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  • 10.15.08

Is Good Design Bad for the Planet?

You betcha. As somebody with four iPods — from a clunky old fat white one from the Paleolithic era, to a sleek new iPod Touch – I’ll be the first to confess that I’m a sucker for a sexy gadget, an easy mark for a cool new pair of shoes, and utterly irresponsible when it comes to lavishly illustrated design books. Design lust has helped turn my carbon footprint from a dainty size 7 ½ to something Michael Phelps would appreciate. That doesn’t square too well with our current passion for sustainable design.

You betcha. As somebody with four iPods — from a clunky old fat white
one from the Paleolithic era, to a sleek new iPod Touch – I’ll be the
first to confess that I’m a sucker for a sexy gadget, an easy mark for
a cool new pair of shoes, and utterly irresponsible when it comes to
lavishly illustrated design books. Design lust has helped turn my
carbon footprint from a dainty size 7 ½ to something Michael Phelps
would appreciate.
That doesn’t square too well with our current passion for sustainable design.

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Luckily, some of the world’s savviest designers are also grappling with
their own culpability in trashing the planet, and trying to find ways
to make cool stuff that doesn’t consume so many resources, or to use
recyclable materials to create new ones.


Design blogger and author Marcus Fairs recently highlighted some of the best of these,
including a stunning silk scarf by Dutch designer Elsbeth Joy Nielsen,
for London’s “Independent.” Fairs’s book, “Green Design,” will be
published next year.

About the author

Linda Tischler writes about the intersection of design and business for Fast Company.

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