Designing for Environmental Good

We need to wake up and realize that our efforts to promote social and environmental good are at best flawed. Many a woman and man has come forward and given everything to fight for civil rights and social justice. Yet, here we are in 2021 and people are still at each others throats and sound one way while on Social Media. But present differently through the way the lead there lives. Colin Kapernick, in efforts to bring a spotlight to the continued police brutality and systemic racism, gave up his professional career as an NFL quarterback. In reaction to him being “persona non gratis”, there was a large call for the NFL to be boycotted. Yet, millions continued to support their teams and players continued to play.

I believe this campaign is how we need to move forward with everything. Social good and justice in my opinion will always be an uphill battle. Until we are all the same color or classified as one race; there will always be resistance. Cynical but true, at lest in my opinion.

So lets design to change something that we can effectively change. Environmental good is not only good for us but good for future generations. But we can no longer design like this. This is clearly an ineffective way to talk about serious climate change or environmental good. Yes this is great to reach the next generation but there also needs to be a more effective message that reaches the ones in power.

Designing in regards to promoting environmental good. Instead of building new structures to house people, that require the use of new materials. Convert old spaces into viable living spaces for our increasing population. Or go a step further and instead of completely changing the landscape, design to the fit the landscape.

Admittedly there comes an issue with that of turning old buildings into new living and retail spaces. The ugly head of gentrification. That is a whole-nother level of social good discussion. So instead of going down the rabbit hole and getting lost in climate change lets take a look at some effective efforts in design and the positivity of environmental design.

I think these are two examples of effective efforts to bringing attention to environmental good. They are not generalized ads to save (insert cause). These are to very specific messages. Yes the sugar cone with the melting earth is a little broad, but I think we get the point of climate change and global warming. Now the gun turning to smoke stack is brilliant!! Nothing more synonymous with killing than a gun. Straight forward and I think understood across many generations.

Now in the realm of packaging design and beyond, these are but a few examples. Loop is brought to us from parent company TERRACYCLE, whose global mission to eliminate the idea of waste. By giving another option other than recycling. Basically, its what many people have been doing for years when going to markets that promote using your own containers or the reuse of containers for bulk products. Their goal of breaking from the cycle of use and toss to use and reuse seems to be taking traction as there increasing presence in worldwide grocers. My new favorite is packaging that has a second life. These compostable packaging of the oranges also promotes the lessening of food waste.

There is a way to a better world in both the realm of the environment and social good. We just need to find a way to combine the two .

The only thing is that we need to do this on all levels of society. Not just in white suburbia, this has to be a change in every neighborhood.

What Rock the Vote!! Meant to me.

Its hard to think for myself as to… wait I actually remember when I became aware that politicians were speaking to me! As a young 17yr old, dying to escape the backward values of Oklahoma.I remember Bill Clinton taking questions on MTV and Rock The Vote. Unfortunately I missed the opportunity to help “ROCK THE VOTE”.

Rock the Vote, founded in 1990 by Jeff Ayeroff


I mean this spoke to many of us in High School. I grew up as an Army Brat; for those who are not familiar with the term it means: a kid whose parent (usually dad) was in the military and kinda lived in a strange limbo between on base and off base realities. Being the son of an enlisted man also meant a couple different things. 1) your mom was usually from another country( Korea,Germany or somewhere in Central America) 2) by default you were Republican. Well for me my mom is from Panama and I’ve been a democrat since being able to vote except I did vote Republican once. Good ol’ boy George W. Bush. Anyhow it was a strange new feeling that our opinions mattered. Many of us paraded around the school with the Seniors wearing our Clinton or Perot pins. Some wore Bush. Other than the design of different ways to make your name an running mate look like a flag. The design for us was through that of MTV and publications like the Rolling Stone. But the pins really say alot.

Wow, that last one I’m sure is very disheartening for many. I wonder how it makes people question the values of this campaign? I’m sure that the men and women who voted for Clinton in ’92 and ’96 felt the same way about that flag as they feel about it today and another flag that was flown about as blatantly in the past 4 years.


The flag to the right speaks to and warrants the same feelings as the image of the confederate flag in the Clinton/Gore pin above. So how is it that a campaign that spoke to so much change and created a lot of positive change for our country chose to use that pin to promote their political campaign? Surely part of it comes from the fact that Bill was once the Governor of Arkansas and that just so happens to be in the “South”. But does it work? When your also pushing for racial equality?

There was a direct approach to the MTV generation. A smart design to get the youth activated and to go and vote. Young people with fresh ideas and the desire to be part of Al Gores drive to end climate change. At this time in life I felt empowered to make a change. Having multiple candidates to choose from. Where there seemed at least a slight glimmer of hope from any of the 3 candidates. Unlike this past election, where the only hope that our world around us wouldn’t burn is by removing the incumbent by whatever means.

The Rock The Vote approach should have been the glance into the future of running a campaign. Either through the use of the WorldWideWeb that was so new to us or through the designing of different approaches to the same campaign (as we saw above in the Clinton pins). Now instead of MTV we have social media.

With the growing use of social media and its influence. A lot of the thought and research to which politician you backed and the platform or campaign that their promoting has been designed and gift wrapped for our consumption. So as to make it easier to discover what they are really for and who that they stand for. But with this ease should also come a sense of precaution. Because no matter your thinking on the validity of the person running for office and the campaign that they run, there are a myriad of influencers behind them. The South has been historically a Democratic Party. But just because your a Democrat or a Republican shouldn’t automatically define your principles.

The rock the vote campaign was very successful and its mark is still felt today. But I really wish there had been more voice to the blatant use of the confederate flag on the pins in the ’93 election. Regardless of the pin thank you for exercising your ability to go out and ROCK THE VOTE!!