Can design help offset the raise of consumption in Asia?
Asia is gearing up for a strong growth in next following years, with the latest forecasts from international financial institutions adding to the upbeat trend.
However, with the rapid rise in the rate development, what will it mean our ecological footprint considering almost half of the worlds population reside in it localities?
It is a well known fact that it would take the resources of over five Earths to sustainably support our lifestyle if everyone relied on one car per commuter, purchasing a new phone every 12 months and generally consuming like its running out tomorrow. Currently, over 7 billion of us are consuming about 50% more resources than Earth is producing.
However with the forecast showing a rapid rise in economy, in what ways can design help the very people jumping from drinking murky water into drinking fancy white wine, ease the progression from a sustainable lens?
Although not necessarily a design focus action, learning from the mistakes of yesterdays past would be the most obvious answer. Solar power being brought to developing countries and directly skipping the burning of fossil fuel would be a great example of this. Progressing from this, the ability of gaining from the mistakes of other countries can also be found in the sustainable method of ‘leap frogging’.
The concept of leapfrogging entails a product service or a system to be directly accelerated within the confines of a new environment. This skips inferior, less efficient and expenses put into the development of products, and provide them with more up to date models. Leapfrogging empowers and neutralizes the playing field, however most importantly avoids environmentally harmful stages of development.
Adding onto this, closed loop cycling tackles the problem of waste head on…How? By not producing any at all. Closing the loop means moving from traditional design, being the making, the use and then the disposal – to how the waste when reaching its ‘end of life’ could be re fed into the system via recycling.
Although the consumption levels of us as a race will inevitably continue to rise, with the help of smart manufacturing and thinking with a more sustainable lens, design deffinantly can help offset the aforementioned consumption level by tackling the issue before it even reaches the consumer.