Read: How to Transform the Textiles Economy

It’s high time we shake up the destructive take-make-dispose textile model and transform it into a circular one that’s better for people and environment. This report tells us how. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, textile production contributes 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year—more than international flights and maritime shipping combined. Add to that the leaching of …

Method: Making Bottles from Recovered Ocean Plastic

Maker: Method Challenge: “It’s estimated that several million tons of plastic makes its way into our oceans every year, polluting the environment and hurting our marine populations. and the problem isn’t going away anytime soon as more plastic washes up on beaches everyday.” Solution: “With the help of local beach clean-up groups and volunteers, Method has collected more than a ton of …

Watch: Fashion Industry Innovator Paul Dillinger Shares His Story

Paul Dillinger, head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss & Co is challenging fashion industry standards and helping reimagine a new, sustainable design method and business model. In this video by the Aspen Institute, Dillinger tells his story about challenging industry standards, and his current work rewriting the rules for sustainability and design in fashion and at Levis. You can also learn more about Dillinger’s …

Jets Pearl: The Vacuum Toilet That Uses 90% Less Water to Flush

Maker: Jets Challenge: Increasing volumes of sewage worldwide that requires sanitation, coupled with traditional gravity water toilets which demand far too much of our precious energy and fresh water resources to function. Solution: The Jets Pearl vacuum toilet uses 90% less water than the conventional toilet—which comes out to less than 1 litre (1/4 gallon) of water per flush. This toilet, and Jets’ other vacuum systems, use …

+ POOL: The World’s First Water-Filtering, Floating Pool

Maker: PlayLab, Inc.  Challenge: The water in New York City’s East River is too dirty and contaminated for the city’s 8 million plus people to swim in. Solution: A floating, plus-shaped community pool with a layered filtration system to remove bacteria and contaminants without the use of chemicals or additives. Results: This is a solution that helps ensure the sustainable management and sanitation of …

What Does Landscape Architecture Have to do with the SDGs?

Quite a lot, actually. More than the creator of beautiful outdoor spaces, a landscape architect employs systems-thinking on a daily basis— designing spaces that maintain balance and harmony between the built and natural environments while at the same time fulfilling the myriad of objectives stipulated by their design briefs. An engaging botanical garden which restores an abandoned city lot, while at the same time maximizing …

The Ocean Cleanup: Capturing Plastics with Passive Design

MAKER: Boyan Slat and the Ocean Cleanup Foundation  CHALLENGE: Millions of tons of plastic are collecting in our oceans, resulting in damaged ecosystems and corrupted food chains. The Great Pacific garbage patch, located within the North Pacific Gyre, is estimated to be as much as 15,000,000 square kilometers in size. A traditional cleanup approach is estimated to take thousands of years to complete and billions of dollars. SOLUTION: Boyan Slat …

What is Human-Centered Design?

If you want to create successful solutions and real impact through your designs, keep the people you intend to serve at the heart of your process, every step of the way.  This is what Human-centered design tells us. As defined by IDEO.org, an international design and consulting firm working to improve people’s lives through design, Human-centered design is a three-phase process all about “building a deep empathy …

Biomimicry: Adopting Proven, Sustainable Solutions Inspired by Nature

What if the sustainable solutions we’ve been seeking have existed in front of us all this time? According to biomimicry, that’s exactly the case. All around us in our environment and its systems, in the plants and animals and insects, we see evidence of perfectly executed, and perfectly sustainable, design, architecture, planning, and engineering. The Biomimicry Institute is a superb resource for learning …