Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sustainable Philosphy

Materials are one of the key elements of human imagination and designers are always looking for new ideas to form. While there was a time when plastic was invented which changed the world for its properties and is now considered   such a threat to Mother Earth.

As of now the awareness towards sustainability has increased many concepts have come up. Some of being regarding materials are:

·         Recycling-  processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from land filling) by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse gas emissions as compared to virgin production.

·         Up cycling- is a component of sustainability in which waste materials are used to provide new products. It is generally a reinvestment in the environment. "Up cycling is the practice of taking something that is disposable or down cycled and transforming it into something of greater use and value. This process allows for the reduction of waste and virgin material use, or less strain on resources for melting scrap metal.

·         Consume less- two simple words that synthesize the varied solutions to climate change and our diminishing natural resources. Consume Less—of Everything.

·         Going back to earlier times- Before Industrialization Human Behaviour was much sustainable and the level of environmental misbalance was not so much.   

·         New Technology- Using New technology to create intelligent materials that can up counterpart to the need of sustainability required today.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What have changed! ----Major environmental issues

Global warming

Global warming describes the process by which greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere in abnormally high amounts, trapping the Earth’s radiation and causing its temperature to rise significantly. This is linked to environmental problems such as changes in rainfall patterns, rising sea levels and expansion of deserts.


Pollution of air, water and land, resulting from burning of fossil fuels, industrial processes, agriculture, and other human activities, is endangering human health, biodiversity and the built environment.

Ozone depletion

Ozone shields the Earth from ultraviolet (UV) radiation and its depletion is caused by emissions of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances into the atmosphere. Increases in UV radiation are thought to be linked to a rise in skin cancers, damage to the human immune system, and altered crop yields.


A third of the world population is still without access to safe water and, as the global population grows, the need for water will grow, as will waste and pollution which will increasingly threaten the quality of groundwater and rivers.


Some non-renewable resources, including natural gas and petroleum resources, will eventually be depleted. The economically viable extraction of some abundant mineral ores may also be limited. Renewable resources, such as timber, are also at risk of overexploitation.


Deforestation through commercial logging, conversion of forest land to agricultural use, and other
activities causes the destruction of natural habitats and extinction of plant and animal species and exacerbates the effects of global warming and pollution.

Soil degradation

Urbanisation, construction, mining, war, agriculture and deforestation can cause soil degradation.
Soil erosion, increased salination, altered soil structure,drainage capacity and fertilisation can diminish crop yields, increase the risk of flooding and destroy natural habitats.


Increasing amounts of waste add pressure for more landfill sites, which pollute air, soil and groundwater and for more incineration, which pollutes the air and produces generally toxic residue.

Extinction of flora and fauna

The current mass extinction rates of plant and animal species are the culmination of the environmental damage to our planet. Population Global population growth is associated with increases in the human-induced environmental impacts mentioned above.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sustainability is Equity

The principles of sustainability aim to address the problems of environmental degradation and lack of human equality and quality of life, by supporting development that is sustainable in economic and social terms and is capable of retaining the benefits of a healthy stable environment in the long term. Sustainable thinking goes against our primitive instinct of putting ourselves before others in the fight for survival. It rationally prioritises globally favourable long-term solutions over short-term individual gains. Perhaps nature conservation organisations that invest time and money towards saving and protecting natural environments are the closest examples of a non-anthropocentric approach. In reality, most humans would put human survival before that of nature, and many would put human well-being before nature’s survival. The sustainability thinking goes against our primitive instinct for immediate survival. A significant problem the world faces today is that too many people are still struggling to survive and do not have the education or financial means to consider environmental issues at all. There is immense inequality between developed and developing countries: developed countries, on the whole, enjoy provision for health, employment, education and an average gross national product hundreds of times greater than that of some developing countries, Addressing such deprivation and inequality must be a priority for the global community if individuals in developing nations are to be able to consider environmental issues. The current government approach to sustainability, while reflecting an understanding that both environmental health and social inequalities need to be addressed, pragmatically accepts the reality of human behaviour, which makes a socially stable and economically prosperous environment a prerequisite to environmental improvements.

The concept of sustainability now embraces a triple bottom line that addresses social, economic and environmental sustainability concurrently. Social and economic issues are considered of equal importance to environmental issues, despite the fact that many perceive any further deterioration of the environment ultimately as negatively affecting the social and economic well-being of the global population. The current approach and the most used definition of sustainable development – ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (Brundtland 1987) – reflect a deeply anthropocentric position, and while purporting to consider long-term impacts, the focus on human interests may, in fact, prove short-sighted. For most individuals, embracing principles of sustainability, whether adopting an anthropocentric or non-anthropocentric approach, requires a major ethical shift. One of the key concepts of sustainability is equity: equity between all people around the world living today, and also equity between people living today and people living in the future. In addition, a non-anthropocentric approach extends the concept of equity to all species and nature. Embracing the concept of equity requires refocusing away from personal benefits onto the needs and interests of others. Achieving the ambitious goals of sustainability requires a realism that recognises the limitations of humans, but also recognises the urgent need to embrace a different life philosophy. ‘If sustainability is to be achieved, the ethics and values that support it will be just as important as scientificand technological advance’