Week 23 – Visit from John Harrington « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

Week 23 – Visit from John Harrington

John Harrington spoke to the team today about sustainability and introduced the Natural Step theory. With a background in advertising, John emigrated to San Francisco for 10 years, and upon returning to Dublin began questioning the problems products were creating, and how to get to the heart of the problem. Sustainability is a hot topic these days, with many understandings of what it is. The Natural Step proposes a framework to make sense of sustainability through a scientific methodology and John began a business where he helps pubic and private organisations implement sustainability in their workplace, using the Natural Step theory. The method works towards securing future human needs by finding what changes need to occur now, identifying actions to create this change and tools which can make it happen. The need for a sustainable approach is evident – the issues with climate change, limited resources and pollution are now effecting all areas of the world. The Natural Step highlights four steps towards a sustainable approach in nature by decreasing – substances extracted from the earth’s crust; substances produced by society; degradation of nature and people meeting their needs first, in an unsustainable fashion.

This approach aims to peel away the layers of complexity surrounding sustainability. John emphasized the need to get not just companies but people to buy into a sustainable way of living. We all have an impact and it’s just about choosing one way or another. This proved a controversial point, with the team questioning how we as individuals can live in a more sustainable way while balancing the more immediate demands of everyday life. A very enlightening talk, the Natural Step is a theory that we can all take away from the project and apply to our lives as we find best.

Real Eyes: www.realeyes.ie

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