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Sustainable Design: Can You Destroy the World?

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

The history and future of eco-friendly design practices and how we can make a difference.

Personal discovery and growth: diving into inner self


The answer is you can’t, unless you have super powers that nobody is aware of or if you know how to make an atomic bomb at home. But for so many years, with unconscious design, production, consumption and the help of billions of people who act like you, why not?!

However, as a responsible individual of this universe, if you are aiming to leave a better world for future generations, sustainability should be a concept that you fully embrace.

I wish the explanation of sustainability was less academic, simpler and more fun. Let’s take a closer look at the subject in order to fully understand this concept, which is often confused with eco-design in many places, to assimilate this concept for better tomorrows.

Sustainable Design: A Historical Perspective (H2)

The birth of sustainability is associated with the concept of industrial design, based on producing standard objects for collective use. One of the first known examples of this concept of industrial design is found in a battle thousands of years ago. The archers of the 1st Chinese emperor, who followed a pervasive policy, were themselves making their own springs for use during wars. But when the archers were killed, the arrows of the others didn’t fit the bows of the killed archers. The emperor then decided that a standard bow and arrow should be made with the advice of his advisors. This is the first known example of standardization.

The Evolution of Sustainability in Design (H2)

Although it is a natural instinct for humans over thousands of years to have standardisation and design, for example, the design has become a profession in under two centuries in the modern sense and for the designers who give this title to themselves. However, even in this case, mankind has been thinking about sustainability for the past 30–40 years. In other words, humanity has been moving to the right place since ancient China, at a very slow pace, as a reaction to the harmful effects of two centuries-old industrialists.

Why Sustainability Matters Now (H2)

What was the reason for this awakening? In nature, while all non-human beings learn to live harmoniously with nature, mankind is transforming nature into its own favour. This forced transformation effort; combined with extreme population growth, urbanization, industrialization and consumption frenzy, the irreversible effects have begun to appear in concrete terms. Eventually, it became clear that humanity is now heading towards a point where it is irreversible. In a nutshell, after all these things, humanity could reach consensus on the principle of ‘there is no other world and we should start acting to save it’.

What is Sustainable Design? (H2)

As a solution to this problem, it is necessary to descend to the source of the problem, design. Because if a consciousness can be grafted at the design stage, most of the problems would have been solved, but we have a lot of ways to get there, as the issue concerns capital owners who decide what is more profitable and what we will have.

How You Can Contribute (H2)

Let us return to the subject again; what is sustainability and what is not? Eco-friendly approaches — sometimes right or wrong — are called ‘sustainable’. However, sustainability does not necessarily mean to produce from recycled materials other than eco-design. For example, if there is no facility in our country to recycle a product made from recycled material, you could use as much recyclable material as you like and it will be arguable how environmentally friendly that product is and how sustainable.


You are so good here, but now stand firm because you will read the definition as a paragraph. All stages such as raw materials, life expectancy, user’s desire for consumption or other behaviours caused by energy consumption and life span are considered under the concept of sustainability. Therefore, sustainability is a concept that collects under one roof many concepts such as; environment, world, raw material, recycling, eco-system, in order to leave a more liveable world to future generations.

But how do I make a contribution to this topic, you know the answers? Use mostly bicycles and public transport, use less water, electricity and so on. Try to buy products with recycled packaging, and do not pay for products or brands that you think pollute nature. When going shopping, bring a cloth bag and do not buy goods if they are unnecessary (yes, unfortunately it includes shoes as well). In summary, do not think about the universe and its resources endlessly, but leave something for future generations.

Of course, if you do not want to be the one to be accused, ‘when the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned’.




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