Modern Contemporary Design


Lloyd Alter at wrote a blog post today on my 2009 Design Top 5 and my assertion that, for me, 2009 was the year that sustainable design and architecture became simply design and architecture. He cordially disagreed.

To which I say have you ever been to I actually agree with Lloyd on the number one rule of sustainability; consume less.

The economy being what it is, we are now all… consuming less. But that’s because we have to, not because we want to (by we read the bigger “we”, not the readers of Treehugger). My point was not about consumption, in fact one might think I was advocating for consumption, “it’s green, we can buy as much as we want, guilt free!” No, my point was that as of 2009 almost anything could be designed in a sustainable way AND look just as good as or better than the non-sustainable products that came before. My fault for not making that clearer.

Lloyd did notice that I was careful to point out that we had a ways to go before these design solutions were truly sustainable. To the point; cars, large single family homes and large private pools are not sustainable, the water and air purifiers, questionable. They can be made sustainably, but they are not sustainable solutions.

The green movement is evolving, in fact cleaving, into two groups; those who believe that we can maintain our consuming lifestyle by buying green versions of what we bought before (50% of the content of Treehugger & MoCo) and those who believe that consuming must be dramatically reduced to be truly sustainable, see rule #1 above. Maybe sustainable consumption needs to be renamed, call it “green” instead of sustainable and reserve the word sustainable for only the truly sustainable. Treehugger and Planet Green are big enough to make this kind of change a reality. Hint hint, nudge nudge, say no more. 😉

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