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課程來源:TED
     

 

Leyla Acaroglu 談紙優於塑膠?如何反思環保傳說

Leyla Acaroglu: Paper beats plastic? How to rethink environmental folklore

 

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.

講者:Leyla Acaroglu

2013年2月演講,2014年2月在TED2013上線

 

翻譯:洪曉慧

編輯:朱學恒

簡繁轉換:洪曉慧

後制:洪曉慧

字幕影片後制:謝旻均

 

影片請按此下載

MAC及手持裝置版本請按此下載

閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

關於這場演講

談到環境時,大多數人都想做正確的事。但永續發展策略家Leyla Acaroglu說,情況並非如選擇紙袋般簡單。她果敢地呼籲大家,別再執著於「綠色迷思」,應廣泛思考,創造能減輕地球壓力的系統和產品。

 

關於Leyla Acaroglu

Leyla Acaroglu採用創新設計及系統性思維,創造正面改變。

 

為什麼要聽她演講

Leyla Acaroglu打破我們根深蒂固的環保傳說迷思,揭露我們每天使用之產品及材料的真正影響。身為設計師及顧問的Acaroglu,鼓勵企業及個人審視他們創造及使用之產品的整個生命週期,以瞭解它們對環境的淨影響。在Eco Innovators,一間以環保理念為出發點的澳洲設計工作室,Acaroglu的團隊將獲獎設計及項目融合幽默感,以進行環保教育。從講解手機生命週期的動畫,到以廢棄木材製成的書架,到協助修復及重新利用毀壞之日常用品的工作室,目標在於建立明智、以科學為基礎的永續措施。

 

「Acaroglu新穎的創意系列項目,不僅為修正她所謂的『公關問題』帶來希望,也能激勵人們參與。」

-Dan Rule,The Age,2011年3月19日

 

Leyla Acaroglu的英語網上資料

Website: Eco Innovators

Twitter: @EcoInnovators

 

[TED科技‧娛樂‧設計]

已有中譯字幕的TED影片目錄(繁體)(簡體)。請注意繁簡目錄是不一樣的。

 

Leyla Acaroglu 談紙優於塑膠?如何反思環保傳說

 

想像一下你在超市裡,準備買些日用品,你可選擇使用塑膠或紙質購物袋。如果你想為環境盡一份心力,會選擇哪一種?

 

大多數人選擇紙袋。好,我們想想為什麼。首先它是棕色的,因此肯定有利於環境;它可生物降解、可重複使用,在某些情況下,還可回收利用。因此當人們看著塑膠袋時,很可能聯想到類似這樣的畫面。我們都知道這相當糟,我們無論如何都應避免這種對環境的破壞。但人們往往不會想到類似這樣的情形。這是另一個極端,當我們生產原料時,需從環境中獲取,不免對環境造成一連串影響。

 

知道嗎?事實上,當我們需要做複雜的選擇時,我們人類喜歡簡單的解決方法,因此總是尋求簡單的解決之道。我從事設計相關工作,我為設計師及創新者提供永續性方面的建議。大家總是對我說:「喔,Leyla,我只想用生態材料。」

 

我說,「嗯,這非常複雜,我們得花四小時討論生態材料真正的定義。」因為以某種程度來說,任何材料都來自大自然,決定影響環境程度的是你使用材料的方式。因此情況是,我們必須仰賴某種直覺架構來做決定,因此我習慣稱這種直覺架構為環保傳說。好,它或許是浮現在你腦海裡的小聲音,或許是你做了正確選擇時那種對的感覺,例如當你選擇使用紙袋,或當你買了一輛節能車時。環保傳說相當重要,因為我們試著做正確的事。但我們如何得知是否確實減少對環境的淨影響,以個人、專家及社會整體對自然環境所採取的行動來說?

 

因此環保傳說的認知往往基於我們的經驗,我們從他人口中聽來的訊息,通常並非基於任何科學框架。這相當困難,因為我們生活在極複雜的系統中。我們擁有彼此交流、聯繫的人類系統;我們擁有完整構建的社會;我們有工業系統,基本上相當於整個經濟體系。這一切都必須在最大、也是我認為最重要的生態系統中運行。知道嗎?我們以個人身份所做的選擇,或在各自崗位上所做的選擇,無論社會階級高低,都對這些系統有所影響。關鍵是,我們必須找出方法,如果我們確實希望在這些息息相關的複雜系統中尋求永續性,做更好的選擇,增加環境效益。我們需要做的是學習「事半功倍」。我們的人口不斷增加,每個人都對手機愛不釋手,尤其在這種場合,因此我們需要找出創新方法,解決我們所面臨的問題。

 

這就是所謂的「生命週期概念」發揮作用的時候了。因此基本上,所有被創造出的東西都得經歷一系列生命週期階段,我們使用這個稱為生命週期評估的科學過程,或在美國,你們稱之為生命週期分析,以便更清楚瞭解,我們在這些系統中所做的一切技術性層面如何影響自然環境。因此我們一路回溯到提取原料的階段,然後觀察製造、包裝運輸、使用及壽終正寢階段。在每個階段中,我們所做的事都與自然環境產生作用。我們可觀察這種交互作用,如何實際影響那些使地球適於生存的系統和資源。藉由這種做法,我們學習到一些相當令人感興趣的事,也打破了許多迷思。

 

因此,首先有個使用率相當高的字眼,經常用於市場行銷;我想,當談到永續性相關話題時也經常出現,那就是「生物降解性」。好,生物降解性是一種物質屬性,並非環境效益的定義,容我解釋一下。當某些天然物質、某種纖維素製成的東西,例如一片麵包、任何食物殘渣、甚至一張紙;當某種天然物質在自然環境中結束生命時,它會自然分解,它在生長過程中所形成的碳分子將以二氧化碳形式自然地回歸大氣層。但這是理想狀況,大部份天然材料構成的物品並非在大自然中結束生命。我們製造的大部分廢棄物最終進入垃圾掩埋場,垃圾掩埋場的環境大不相同。在垃圾掩埋場中,同樣的碳分子以不同方式降解。因為垃圾掩埋場屬於厭氧環境,其中沒有氧氣,廢棄物緊密堆積,且處於高溫,同樣的分子變成甲烷。甲烷造成的溫室效應比二氧化碳強25倍,因此我們扔掉的過期生菜及其他由生物降解材料構成的產品,如果它們最終進了垃圾掩埋場,將加速氣候變遷。你知道,現在有些設備可捕集甲烷,用來發電,取代對化石燃料的需求。但我們必須相當謹慎;我們必須確定如何開始使這類已發生的事改觀,開始設計能改善這些問題的系統和服務。因為現在人們總是轉頭說:「禁用塑膠袋吧,我們提供人們紙袋,因為這有利於環境。」但如果你把它扔進垃圾桶,而當地垃圾掩埋場沒有特殊處理設備,我們將面臨所謂的雙重負面效應。

 

好,我的職業是產品設計師,後來進行社會科學研究,因此我對消費品十分著迷;這些充斥在我們生活中、令人習以為常的消費品如何影響自然環境。這些傢伙可說是連續犯,我敢肯定在座每個人家裡都有冰箱。好,美國有使冰箱不斷變大的神奇能力。過去幾年中,它的體積平均增加1立方英呎,以冰箱標準體積來說。問題是,它實在太大了,很容易使我們買更多食物。不但吃不完,甚至找不到。我是指,我的冰箱深處有些食物已放了好幾年,對嗎?因此結果是,我們浪費更多食物。如我剛剛所說的,食物浪費是個問題。事實上在美國,家庭購買的食物有40%被浪費掉。全球生產的糧食一半被浪費掉,這是聯合國最新統計。高達一半的食物,太瘋狂了,相當於每年13億噸食物,我把這一點歸咎於冰箱。好,尤其在西方文化中,因為它助紂為虐。我是指,其中涉及許多複雜系統,我不想將問題太過簡化。

 

但冰箱得負很大責任,它的特點之一就是它的保鮮室。大家都知道保鮮室嗎?就是你放生菜的抽屜?生菜總是在保鮮室裡變軟,不是嗎?對嗎?軟掉的生菜?在英國,這個問題嚴重到在幾年前被寫成一份政府報告,上面寫著:英國食物浪費的第二大元兇是軟掉的生菜,這被稱為「軟生菜報告」,對嗎?因此這是個問題。各位,這些可憐的小生菜被丟棄,只因保鮮室的設計無法確實保持食物鮮脆。好,你需要密閉環境,你需要,例如,密不透風的環境,才能防止自然發生的降解。但保鮮室只是一個抽屜,密封效果稍微好一點而已。總之,顯然我太過沉迷了。千萬別邀請我去你家,因為我會開始翻遍你的冰箱,查看所有這類情形。但基本上這是個大問題,因為當我們從系統中失去生菜這類東西,不僅面臨我剛剛提到的生命終結所帶來的影響,事實上還得面對種植生菜所產生的影響。生菜生命週期所造成的影響十分龐大,我們得清理耕地,我們得播種、撒磷,施加肥料、營養物、水、陽光。這棵生菜蘊含的所有影響都從系統中消失,這使它對環境的影響遠比冰箱耗能更加嚴重。因此我們需要將這類產品設計得更好,如果我們打算著手解決嚴重的環境問題。我們可從保鮮室及冰箱大小著手,對於在座設計冰箱的人來說這是很棒的點子。

 

好,因此問題是,想像如果我們確實開始重新考慮設計方式。我將冰箱視為現代生活的標誌,但事實上從1950年代以來,我們並未對冰箱的設計進行太大改變。稍有改變,但基本上它仍是個大箱子,儲存食物的冷藏箱。想像如果我們確實開始意識這些問題,以此為基礎,尋找創新優雅的設計方案,解決這些問題。這是由設計主導的系統變化,以設計決定使系統更加永續的方法。40%的食物浪費是主要問題,想像如果我們設計容量減半的冰箱。

 

另一項令我著迷的產品是電茶壺。我發現你們美國人不使用電茶壺,對嗎?但它在英國相當風行,英國97%的家庭擁有電茶壺,因此它們相當普遍。我是指,如果我與某家設計公司或某位設計師合作,他們正在設計這類產品,他們想將它做得環保,他們通常會問我兩件事。他們會說,「Leyla,如何使它達成技術上的節能?」因為顯然耗能是這類產品的問題之一。或是:「如何使它成為綠色產品?如何在製造過程中採用綠色材料?」你們會問我這些問題嗎?聽起來很合邏輯,對嗎?是的。好,我會說:「你搞錯問題了,因為問題在於使用方式。」在於人們如何使用產品。65%的英國人承認,當他們只需要一杯茶時,卻將茶壺灌得太滿,煮開這些多餘的水需消耗能源。根據計算,一天當中,這些電茶壺消耗的額外能源足以使英國所有路燈照明一夜。

 

但這正是重點,對嗎?這就是我所謂的「產品-使用者缺失」,但其中還存在「產品-系統缺失」。它們無所不在,你甚至不曾注意到它們的存在。但這個人注意到了,他叫SimonSimon,任職於英國國家電力公司。他的工作非常重要:監測所有進入系統的電力,確保有足夠電力供應每戶家庭。他也得監看電視,原因在於英國有個獨特現象:當相當受歡迎的電視節目結束、開始進廣告那一刻,這傢伙得趕緊從法國購買核電,因為每個人都不約而同地啟動電茶壺。(笑聲)150萬個電茶壺,相當嚴重的問題。想像如果你設計電茶壺,你確實找到解決這些系統缺失的方法,因為這對系統來說是相當大的壓力,只因設計產品時未考慮到它存在於這個世界時產生的問題。好,我審視一些市售電茶壺,找到最低水量線。因此這小小的資訊告訴你需倒入多少水,這個量介於兩杯至五杯半之間,只為了沏一杯茶。以圖中的電茶壺為例,事實上它有兩個蓄水處,一個是煮沸室,一個是儲水室。使用者只需壓那個按鈕,使熱水煮沸。也就是說,因為我們都懶,你只需倒入所需的水量,這就是我所謂改變行為的產品:介入及解決眼前問題的產品、系統或服務。

 

好,這是科技競技場。顯然這些東西相當普遍,但我認為,如果我們繼續以目前速率設計、購買、使用及棄置這類產品,相當驚人的速率。目前世上有70億人口,去年手機申購數量是60億台,每年有15億台手機離開生產線,某些公司公佈的生產率大於人類出生率。去年,美國有1.52億台手機被丟棄,只有11%回收利用。我來自澳洲,我們有2200萬人口-別笑-根據報導,有2200萬台手機躺在人們的抽屜裡。我們需找出解決相關問題的方法,因為這些東西相當複雜,其中蘊含許多東西。黃金!知道嗎,現在從一噸舊手機裡提取黃金,比從一噸金礦中提煉黃金成本更低?這些東西蘊含許多極複雜、極有價值的材料,因此我們需設法鼓勵回收拆解,否則將發生這些情況。這是迦納一個社區,根據聯合國報告,電子廢棄物交易量高達5000萬噸,這就是他們取得黃金及其他值錢材料的方法。他們在露天空地焚燒電子廢棄物。這是人們居住的社區,這類情況遍佈世界各地。因為我們看不見身為設計師、商人及消費者的我們所做選擇的影響,因此產生這種附加效應。這關乎人們的生活,因此我們需找出更明智、更系統化的創新方案,解決這些問題,如果我們打算開始在這個世界打造永續生活方式。

 

因此想像一下,當你買手機時,用新的替換舊的-順帶一提,人們更換手機的平均間隔是15至18個月。因此如果我們打算繼續採用這種便利的手機更換方式,我們應著眼於終止這些系統的循環。生產這些手機的人,我敢肯定,有些正坐在這個房間裡,可試著採用我們所謂的閉環系統或產品系統服務。因此當確定其中存在市場需求,而市場需求將持續存在時,你設計產品來解決問題,著眼於可拆卸、輕便的設計,我們聽說特斯拉汽車公司目前正使用這類型策略。這種方法不難,但瞭解系統,然後尋求可行的、以市場為導向的消費者需求替代品,是從根本改變永續發展進程的方式。因為我不願殘酷地告訴你們:消費是最大的問題,但設計是最佳解決方案之一。

 

這類產品隨處可見。藉由採取不同做法,我們可真正著手革新;我是指確實著手革新。我確信在座每個人都富有革新精神,但這有賴於將永續性作為一個參數、一種標準,激發基於系統的解決方案。因為正如我剛剛展示的這些簡單產品,它們介入了這些重大問題。因此我們需要由整個生命週期的角度觀察我們所做的事。

 

如果你只有紙或塑膠-顯然可重複使用較有利,那麼紙比較糟,原因在於它的重量比塑膠重4至10倍。當我們從生命週期的角度比較一公斤塑膠和一公斤紙,紙好得多;但以塑膠袋或紙袋的功能性來說,將雜物提回家不需使用一公斤材料,相當少量的塑膠即可達成目的,所需的紙卻多得多,因為功能性定義了對環境的影響。我之前提到,設計師總是問我生態材料的問題。我說,只有幾種材料應完全避免,其餘的關鍵都在於應用。歸根究柢,我們在經濟體系中設計、生產或消費的所有東西,都基於其功能性。我們想要某樣東西,因此購買。因此追溯事物根源,提供聰明、優雅、精細的解決方案,考慮整個系統,考慮事物整個生命週期,從頭到尾探索一切事物的關鍵,我們可真正找出創新解決方案。

 

我再簡短地談一下,與我共事的一位資深設計師最近告訴我的事。我說:「為何你不做永續性設計?我知道你瞭解它的重要性。」他說:「嗯,最近我向一位客戶推薦永續性設計項目,他拒絕了,然後對我說:『我知道這樣成本較低,我知道這樣會賣得更好,但我們不是先驅,因為先驅得背負太多風險。』」

 

我想這裡有一屋子先驅。我希望世上有更多先驅,因為我們需要解決這些問題。

 

謝謝。

 

(掌聲)

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

About this talk

Most of us want to do the right thing when it comes to the environment. But things aren’t as simple as opting for the paper bag, says sustainability strategist Leyla Acaroglu. A bold call for us to let go of tightly-held green myths and think bigger in order to create systems and products that ease strain on the planet.

About Leyla Acaroglu

Leyla Acaroglu breaks through our deeply entrenched environmental folklore in order to reveal the true impact of the products and materials we use every day. A designer and consultant, Acaroglu encourages both companies and individuals to look at the full life cycle of the things they create and use in order to understand their net effect on the environment. At Eco Innovators, an ecologically-minded Australian design studio, Acaroglu’s team makes award-winning designs and projects that tap into a sense of play in order to educate. From animations explaining the lifecycle of a cell phone to bookshelves made from construction scrap wood to workshops that help rebuild and repurpose broken everyday items, the goal is building savvy, science-based sustainability practices.  

Transcript

So imagine, you're in the supermarket, you're buying some groceries, and you get given the option for a plastic or a paper shopping bag. Which one do you choose if you want to do the right thing by the environment?

Most people do pick the paper. Okay, let's think of why. It's brown to start with. Therefore, it must be good for the environment. It's biodegradable. It's reusable. In some cases, it's recyclable. So when people are looking at the plastic bag, it's likely they're thinking of something like this, which we all know is absolutely terrible, and we should be avoiding at all expenses these kinds of environmental damages. But people are often not thinking of something like this, which is the other end of the spectrum. When we produce materials, we need to extract them from the environment, and we need a whole bunch of environmental impacts.

You see, what happens is, when we need to make complex choices, us humans like really simple solutions, and so we often ask for simple solutions. And I work in design. I advise designers and innovators around sustainability, and everyone always says to me, "Oh Leyla, I just want the eco-materials."

And I say, "Well, that's very complex, and we'll have to spend four hours talking about what exactly an eco-material means, because everything at some point comes from nature, and it's how you use the material that dictates the environmental impact. So what happens is, we have to rely on some sort of intuitive framework when we make decisions. So I like to call that intuitive framework our environmental folklore. It's either the little voice at the back of your head, or it's that gut feeling you get when you've done the right thing, so when you've picked the paper bag or when you've bought a fuel-efficient car. And environmental folklore is a really important thing because we're trying to do the right thing. But how do we know if we're actually reducing the net environmental impacts that our actions as individuals and as professionals and as a society are actually having on the natural environment?

So the thing about environmental folklore is it tends to be based on our experiences, the things we've heard from other people. It doesn't tend to be based on any scientific framework. And this is really hard, because we live in incredibly complex systems. We have the human systems of how we communicate and interrelate and have our whole constructed society, We have the industrial systems, which is essentially the entire economy, and then all of that has to operate within the biggest system, and, I would argue, the most important,the ecosystem. And you see, the choices that we make as an individual, but the choices that we make in every single job that we have, no matter how high or low you are in the pecking order, has an impact on all of these systems. And the thing is that we have to find ways if we're actually going to address sustainability of interlocking those complex systemsand making better choices that result in net environmental gains. What we need to do is we need to learn to do more with less. We have an increasing population, and everybody likes their mobile phones, especially in this situation here. So we need to find innovative ways of solving some of these problems that we face.

And that's where this process called life cycle thinking comes in. So essentially, everything that is created goes through a series of life cycle stages, and we use this scientific processcalled life cycle assessment, or in America, you guys say life cycle analysis, in order to have a clearer picture of how everything that we do in the technical part of those systemsaffects the natural environment. So we go all the way back to the extraction of raw materials, and then we look at manufacturing, we look at packaging and transportation, use, and end of life, and at every single one of these stages, the things that we do have an interaction with the natural environment, and we can monitor how that interaction is actually affecting the systems and services that make life on Earth possible. And through doing this,we've learned some absolutely fascinating things. And we've busted a bunch of myths.

So to start with, there's a word that's used a lot. It's used a lot in marketing, and it's used a lot, I think, in our conversation when we're talking about sustainability, and that's the word biodegradability. Now biodegradability is a material property; it is not a definition of environmental benefits. Allow me to explain. When something natural, something that's made from a cellulose fiber like a piece of bread, even, or any food waste, or even a piece of paper, when something natural ends up in the natural environment, it degrades normally. Its little carbon molecules that it stored up as it was growing are naturally released back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, but this is a net situation. Most natural things don't actually end up in nature. Most of the things, the waste that we produce, end up in landfill.Landfill is a different environment. In landfill, those same carbon molecules degrade in a different way, because a landfill is anaerobic. It's got no oxygen. It's tightly compacted and hot. Those same molecules, they become methane, and methane is a 25 times more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. So our old lettuces and products that we have thrown out that are made out of biodegradable materials, if they end up in landfill, contribute to climate change. You see, there are facilities now that can actually capture that methaneand generate power, displacing the need for fossil fuel power, but we need to be smart about this. We need to identify how we can start to leverage these types of things that are already happening and start to design systems and services that alleviate these problems. Because right now, what people do is they turn around and they say, "Let's ban plastic bags. We'll give people paper because that is better for the environment." But if you're throwing it in the bin, and your local landfill facility is just a normal one, then we're having what's called a double negative.

I'm a product designer by trade. I then did social science. And so I'm absolutely fascinatedby consumer goods and how the consumer goods that we have kind of become immune tothat fill our lives have an impact on the natural environment. And these guys are, like, serial offenders, and I'm pretty sure everyone in this room has a refrigerator. Now America has this amazing ability to keep growing refrigerators. In the last few years, they've grown one cubic foot on average, the standard size of a refrigerator. And the problem is, they're so big now,it's easier for us to buy more food that we can't eat or find. I mean, I have things at the back of my refrigerator that have been there for years, all right? And so what happens is, we waste more food. And as I was just explaining, food waste is a problem. In fact, here in the U.S., 40 percent of food purchased for the home is wasted. Half of the world's produced food is wasted. That's the latest U.N. stats. Up to half of the food. It's insane. It's 1.3 billion tons of food per annum. And I blame it on the refrigerator, well, especially in Western cultures,because it makes it easier. I mean, there's a lot of complex systems going on here. I don't want to make it so simplistic.

But the refrigerator is a serious contributor to this, and one of the features of it is the crisper drawer. You all got crisper drawers? The drawer that you put your lettuces in? Lettuces have a habit of going soggy in the crisper drawers, don't they? Yeah? Soggy lettuces? In the U.K., this is such a problem that there was a government report a few years ago that actually said the second biggest offender of wasted food in the U.K. is the soggy lettuce. It was called the Soggy Lettuce Report. Okay? So this is a problem, people. These poor little lettuces are getting thrown out left, right and center because the crisper drawers are not designed to actually keep things crisp. Okay. You need a tight environment. You need, like, an airless environment to prevent the degrading that would happen naturally. But the crisper drawers, they're just a drawer with a slightly better seal. Anyway, I'm clearly obsessed.Don't ever invite me over because I'll just start going through your refrigerator and looking at all sorts of things like that. But essentially, this is a big problem. Because when we lose something like the lettuce from the system, not only do we have that impact I just explained at the end of life, but we actually have had to grow that lettuce. The life cycle impact of that lettuce is astronomical. We've had to clear land. We've had to plant seeds, phosphorus,fertilizers, nutrients, water, sunlight. All of the embodied impacts in that lettuce get lost from the system, which makes it a far bigger environmental impact than the loss of the energy from the fridge. So we need to design things like this far better if we're going to start addressing serious environmental problems. We could start with the crisper drawer and the size. For those of you in the room who do design fridges, that would be great.

The problem is, imagine if we actually started to reconsider how we designed things. So I look at the refrigerator as a sign of modernity, but we actually haven't really changed the design of them that much since the 1950s. A little bit, but essentially they're still big boxes,cold boxes that we store stuff in. So imagine if we actually really started to identify these problems and use that as the foundation for finding innovative and elegant design solutions that will solve those problems. This is design-led system change, design dictating the way in which the system can be far more sustainable. Forty percent food waste is a major problem. Imagine if we designed fridges that halved that.

Another item that I find fascinating is the electric tea kettle, which I found out that you don't do tea kettles in this country, really, do you? But that's really big in the U.K. Ninety-seven percent of households in the United Kingdom own an electric tea kettle. So they're very popular. And, I mean, if I were to work with a design firm or a designer, and they were designing one of these, and they wanted to do it eco, they'd usually ask me two things.They'd say, "Leyla, how do I make it technically efficient?" Because obviously energy's a problem with this product. Or, "How do I make it green materials? How do I make the materials green in the manufacturing?" Would you ask me those questions? They seem logical, right? Yeah. Well I'd say, "You're looking at the wrong problems." Because the problem is with use. It's with how people use the product. Sixty-five percent of Brits admit to over-filling their kettle when they only need one cup of tea. All of this extra water that's being boiled requires energy, and it's been calculated that in one day of extra energy use from boiling kettles is enough to light all of the streetlights in England for a night.

But this is the thing. This is what I call a product-person failure. But we've got a product-system failure going on with these little guys, and they're so ubiquitous, you don't even notice they're there. And this guy over here, though, he does. He's named Simon. Simon works for the national electricity company in the U.K. He has a very important job of monitoring all of the electricity coming into the system to make sure there is enough so it powers everybody's homes. He's also watching television. The reason is because there's a unique phenomenon that happens in the U.K. the moment that very popular TV shows end.The minute the ad break comes on, this man has to rush to buy nuclear power from France,because everybody turns their kettles on at the same time. (Laughter) 1.5 million kettles, seriously problematic. So imagine if you designed kettles, you actually found a way to solve these system failures, because this is a huge amount of pressure on the system, just because the product hasn't thought about the problem that it's going to have when it exists in the world. Now, I looked at a number of kettles available on the market, and found the minimum fill lines, so the little piece of information that tells you how much you need to put in there, was between two and a five-and-a-half cups of water just to make one cup of tea.So this kettle here is an example of one where it actually has two reservoirs. One's a boiling chamber, and one's the water holder. The user actually has to push that button to get their hot water boiled, which means, because we're all lazy, you only fill exactly what you need.And this is what I call behavior-changing products: products, systems or services that intervene and solve these problems up front.

Now, this is a technology arena, so obviously these things are quite popular, but I think if we're going to keep designing, buying and using and throwing out these kinds of products at the rate we currently do, which is astronomically high, there are seven billion people who live in the world right now. There are six billion mobile phone subscriptions as of last year. Every single year, 1.5 billion mobile phones roll off production lines, and some companies report their production rate as being greater than the human birth rate. One hundred fifty-two million phones were thrown out in the U.S. last year; only 11 percent were recycled. I'm from Australia. We have a population of 22 million -- don't laugh -- and it's been reported that 22 million phones are in people's drawers. We need to find ways of solving the problems around this, because these things are so complicated. They have so much locked up inside them. Gold! Did you know that it's actually cheaper now to get gold out of a ton of old mobile phones than it is out of a ton of gold ore? There's a number of highly complex and valuable materials embodied inside these things, so we need to find ways of encouraging disassembly, because this is otherwise what happens. This is a community in Ghana, and e-waste is reported, or electronic waste is reported by the U.N. as being up to 50 million tons trafficked. This is how they get the gold and the other valuable materials out. They burn the electronic waste in open spaces. These are communities, and this is happening all over the world. And because we don't see the ramifications of the choices that we make as designers, as businesspeople, as consumers, then these kinds of externalities happen, and these are people's lives. So we need to find smarter, more systems-based, innovative solutions to these problems, if we're going to start to live sustainably within this world.

So imagine if, when you bought your mobile phone, your new one because you replaced your old one -- after 15 to 18 months is the average time that people replace their phones, by the way — so if we're going to keep this kind of expedient mobile phone replacing, then we should be looking at closing the loop on these systems. The people who produce these phones, and some of which I'm sure are in the room right now, could potentially look at doing what we call closed-loop systems, or product system services, so identifying that there is a market demand and that market demand's not going to go anywhere, so you design the product to solve the problem. Design for disassembly, design for light-weighting.We heard some of those kinds of strategies being used in the Tesla Motors car today.These kinds of approaches are not hard, but understanding the system and then looking for viable, market-driven consumer demand alternatives is how we can start radically alteringthe sustainability agenda, because I hate to break it to you all: Consumption is the biggest problem. But design is one of the best solutions.

These kinds of products are everywhere. By identifying alternative ways of doing things, we can actually start to innovate, and I say actually start to innovate. I'm sure everyone in this room is very innovative. But in the regards to using sustainability as a parameter, as a criteria for fueling systems-based solutions, because as I've just demonstrated with these simple products, they're participating in these major problems. So we need to look across the entire life of the things that we do.

If you just had paper or plastic -- obviously reusable is far more beneficial -- then the paper is worse, and the paper is worse because it weighs four to 10 times more than the plastic,and when we actually compare, from a life cycle perspective, a kilo of plastic and a kilo of paper, the paper is far better, but the functionality of a plastic or a paper bag to carry your groceries home is not done with a kilo of each material. It's done with a very small amount of plastic and quite a lot more paper. Because functionality defines environmental impact,and I said earlier that the designers always ask me for the eco-materials. I say, there's only a few materials that you should completely avoid. The rest of them, it's all about application,and at the end of the day, everything we design and produce in the economy or buy as consumers is done so for function. We want something, therefore we buy it. So breaking things back down and delivering smartly, elegantly, sophisticated solutions that take into consideration the entire system and the entire life of the thing, everything, all the way back to the extraction through to the end of life, we can start to actually find really innovative solutions.

And I'll just leave you with one very quick thing that a designer said to me recently who I work with, a senior designer. I said, "How come you're not doing sustainability? I know you know this." And he said, "Well, recently I pitched a sustainability project to a client, and turned and he said to me, 'I know it's going to cost less, I know it's going to sell more, but we're not pioneers, because pioneers have arrows in their backs.'"

I think we've got a roomful of pioneers, and I hope there are far more pioneers out there, because we need to solve these problems.

Thank you.

 


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