As someone who tries to balance the “treehugger”, business and pseudo-anthropologist together getting involved in discussion with people from this 3 extremes it is always hard to explain or defend that:
- there is no way everybody will have access to the same comfort the developed word has today without a CRITICAL behavior and production change;
- people want to access it, in many cases because the western civilization sell them these values (in Manaus, in the middle of the Amazon, people turn air-conditioners on just to end up using duvets. Does it make sense?)
Hans Rosling can help me out:
As he points ou: How to deliver these conveniences to a greater population with the same or less materials / energy?
My bet is dematerialization, or turning products into services (yes, service design goes here).
However it is only possible if we manage to drive people into it, if we understand not just the direct practical need (washing clothes, as in his example) but the cultural values and possibilities behind that, like having more time as he pointed out, or even prestige in the neighborhood as I have seen many times in Brazilian laundries (Yep. Brazilian women are proud of their washing machines and other house appliances).
This my friend, is a work for us “design ethnographers” (or other label of your preference).
It reminds me the time when I used to design professional laundry appliances (2009 feels so long ago…)
Stainless Steel = Durability ladies and gents.
Man… I have spent a loooong time in this washing machine…
Yes, it is big.