Designing for Material Well-being in the Age of Climate Change
To meet the needs of society in the transformative age of climate change requires advancing design with futures thinking. Design was born during industrialization and has followed its footsteps of efficiency, technological progress, appeal to materialistic values of society, and recent environmental sensitivity. The approach to sustainable development, that is – more green production met by more green consumption, thus eventually outdating early industrial manufacturing techniques, is a pattern of legacy thinking of the industrial era. It is becoming increasingly evident that even a steady growth of greener goods and manufacturing techniques, accompanied by greener consumer choices, is proving to be a poor strategy in the age of climate change as it is unlikely to lead to sustainable societies in the time nor scale required. The alternative proposed is a drastic reduction of manufacturing along with emissions and pollution, which comes with complex multifaceted challenges, but is nevertheless a likely future scenario. What will material wellbeing of our society look like, with a limited range of goods, limited choices for manufacturing, and limited freedom to make things? As material wellbeing is not only a condition we may obtain by an access to decent goods, but also by liberty to express one’s creativity through making things, to design for the material wellbeing of the future society asks for entirely new methods of thought.