In many ways it seems that the overall western system we live in isn't helping me become more sustainable.
I'm conveniently sitting up late right now writing this blog on my power hungry computer with my helpful artificial light source which is powered by the wires connected to it, and activated when I flick the switch. Should this power not work, all I usually do it wander round to the fuse box on the other side of our flat and reset the fuse, no more thought given to it really. Now this power may have some connection to the coal burning power plant about an hour away, but it's not the coal burning monstrosity of a power plant that's the scary part, the scary part is that I never think about where it comes from. I don't need to, it's always there. Anyway, the sun has gone and I've got a blog to write, power switch = on.
In my quest to try and live a more sustainable existence, I am careful not to become a crusader for sustainability because we all know how the crusades went down. If I was really serious wouldn't it be easier to move to some far north isolated town (near a surf beach) where I don't have to drive anywhere, I grow my own veges, teach at the local school, have limited power from my solar panels, hunt and fish and possibly plant a few trees to offset the carbon from my fiber rich diet. So if I vote with my feet, I could potentially reduce my footprint to nil, or even negative. I'm not sure this would help the current situation tho. As I see it, I'm a product designer who now lives in a society where consumerism is the norm and doesn't seem to be slowing down even with a recession, so I can either observe the obvious problem and leave or stick around and try to re-think how i can live sustainably amongst this system. I know which seems easier.
So instead of cycling, I'll drive to work tomorrow and switch on the 100 or so florescent tubes which light up my workshop and breath the artificial air which circulates so generously, then try and consider ideas of biomimicry which might help inform the way I design things... even tho I feel like I'm about as far removed from nature as a stuffed animal would feel like in a museum.
Because this feeling of disconnection is more evident today as the sustainability debate intensifies, I think my design process is more about how I can bring better connection with the world around us and how it functions through the products we use everyday. Instead of building more barriers of perceived comfort between myself and the world I live in.