Whose Sustainability Is This, Anyway? Whose Sustainability Is This, Anyway?

Whose Sustainability Is This, Anyway?

by Alissa Walker

August 19, 2010
The new framework The Living Principles helps designers decide their own definition of sustainability.


But the thing I like best is that The Living Principles does all of this not with a didactic, preachy tone, but with a critical, inquisitive voice. Although it's created as a tool for the eco-savvy design community, it's written for an audience who might not know the difference between an ozone-depleting substance and a hazardous air pollutant (both terms are helpfully defined as part of the site's Words to Know glossary).


At the moment the Living Principles does skew heavily towards graphic design, and the forum has not yet become as active as it should be. And on a site that supposedly gathers dozens of other people's opinions, it's hard to say if the Living Principles itself has an specific point of view. But I feel like I could point someone to this site to give them a fairly complete snapshot of the moment—these are the hot-button topics we're debating and this is where the conversation is going. The conversation part is important, because for the most part sustainability is in flux. What we know about what we make and how it affects the planet is changing every day. We need to freely admit that there is probably not one checklist or manifesto or series of requirements that will ever be universally embraced by the industry. There are solutions out there we're still not sure about—that we should all be questioning. What we need are more resources where current information is clearly presented so we can make up our own minds about the definition of sustainability that's right for us.

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Whose Sustainability Is This, Anyway?