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Okala - Learning Ecological Design - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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This lesson on ecological design was developed by: Scott A. Warner, Ed.D., IDSA Associate Professor Department of Industry and Technology Millersville University of Pennsylvania PO BOX 1002 Millersville, PA 17551 Phone:(717)-872-3365 FAX:(717)-872-3318 [email protected]

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This lesson on ecological design was developed by:

Scott A. Warner, Ed.D., IDSA

Associate Professor

Department of Industry and Technology

Millersville University of Pennsylvania

PO BOX 1002

Millersville, PA 17551



[email protected]


learning ecological design

Quotes and statistics are from the booklet Okala; developed by Steve Belletire, IDAA, Louise St. Pierre, IDSA, and Philip White, IDSA for the Ecodesign Section of the Industrial Designers Society of America © 2007

okala oqala from the hopi language meaning life sustaining energy
Okala: (oqala)from the Hopi language, meaning life sustaining energy
  • The energy used to create, develop, manufacture and use products can sustain life on this planet, rather than deplete it.
  • Implies a forward and optimistic view
  • Designers who persistently seek out ecological design work will have the greatest opportunity to make a meaningful difference.
some sobering statistics
Some Sobering Statistics
  • The natural environment has always been affected by the presence of human beings
  • Since the beginning of the Industrial Age (approximately 1750) the environmental impact of human activity has increased exponentially
  • The consumer driven economy we live in now has only made that impact worse
  • Statistics that reflect that include:
global temperatures
Global Temperatures
  • The global temperature averaged 57.4 degrees F in 1965 and 58.6 degrees in 2006. A raise of 8 degrees F would turn all of the earth’s land surface into desert scrub except for the most Northern and most Southern latitudes.

Image found at www.nwhi.org/index/habdescriptions

melting ice caps
Melting Ice Caps
  • Ice on the North and South poles and Greenland is melting at an alarming rate; if half of Greenland’s ice melts, the oceans worldwide could raise 20 feet.

Image found at www.surveygalaxy.com/show_sur_form.asp?survey...

  • Nearly half of the world’s old growth forests are gone.

Image found at greenoptions.com/category/palm_oil

human population
Human Population
  • Human population will grow from 6.1 billion to 9 billion by 2050.
  • Most of that growth will occur in increasingly industrialized countries such as China and India.

Image found at www.bartellonline.com/chinapic.php?i=7500

fish stocks
Fish Stocks
  • The 1950-1997 oceanic fish harvest grew from 19 million to 95 million tons, resulting in major declines of many species.

Image found at www.janetdavisphotography.com/awards.html

declining bio diversity
Declining Bio-Diversity
  • 11% of all birds, 25% of all mammals and 34% of all fish species are on endangered species lists. 50 % of all tropical plant species are at risk of extinction.
  • The cause is destruction of habitats from human interference, pollution and climate change.

Image found at www.kidsplanet.org/factsheets/esa.html

farming the environment
Farming & the Environment
  • Arable cropland demand is converting forests to land used for non-biologically diverse crop species.

Image found at www.agriculture.purdue.edu/.../index.html

time for a thought experiment
Time for a Thought Experiment
  • What would the world be like without humans?
  • How long would it take to get rid of all signs that we had been here?

Image found at www.tred.cl/fgf_blog/index.php?paged=2

an earthly timeline
An Earthly TimeLine

Image found at englishrussia.com/?p=276

what can a designer do
What Can a Designer Do?
  • Design with Innovation
  • Use Low-Impact Materials
  • Use Optimized ManufacturingTechniques
  • Design for Efficient Distribution
  • Design for Low-Impact Use of the Product
  • Design for an Optimized Product Lifetime
  • Plan the Product for an Optimized End of Life
design with innovation
Design with Innovation
  • Rethink how to provide the benefit
  • Serve needs provided by associated products
  • Anticipate technological change and build in flexibility
  • Provide product as service
  • Share among more users
  • Design to mimic nature
  • Use living organisms in the product

Image found at www.ldeo.columbia.edu/.../pages/velcro.html

use low impact materials
Use Low-Impact Materials
  • Avoid materials that damage human health, ecological health, or deplete resources
  • Use minimal materials
  • Use renewable materials
  • Use waste byproducts
  • Use thoroughly tested materials
  • Use recycled or reused materials

Image found at www.flexiblelove.com/products/

use optimized manufacturing techniques
Use Optimized Manufacturing Techniques
  • Design for ease of production quality control
  • Minimize manufacturing waste
  • Minimize energy in production
  • Minimize number of production methods and operations
  • Minimize number of components/materials

Image found at www.homeworkingsolutions.co.uk/.../index.cfm

design for efficient distribution
Design for Efficient Distribution
  • Reduce product and packaging weight
  • Use reusable or recyclable packaging
  • Use an efficient transport system
  • Use local production and assembly

Image found at www.inhabitat.com/category/graphics-packaging/

design for low impact use of the product
Design for Low-Impact Use of the Product
  • Minimize emissions. / Integrate cleaner or renewable energy sources
  • Reduce energy inefficiencies
  • Reduce water use inefficiencies
  • Reduce material use inefficiencies

Image found at www.srptoilethire.co.uk/units.php

design for optimized product lifetime
Design for Optimized Product Lifetime
  • Build in user’s desire to care for product long term
  • Design for take-back programs
  • Build in durability
  • Design for maintenance and easy repair
  • Design for upgrades
  • Design for second life with different function
  • Create timeless look or fashion

Image found at www.dkimages.com/discover/Home/Sports-Games-R...

plan the product for optimized end of life
Plan the Product for Optimized End-of-Life
  • Integrate methods for product collection
  • Provide for ease of disassembly
  • Provide for recycling or down-cycling
  • Design reuse, or “next life of product”
  • Provide for reuse of components
  • Provide ability to biodegrade
  • Provide for safe disposal

Image found at www.city.davis.ca.us/pw/recycle/rebuy.cfm

final thoughts
Final Thoughts
  • Keeping an ecological perspective should be important to a product designer
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle are the “three R’s” of product design
  • The Okala approach to product design is the way to succeed as a designer
  • Educators of design have an obligation to encourage the Okala approach in the work of their students
  • Belletire, S., Pierre, L. & White, P. (2007). Okala: Learning ecological design. Pheonix, AZ: IDSA
  • Weisman, A. (2007). The world without us. New York: St. Martin’s.