Friday, July 11, 2008

Sustainability and Indian Design industry

I recently came across this article in the Pratt's institute magazine. Its called "Design: A Green Collar Job" by Debera Johnson. We as designers are responsible for the creation of the products,
clothings, publications, advertisements, buildings, interiors, information systems etc.
The list is huge.

Each of us are to play a vital role in the society. One of the most hot topics of conferences happens to be about saving the planet. So there are conferences on Global Warming, climate change and also it also gets a mention in other design conferences like CHI and

One thing that I have noticed is the lack of participation from the Indian Design Industry on the topic of Sustainability.
India, I feel is witnessing the changes that the western world witnessed quite some years back. As we continuously strive to creating better systems, and all things for a better lifestyle, each of
us play a vital role. As the world becomes more complex, and unordered, it will look to
designers to find solutions. With the economic progress that our beloved country is making on many grounds, it is but high time that we start thinking Green on a much larger scale and not just confined to the metros and the big offices.

I am wondering if there is any such data for India, as done by Photographer Chris Jordan's "Running the Number" series. Some of them strikes you in the face.
For Example, In the US, there are two million plastic beverages are discarded every five minutes. And this, one million plastic cups are used on airline flights in the US
every six hours.

With the increase in the affluent middle class in India, the changing cultures and also a lack of proper system for many things, the days ahead do seem to worry many.

In another article that I read, sustainability is based on the three R's. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. I believe we as Indians are good in at-least one of these R's.
Reusing. Remember you having to wear the same clothes that your brother / sister wore when he/she was the same age. Also the same bottles being re-used in journeys to avoid buying new bottles of water? There is no place in India, where you would not see reuse of artifacts. It's there in homes, in shops, and on the streets. I did capture a lot of them while doing photography in India.

The rich tradition of handicrafts and using natural products, has indeed been a good component to thinking Recycling ways, but that just is not enough.

In the school (HCID program) where I go, there is a strong research group on Sustainability and people have been indeed bringing up points that are indeed a concern to the world today. One of the things I was talking there was the sustainability in the developing
nations and what better than India. I am sure and confident that designers can create a bigger impact in the industry than it already is.

I would love to get in touch with Indian Designers looking at Sustainability in an Indian context and work more closely towards some research on this.