Sustainable Design – Plastics, the Oceans and a Unit/Projects we must ALL continuously do?

As teachers of Design Technology I feel it is incumbent upon up to ensure that the basics of what a good designer must focus on are imprinted on our students minds. I have always been a strong advocate of the IB ensuring that the Design Technology course focuses on sustainable design and as each year passes this focus should and must be strengthened not in simply the teaching of one unit, but in all that we teach in our Design Technology classes.

What started with the plastic whale, and continues to mount with the revelation that we produce and bring into this world a million plastic bottles a minute has now become an issue that is becoming one of the major problems of our times and only with education of our future designers can the world make a change.

To this end here are a few more resources brought together that can help inspire, educate students within sustainable design … and hopefully this goes beyond Design Technology and every school must also have areas such as CAS projects devoted to this area.

  • If you ever get the chance to work with the Ellen MacArthur foundation and their work on the circular economy then DO! Their message is a strong one – that after 30+ years of recycling where are we, alongside the question “Is less bad good enough? Check out their website and educational resources for ideas how not only as a Design Technology teacher / student or department but how your school can buy into and educate for a change.
  • The amount of plastics in the ocean is unsustainable and it is not about stopping the plastics from entering the oceans but also clearing them up beyond those admirable beach cleanups many are involved in. Here is a fabulous but simple piece of design and engineering to clean up our oceans. Wouldn’t it be great – if we could combine power generation with waste clear up in the ocean? Any one out there willing to take up this idea and build on the bio-mimicry of blow holes, to make energy from waves and clear the ocean?

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