Responsible by design

Earlier this week, the people of Iceland mourned the death of the Okjokull glacier. A grimly honest commemorative plaque composed as a ‘Letter to the Future’ was installed at the site. It reads “Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as glacier. In the next 200 years all our main glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.” The evidence is mounting, and the writing on the wall is clear.

Even if the most powerful man on earth repeatedly calls climate change ‘a hoax’, the fact of the matter is that each year our towns and cities are flooding or facing droughts, getting unbearably hotter or colder. Years of greedy, indifferent and downright toxic designs have wreaked havoc on the planet. But the good news is — as the plaque reads — we know what needs to be done. Environment scientists and activists, architects and designers, writers and concerned citizens the world over are coming together to find solutions to save the only home we all share.

Responsible by design

Urban solutions

One such endeavour comes in the form of an upcoming panel discussion, organised by Paper Planes, a contemporary design and lifestyle e-commerce platform. This is the third event of their ongoing series titled, ‘Oddly Enough’. According to Nupur Joshi Thanks, founder, Paper Planes, “Oddly Enough is a place for like-minded individuals to gather, have meaningful conversations and exchange ideas. Taking place bi-monthly, each gathering is curated around a single topic that’s relevant to the space Paper Planes and its community inhabits — one that’s intertwined with reading, consumer culture, and the world today, with design as the guiding principle.”

In its third edition on Climate Change, Paper Planes is bringing together three strong voices who will talk about how good design practices can arrest, and even reverse environmental damage. The panel comprises Bijal Vachharajani, a children’s book author and editor at Pratham Books, Ayush Chauhan, who is co-founder of Quicksand, a design research and innovation studio, and Kapil Gupta, who is co-founder of Serie Architects and principal architect at Serie Mumbai.

Responsible by design

One problem, many perspectives

Chauhan and Gupta will talk about city-centric perspectives. Chauhan is a strong advocate for transformative roles for design within public policy, international development, social enterprise and innovation, for which he was also granted the prestigious Yale World Fellowship in 2012. Gupta’s leanings are towards innovative use of materials, complemented by a meticulous and inventive approach to construction. He has curated many architecture-art exhibitions, such as the one at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2006 and lectures extensively on his work at Serie. Chauhan and Gupta’s points of view are especially relevant in the face of a statistic like this: cities occupy only 2% of global land area but have an enormous climate impact, and consume more than two-thirds of global energy and accounting for at least 70% of carbon emissions.

Vachharajani, will explore the more indirect ways in which positive change can be affected. As a writer, her work has been focussed on creating children’s books on the environment. Her 2017 book, So You Want to Know About the Environment tackled subjects related to wildlife, food, water and waste. It was about a way to understand how human behaviour has affected Planet Earth. Her just released title, A Cloud Called Bhura set in Mumbai, is a story about four friends, a few clueless adults and a very angry, very brown and very dangerous cloud that’s holding the city hostage. It is a timely novel that deals with climate change and is filled with illustrations and infographics about the changing environment. Vachharajani’s goal is to create awareness and eco-consciousness in young minds, causing a narrative shift that may well be construed as another ‘good design’ practice, albeit on a subtler, social level.

Oddly Enough Nº3: On Climate Change will take place this evening at 7 p.m., at G5A, Mahalaxmi; for more details visit www.joinpaperplanes.com

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 11:43:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/responsible-by-design/article29223964.ece

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