What is Sustainable Graphic Design? In Flourishing, John Ehrenfeld writes that “The key to doing something about sustainability is that you first have to say what it is that you want to sustain.” So, to define sustainable graphic design then we first must define what it is we are sustaining. Sustainable graphic design is design in service of what you want to sustain. Ehrenfeld wants to sustain “that all humans and other life should flourish.” Bruce Mau described "Massive Change" similarly: “Our project is the welfare of all life.” Sustainable graphic design is then perhaps best defined as “graphic design in support of all life flourishing.” Sustainable Graphic Design is thus very different than status quo design. "All life flourishing" is not the traditional goal of business, culture, and design. Sustainable graphic design doesn’t solely rely on better materials or more socially conscious manufacturing. If sustainable graphic design is different than regular design, it requires different ways of thinking and making. Sustainable graphic design should also potentially carry with it different styles/aesthetics/outcomes. (All design is ideological, how some looks reflects what ideologies it promotes, etc.)
It would make little sense to transport iPhones parts, Amazon wares, sweatshop clothes, or citytrippers with sailing ships. A sailing ship is more than a technical means of transportation: it implies another view on consumption, production, time, space, leisure, and travel.
A lot of freight and passengers would not be travelling if it were not for the high speeds and low costs of today’s airplanes and container ships.
Andrew Simons: “On the EcoClipper500 there needs to be a manageable compromise between energy use and comfort. Energy use on board will have to be actively managed. Resources are finite, just like for the planet. In many ways the ship is a microcosm of challenges that the wider world has to face and find solutions to.”
How can life increase order when the Universe must always decrease its order, as mandated by the second law? Schrödinger’s answer was that life has to feed on ‘negative entropy’ or free energy – what we more typically call food and sunlight. The second law mandates that the amount of order in sunlight that is destroyed when it heats up our planet must be greater than the amount of order generated by a growing plant.
I dream of this world where geography classes teach about the climate crisis as this one greatest challenge that was won by people like you and me, who had started acting in time because they understood they had nothing to lose and everything to win.
If you're a singer, sing about this. If you're a teacher, teach about this. And if you have a bank account, tell your bank you're going to leave if they keep investing in fossil fuels.