Sustainable Lessons From Around the World

Sustainable Lessons From Around the World

Paula Rache and Aart van Bezooyen are two designers traveling around the world in search for sustainable solutions in materials and design. Imagine skateboards and bicycles made of bamboo, online tools for more sustainable packaging, a new educational concept called Green School for children, and locals sharing ideas on sustainability with Green Drinks. After an exiting first four months in eight different countries it is time to look back and share what they have learned so far. While still on the "It's Not Easy Being Green" Tour, Paula and Aart are preparing a book, highlighting sustainable lessons learned traveling the world.

At universities in Brazil, Argentina and Chile Paula and Aart organized lectures and workshops focused on sustainable design. For example students from the PUCPR university in Curitiba have been reusing post-industrial waste for design products and young designers in Santiago de Chile learned how to cook their own bio-plastic. "Having fun with getting your hands dirty and doing serious talks about environmental challenges are a good combination for students," said Paula. Even though their encounters are concentrated on several days, Paula and Aart are keeping in touch with teachers, students and other greenies via Facebook and trust in the long term effect of their awareness project.

Visiting design centers in Brazil, Argentina, Australia and Thailand has been very helpful in understanding the different roles of design in creating more sustainable products and services. "It is very inspiring to learn about the sustainability initiatives by each design center since they are all so impressive but also surprisingly different!" said Aart. For instance the Metropolitan Design Center (CMD) in Buenos Aires has a special incubator program to support young designers with sustainable business ideas whereas the Thailand Creative & Design Center (TCDC) makes design and sustainability more tangible within a resource center that showcases over 2,000 physical materials and 15,000 books.

Besides visiting universities and design centers, discussions with local designers and experts have revealed a lot of background information about the local environmental situations and challenges. Inspiring encounters have taken place with people such as Kleber Puchaski (design director of Feel The Future in Brazil), Augusto Cubillos (co-founder of the bioplastics company BioMorgan in Chile), Dan Atkins (one of Australia's leading sustainability practitioners) and Popo Danes (Balinese architect and environmentalist).

Currently, Paula and Aart prepare the making of an upcoming book that inspires and enables more sustainable design including contributions of local experts and designers from South-America, New Zealand, Australia, South-East Asia and Japan. Personal writings will be illustrated with local impressions and inspiring products discovered along the way. Their journey continues through South-East Asia and Japan for the final months of the It's Not Easy Being Green project that started March 1, 2011 as an official event within the Hamburg European Green Capital 2011 program.