Climate change
The overwhelming weight of informed scientific opinion now says that there is very strong evidence that the amount of fossils fuel that we burn is the biggest cause of the increase in the greenhouse effect, which is the major cause of climate change. So, if we do things to ‘benefit the environment’ but do not do anything to reduce our use of fossil fuels, then we are merely tinkering around at the edges. If we do not take into consideration the impact of our lifestyles (our energy use and our purchases) on people with very low incomes elsewhere on the planet, then we are not dealing with sustainable development.

Climate change is the big urgent threat, but how does it relate to poverty and hunger? Climate change will affect all of us (and may be doing so already) but it is the poor who suffer worst and first. It is the poor who are affected most by flooding, major storms, desertification and droughts.

When climate change produces a rise in sea level, which makes life impossible in Holland and Bangladesh, what will happen? The population of Holland will not die, they will move. Accommodating these people will create problems for Europe but it will happen.

The population of Bangladesh will have to try to move. It is difficult to imagine what would happen. It will create enormous problems for the neighbouring countries and it is impossible to imagine it happening without millions of people dying.

It has been calculated that each person in Europe consumes three times their share of the world’s resources. Each person in Bangladesh consumes a third of their share of the world’s resources.

• So, we need to think about social, environmental and economic issues, both as consumers and designers

• We need to think through the implications of our personal decisions?

• We CAN make a difference, by adding serious thinking about sustainability issues to the rest of our thinking as Design and Technology students.

What is sustainability?
What is sustainable development?
Definitions of sustainability
Three dimensions of sustainable design
Why things need to change
How do we add to problems?
What would a sustainable world be like?
Climate change
Datschefski’s principles of sustainable design