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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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Okala l.jpg

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]

Okala

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 l.jpg
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.


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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:


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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


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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...


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Forests

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

Image found at greenoptions.com/category/palm_oil


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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An Earthly TimeLine

Image found at englishrussia.com/?p=276


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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


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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


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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/


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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


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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/


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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


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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...


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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


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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


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References

  • 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.


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