Living Climate Change

September 29, 2009 — 6 Comments

One of the most important ideas about design thinking is that it creates new ideas that provide new choices for business and society. As we move toward December and the climate change negotiations in Copenhagen I worry that we have far too few ideas to talk about. It is all too easy to argue over what we will have to give up in the search for significant reductions in carbon and yet there is very little discussion about what we might create as we try to resolve the most significant challenge humanity has yet faced.

At IDEO we have been thinking about this over the summer and today have launched a new site we call Living Climate Change that is intended to be a place for just such a discussion to take place. We have produced a few of our own scenarios to get the conversation started and we are trying to link to as many existing interesting ideas as we can. If you know of good design content that should be included then please let us know. In the meantime please check out the site and help us expand the conversation.

Tim Brown


6 responses to Living Climate Change

  1. hi,

    having recently worked on a COP15 project, and still in the process, I’d like to just point out 2 things that I have come across and found to be very important.

    1) contrary to probably most of the world’s thinking, we won’t have to give up ANYTHING (except, maybe, some of our prejudices). instead, we’ll gain and prosper on about everything. for a simple example, we’ll still be driving cars – only that then they’ll be electrically powered instead of using fossile fuels, with the electricity being brought to us by forces that are not only carbon reduced but emit no carbon at all. these forces are called nature (sun, wind, water). pie in the sky? no. it is a proven fact that with the power of 6 hours of sunshine, we could cover the energy demand of the whole planet – for one year! see more at (this concept has just been adapted by 6 big (german) global players such as münchner rück, deutsche bank etc. they are planning to do it – what a great outcome!)

    2) the discussion – in my point of view – is narrowed down to “only” environmental issues. what we tend to forget is that we are part of the environment. as desertec states, symbiosis can be achieved through cooperation, like we get the energy, but they don’t get just money but fundamental tools to build up what we would call a developed industry, on which democracy, freedom and knowledge will grow which then will lead to access to the free market and so on. so, solving energy problems means solving (geo-)political problems as well. in other words: we can fight poverty, hunger and all other problem which are associated with the so called third world by rethinking the way we produce energy.

    this post, as you might have figured out already, is less about your design question, still it is about an idea and the hope that we stop seeing it all through our environmental glasses. by the way, the solar industry is the fastest growing industry in the world, and so it really should be in need of valuable design solutions soon. check out “here comes the sun” to see why:

    best, Martin

  2. Hi Tim,

    Sorry, I didn’t know how else to get in touch. I am wondering if we can snag a quick email interview with your for Freelance Review. Let me know and I can send over about 10 questions (where should I send?). The last person we interviewed was Collis Ta’eed of Envato.



  3. It is great to see IDEO focusing on this noble cause!

    Here’s one of the design ideas to save thousands of gallons of drinking water daily in developed countries:

    The assumption behind above design idea is that we waste more water than is really needed in shower. With a small design change, a family of 4 can save potentially 7300 gallons per year. Assuming 30million such families in US, that number comes to be 219 billion gallons of water every year!

  4. Climate Change made the typhoons in the south pacific very destructive. Typhoon Ketsana made a lot of mess in Philippines and Vietnam

  5. This hits the real problem between the eyes – its not politicians, but global / local communities and great ideas that will. Professor Bruce Bueno de Mesquita’s recent assertions at the LSE suggest exactly that – Copenhagen will consist heavily of rhetoric, but little *actual* change. That part is left to us.

    These guys are doing something interesting with the unsustainable takeaway coffee cup problem: I’ve fired them a note.

  6. The reporter funnily posted that as ‘Saint-Pierre & Miquelon: There are roads, but
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