No new lists!

My new year’s resolution is to stop writing sustainability to-do lists. I’m supposed to be an expert, but it still gives me a headache trying to keep track of: the Triple Bottom Line; the Three Main Components (and Four System Conditions) of The Natural Step; the Five Capitals Model promoted by the Forum for the […]

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Of doomers and bottle fillers

In Sao Paulo before Christmas someone referred to me as a “doomer.” I had not heard the word before, but was told that it describes sad, train-spotter-like people who can’t stop talking about peak oil, climate change, the instability of financial markets, the impending food crisis, and what John Michael Greer calls the “catabolic collapse” […]

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High entropy notions of quality

Last week I gave this talk at a seminar in Milan called Art For Business. “On my way to this conference on art and business, two Erasmus University business school students (a Russian and a Dane) came to meet me in Amsterdam. They came from “Team Aesthetics” . We talked of Aesthetics, Innovation, Complexity, Meaning, […]

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Who is afraid of local food?

In the October issue of Blueprint its editor Vicky Richardson’s accused Designs of the time (Dott 07) of secretly buying 10,000 pounds worth of fruit and vegetables when our Urban Farming project in Middlesbrough “did not generate adequate grub for the guests”. Vicky declined to name the greengrocer for whom Christmas came so early – […]

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Designs of the Time (Dott07) (Sustainability festival, North East England. 2007)

Doors of Perception’s director, John Thackara, was programme director of Designs of the time (Dott 07), a year of community design projects in North East England that explored what life in a sustainable region could be like – and how design can help us get there. It was an initiative of the UK Design Council […]

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Why our design festival has no things in it

The house is cold, someone keeps turning the lights off, and the greywater toilet is blocked again. As a way of life, sustainabilty often sounds grim. The media don’t help: they tell us we have to consume our way to redemption. The shopping pages are filled with hideous hessian bags; and ads that used to […]

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Bottles half empty and bottles half-full

We made a list of recommended books for the Dott festival bookshop and published it (the list) in the October Doors Report. A long-list is online at Amazon. I am now receiving suggestions of books we should have added, so I’m adding the best-sounding additions (recommender in brackets) below: 1 Collapse: How Societies Choose to […]

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20 reasons to go to the Dott festival

The Dott 07 Festival opens in 13 days time in Gateshead, England. It brings together the results of projects and events that explore what sustainable life in one region could be like – and how design can help us get there. North East England, as one of the birthplaces of the carbon age, is anxious […]

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The movement dilemma

Can transport and tourism ever be sustainable? The movement of people and goods around the world consumes vast amounts of matter, energy, space, and time – most of it non-renewable. Could transport intensity be de-coupled from economic progress – and if so, how? This event in October’s series of Dott Debates begins with two keynotes […]

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