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Sustainability 1: Continual Striving

Updated on May 16, 2013
Tree of Life by Rick Zimmerman
Tree of Life by Rick Zimmerman

Some consider design to be merely the creation of a decorative or artistic effect, a disposition of parts in such a way as to achieve or embody some aesthetic vision of a whole. I consider design to be much more: design must achieve some reasoned purpose or intention. And the highest reasoned purpose or intention we can embrace is the betterment of mankind’s lot. Design must make the world a better place.

In a reductive sense, design may be seen as simply doing more with less — more airport gates with less steel, more households with less sprawl, more industry with less pollution, more retail space with less traffic congestion, more productivity with less human labor, more bang for the buck.

However, design at its best is a maximizer: it strives to do more with less on any and all fronts. It strives to create more habitable and useful human spaces with less steel, less sprawl, less pollution, less traffic congestion, and less paved surface (not to mention less habitat loss, less consumption of fossil fuels, less species extermination, less time wasted, less human suffering, less money expended, etc.).

Furthermore, design is dynamic and changing, as opposed to static or eternal. No matter how great or grand St. Peter’s Square or the Parthenon, they hold limited lessons for us. Design must perpetually evolve to meet the demands of ever-evolving human society.

Man’s first shelters of tree and cave were among his first attempts to mediate his environment — in effect, to design a place for himself. The animal skin, fire, tree and cave stood between him and temperature extremes, rain, snow, wind and lightning, as well as predators. Man used what he found in nature to mediate nature, as do we still today. We continue to use elements of the natural world — air, water, fire, plants, trees, stone, wood, metals, coal, oil, and their derivatives — to mediate and moderate nature for our comfort and benefit. Over the millennia, we have continued to refine and adapt man’s first rudimentary attempts at ‘green design’ for ever greater utility, efficiency and sophistication. As we increasingly realize the limits of Earth’s nature and its constraints on human society, we have undertaken ever-greening design to extract more benefit at lower overall cost, to us and to the world we inhabit.

The end goal of much of our undertakings is sustainability: the ability to sustain our planet, our population, our pursuits and our happiness and our wellbeing indefinitely into the future. Whether we realize it or not, as a species, we are continually striving for sustainability.

My purpose here and in continuing articles is to present current and ongoing trends and trains of thought in this striving for sustainability throughout our continually evolving world.  

There are many ways to strive for sustainability
There are many ways to strive for sustainability | Source

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    • munirahmadmughal profile image

      munirahmadmughal 

      8 years ago from Lahore, Pakistan.

      "SUSTAINABILITY 1 : Continual Striving".

      The hub is informative and educative.

      To have amind of goodness is one thing and to actualize it in one's profession is another. How blissful are the people who have focussed thier mind towards the service of mankind in whatever capacity they can.

      Selection of any profession is the choice of every person. The fragrance in it comes when he pratices it in a manner whereby the society is benefited, evil is eradicated and good is promoted.

      How happy will be the Lord when professional profess the goodness of His Creation in words and conduct.

      God bless all.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 

      8 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      I love your hubs. You have a mind of goodness and intelligence for the good of a world. God Bless

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