel, plus limestone, brick clay, and asphalt. From these we create our roads, houses, and foundations, schools, hospitals, restaurants, and multiplex cinemas” – Jan Zalasiewicz
Map of the Human Footprint Via Ocean World
And in a million years instead of dinosaur bones, archeologists will mostly find remains of man made objects like cellphones, old sneakers and crushed yoghurt cups.
A designer’s job is to plan new objects which pave the way for much of human evolution.
So now that humans have become the predominant shapers of the earth’s paleontological, chemical and physical traits, so the role and choices of the designer have also become more serious and impacting.
“Keeping up with the times is the same as staying behind them: you need to keep one step ahead of them.” – Jean Ionesco
I think as designers we are in a sense role models within our specific product fields. We create trends and consumers buy innovative designs which we conceived years ago. As such I think that in order to conceive more sustainable designs we must learn to live more sustainably. Early adopters in every sense we must stay ahead of both our consumers short and long term needs. This in order to further develop ideals and especially in identifying more opportunities in sustainability, so as to create designs that pave the way for a healthy future in this new geological epoch called The Anthropocene.
Because designers are problem solvers, not problem makers.