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Inhabitat asked me to give my design predictions for 2010.

Here’s the link:


Here’s my words, and yes, I was fairly depressed by Copenhagen result, and it might have tainted my writings:

Green Design 2010:

Given that no binding agreement was reached in Copenhagen, there will likely be no national or international pressure to do real green-house reductions, and hence it is very likely that 2010 green design will be an undertaking of those trying to greenwash their companies. Very likely we’ll see many people misusuing terminology and physical units to overmarket products that aren’t really going to cut the mustard. Remember that a climate friendly world means a reduction in carbon of 80%, that means 5 X less carbon that we produce today, by 2050 or probably even earlier. Given that, we’ll see lots of designs begging you to buy this or that thing because it’s twice as good, or 25% better than some consumer thingy that it replaces. Well, that’s not good enough. It has to be 5 or 10 times better, or 500-1000% better, to really be a good green thing. If we are lucky a few companies will start to realize that the only way to make truly green consumer products will be by making them heirloom products, things that will last for multiple generations, be repairable without a magnifying glass or a PhD, and made from lasting materials like wood, stainless steel, copper, & aluminum. I predict a huge number of car companies will claim 100mpg plug-in hybrids, and all of them will be lying, because they are only counting the energy in the gasoline, not the energy required to produce the electricity that charges the batteries that most likely came from a coal fired power plant. Yes, 2010 will be like 2009, only probably worse, with a whole lot of very ordinary design sold to us as green. We still don’t have a generation of designers who are literate in climate and energy issues, so they’ll spend their time writing marketing spin instead.

So, what might be the best of green design for 2010 are the things that don’t get designed. Don’t design me a new iPhone, figure out how to make my old one last. Don’t design me a new “green house”, figure out how to make the one I have more efficient. Don’t sell me physical objects, help me re-purpose the ones I have or otherwise give me digital tools for a higher quality of life that don’t require Chinese injection moldings.

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