Before we can really make a difference, we need to create discussion, build critical mass and share understanding of the challenge.
In the research for Design Can Change, we were shocked by Phil Hamlett’s comment that designers have fallen behind the business community in their efforts to become sustainable. We must step-up to this challenge and get our peers on board.
As communicators we have many ways to spread the word. One is to use our networks. Meet with fellow designers, talk about this issue and share methods and resources.
Another way is to get involved in your local professional associations and engage them in the topic. Perhaps you can establish a panel discussion on sustainability or speak at conferences where others will take interest.
We can also use the tools of our trade to promote conversation. If you have a publication, website, or blog, write about your sustainability efforts.
In the community
When we become advocates for sustainable design, we also become active partners with those in our community. Together, we can work on building a sustainable future.
Send a press release on this topic out to local media and ask them to look at how important design considerations are if we wish to combat global warming. Additionally, many business associations would welcome a speaker from the design industry to share insights and tips on better practices. Make yourself available to such groups.
For a long time, sustainable practices were perceived as a liability; however, many reports note that major brands see sustainable practices as critical to their survival. Meet with your clients and ask them to consider the importance of sustainable design as it relates to their operations.
With the next generation
Sustainable thinking will become a primary concern in our industry, and as such we must spread this word to the design students who will soon enter professional practice.
If we all take part in this, we can spread the message effectively. Consider calling the faculty of a design institution in your community and talk to design educators about Design Can Change. Ask them to dedicate a class to the topic and encourage their students to take the pledge.
Perhaps you can even dedicate an afternoon and make a presentation to the students about your efforts to become sustainable as a designer. When students learn how pivotal this will be in their future, they will engage in the topic and help us uncover new possibilities.
For those who run studios, we encourage you to publicize your preference for hiring designers who are aware of sustainable design principles. This will help build currency for sustainability-aware designers and learning.