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June 24, 2020

Now on Video from In/Visible Talks 2020: JD Beltran on “We Created the Consumerism That’s Destroying Our Planet”

“What do designers have to do with climate change?” JD Beltran asked us. Answer: “Everything.”

JD Beltran, Founder & Director of The Center for Impact at California College of the Arts (CCA), wrapped up the In/Visible Talks 2020 conference with a challenge: “We Created the Consumerism That’s Destroying Our Planet—So Now, How Do We Put the Design Engine in Reverse?”

Some of the biggest threats to the health of our climate have come from lifestyle consumerism, she explained in her main stage talk, and she cited the influences of design + marketing + planned obsolescence. (Merriam-Webster defines planned obsolescence as “the practice of making or designing something in such a way that it will only be usable for a short time, so that people will have to buy another one”.)

What can we do?

We can design for need versus desire. We can foster sustainable lust. “We need to design for a circular economy,” she suggested. Reuse, repair, recycle. For example, we could make buying recycled clothing cool, because “designers have superpowers to make things cool.”

Watch the video of JD’s In/Visible Talks 2020 talk below or on Vimeo here, and pick up her ideas and tips for starting more sustainable practices in your own studio.