Topic 1 Overview

In short, there has been an inadequate integration of ecological concerns into overall planning of how cities have been developed, industrialization undertaken, and products used.

  • the generation of gigantic amounts of discarded materials (much of which could potentially be recycled) that are disposed into landfills;
  • even while enormous quantities of toxic chemicals are emitted to air, water, and soil;
  • and certain materials are produced that are so dangerous they will require constant vigilance by many future generations;
  • all governed by a plethora of complex regulations — designed not to keep people and natural systems safe, but rather to keep them from being poisoned or degraded too quickly;
  • and achieving economic growth and wealth through the mining and degrading of the natural capital of both non-renewable and potentially renewable resources;
  • while causing a severe erosion of the diversity of other species and of human cultures.

The consideration of sustainability at the design stage requires dealing effectively with products’ functional and environmental impacts.

Look at the video below on “ What ecology can teach us about sustainable design”:


After watching the video on sustainable design, try to answer the following questions:

🡪What is ecology?

🡪What ecology can teach us about sustainable design?

🡪 Would you prefer to own one multifunctional item or five different ones with specific functionality? Why? And what is more sustainable? Why?

  • The need to meet the inherent needs of humans and their economy.
  • The requirement to sustain the integrity of the structure and function of both natural and managed ecosystems.
  • The appropriateness of emulating the inherent designs of nature in anthropogenic management systems.
  • The need to make progress to a sustainable economy through greater reliance on renewable resources and more focus on recycling, reusing, and efficient use of materials and energy.
  • The use of ecological economics (or full-cost accounting) to comprehensively take resource depletion and environmental damage into consideration and thereby address issues of natural debt.
  • The need to conserve natural ecosystems and indigenous biodiversity at viable levels.
  • The desirability of increasing environmental literacy to build social support for sustainable development, resource conservation, and protection of the natural world.