Design for Planet 2022 Zine

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Design for Planet 2022 zine

Editor’s introduction

It’s been a great pleasure to be the guest editor of this publication. Many of the texts you will read are transcribed from presentations at the Design Council’s Design for Planet Festival 2022, hosted by Northumbria University and featuring a rich breadth of voices. It would have been an impossible task to collate all the talks and ideas from the Festival, so instead I have extracted select edits and moments, published here alongside a host of newly commissioned writing from thinkers and doers of various disciplines - and I want to thank all those commissioned writers for responding with passion, wit, and creativity on a very short deadline.

Also included is writing from the hosts of the 2023 edition of the Festival, the University of East Anglia in Norwich [UEA]. I want to extend thanks to all contributors from the university, but especially Alexander Bratt who is not a writer here but grabbed the opportunity to engage his various colleagues in support of this publication, leading to some valuable insights and foreshadowing for the next Festival.

There are loose themes and strands flowing between the following pages, though there is no central, singular editorial answer. Instead, this publication celebrates plurality and interconnectedness between disciplines and people - whether intentional or accidental.

The richer and more varied those connections and relationships are, the stronger any designed outcome will be. Plurality is integral to design.

The solutions to climate breakdown also require a plurality of ideas - there will not and cannot be a single solution. It will take a million designed responses: from the largest systems of energy production to the smallest retrofit; from grand physical propositions to imagining new collective and individual ways of being; and designing new ways of looking and relating to others with empathy and awareness - whether those others are human or nonhuman.

Coinciding with the Design for Planet 2023 Festival, the Sainsbury Centre at the UEA - housed in Sir Norman Foster’s distinctive architecture - hosts an exhibition curated by newly appointed Curator of Art and Climate Change, John Kenneth Paranada. In this publication, Paranada previews his exhibition Sediment Spirit and describes anthropogenic climate

change as “something intimate, immediate, interconnected, hyperlinked, and altogether quite abstract to grasp.” His role is the first of its kind in any UK museum and he will lead research and deliver a range of activities that promote sustainability and engage with the climate crisis - precisely the kind of collaborative interdisciplinary connections needed.

In editing this, I was keen to push at the boundaries of what design is and how it permeates other disciplines, especially the creative arts. I was so pleased that seven visual artists have contributed work spread throughout the publication, images which should not only be read as beautiful pauses between text, but as connective tissue between ideas and propositions you

Connection and interaction is central to design, which is fundamentally a process of creating new relationships - to each other, to systems, or indeed to the planet.

will read, and in their own right as creative tools to help us see and think differently. As Steve Waters, dramatist and UEA Professor of Scriptwriting, writes in his text “the very nature of our stories may need to change” and the creative sector will be at the forefront of those stories.

To this point, I am especially glad to include three short pieces from writing students at the UEA. Amongst all its academic and research pedigree the UEA is perhaps most well known as a centre of creative writing. It was at the UEA that WG Sebald worked for three decades, a writer whose 1995 book Rings of Saturn deeply studied the decaying, reforming, and resonant Suffolk

coastline, connecting it to a plurality of histories, situations, and nature beyond. It is a study of place, but also of existential relationships, and Sebald writes:

“Like our bodies and like our desires, the machines we have devised are possessed of a heart which is slowly reduced to embers. From the earliest times, human civilisation has been no more than a strange luminescence growing more intense by the hour, of which no one can say when it will begin to wane and when it will fade.”

The machines we devise from here on must all be designed with relationship to the planet hardwired, or the fading of civilisation Sebald saw within the saturated coast will certainly come sooner rather than later. Rings of Saturn was, however, perhaps a story for a different generation and different thinking - an age of reflection, mourning, and recognising. Stories and machines we

design going forward may not need to be created in fear, but borne from progressive, collaborative, and creative optimism - and indeed utopian thinking. In his text for this publication, Professor of Landscape at University College London, Tim Waterman, states that “utopias are tools for better futures.” Everybody included within these pages is invested in that better future, and each is designing new utopian relationships at various scales.

I want to thank all at the Design Council, especially Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino for inviting me to guest edit with such creative freedom and Niamh Crawford for always being an email away to help propel the project forwards. Finally, huge thanks to Niall ÓConnor who has designed the following beautiful pages with creative play and an admirable sense of calm.

Many of the following texts are drawn from the 2022 Design for Planet Festival presentations. I encourage you to visit the Design Council’s YouTube channel where you can experience the talks at your leisure and to look out for updates on the 2023 UEA-hosted edition to continue the conversations and create new relationships

Design for Planet 2022 Youtube Playlsit

Will’s work

Design For Planet 2022

Our second Design for Planet Festival highlighted the expansive range of possibilities for designing differently, with the planet in mind.

Our speakers explored design-led ways of understanding and tackling all that we collectively face. We heard how design includes diverse strategies from psychological sustainability to ruthless inclusion and radical generosity to deep listening.

It’s worth looking back at the talks to immerse yourself. Whether you’re looking to start on your journey to Design for Planet or you’re a seasoned practitioner, their message is clear: there’s always more we can and should do to redesign our future.

Design for Planet Festival 2022

This means improving already there as well up with new solutions. channelling our outrage our optimism to demand outcomes. It means rewilding but becoming more wild ourselves. design is most powerful helps make new connections, others envision new helps build alternatives. Thompson of Rooted said, “we have to protest to prototype.”

We hope this zine, by Will Jennings, will more perspectives of a lifetime. But remember, not alone. Look around find community groups, and events to work this. We’re more powerful in asking for change the change we want world.

improving what is well as coming solutions. It means outrage and using demand better means not only becoming a little ourselves. The voice of powerful when it connections, helps new futures and alternatives. As Julian Rooted by Design move from prototype.”

zine, expertly edited will bring you even perspectives on the challenge remember, you’re around you and groups, meetups, work with others on powerful together change and in making want to see in the

We’re grateful to our 2022 partners Northumbria University, Newcastle Gateshead, Innovate UK, and our media partner The Guardian.

We hope you’ll join us for the next edition of our Festival on 16 – 18 October 2023, online, and in Norwich, in partnership with the University of East Anglia.

‘22 festival in numbers

festival numbers

Northumbria University

A carefully curated schedule of activities ran in parallel with the online festival to embrace the key themes of the event. There was also open access to the Presentation Hall for staff and students to collectively view the entire festival programme.

Photo Essay

Dr Heather Robson, Head of Northumbria School of Design, said:

Photographer: Simon Veit-Wilson

“Our students and staff took part in a series of Design Sprints, organised as part of the event, which were aimed at finding solutions to climate-focused design problems. Students from Fashion, Industrial Design and Communication Design programmes also acted as illustrators, capturing the discussion and actions proposed.”

“There was a real buzz in the School of Design, where we had an exhibition of work by Design, Fashion and Architecture students in the Foyer, which included the Design Declares campaign which featured enlarged banner printing from their workshop.’

The concept of design

It says that human beings think before we haven’t thought hard enough. steam engine to the very latest in actually had within it the ability to

I take the word design to mean something

Design is about the creative nature of humankind. And so, when we look at our present dilemma, very foundation of our existence, then I look to design to help us to move away from that, to use enhance. And it is design that makes that possible. Designing things which can be repaired, designing things that can make their own energy, and designing them in such a way as human beings want

It is no good just being utilitarian. You need also to be attractive. And I don’t think being attractive is something to be ashamed of. But what it means is that we create things which people want to use and want to use properly. An awful lot of buildings which have been built in a sustainable way, all sorts of technical design has been used to make sure that they are very, very low carbon use.

But unfortunately, they’ve beings find very difficult out to consume a great people don’t know how in the computer world. geek in order to use it. instinctively usable and whether they are iPhones

That indeed, is what we have to do today. We want to work. We want things to work in a way which which will enable us to use a smallest amount enable us to reuse, that will enable us to extend, enable us increasingly to grow - but to grow in a way and the planet. Sustainable development demands against climate change unless we design the solutions.

John Selwyn Gummer, also known as Lord Deben is the former MP for Suffolk Coastal. He was also the Conservative sustainability consultancy, Sancroft International, the recyclable advice Association. He’s a director of the Catholic Herald trustee of climate change and ocean conservation charities

design lies at the very heart of civilisation.

before they do, and that is hugely important for the sort of life which we want to live. Sadly, enough. In the past, we have created great wealth through remarkable design from Newcomen’s in nuclear technology. The trouble is that we didn’t recognise that what we were designing to destroy.

something much wider than the mere outside.

dilemma, when we see that our wealth is based upon something which is at the same time destroying the our resources much more effectively, to make sure that we don’t destroy but that we enable and designing things which will have a continued life, designing things that use little or no energy, designing want to use them.

they’ve been designed in a way which human to operate, and many of those buildings turn deal more than they ought simply because how to run them. That surely is what happened People stopped asking you to become a They started to create systems which are and they did so by making those systemsiPhones or made by Samsung - beautiful. want things

the chairman of the independent Climate Change Committee a Conservative Party Chairman between 1983 and 1985. He’s the chair of the recyclable Valpak, and also for the personal investment and financial as well as the castle trust a mortgage and investment firm and a charities cool Earth and the Blue Marine foundation.

to be beautiful. We want things which is not destructive. And it is good design, of our resources as is possible, that will extend, that will enable us to be flexible, but will way which is not at the expense of others demands good design. We won’t win the battle solutions.

The Design for Planet Festival is far from the only climate event around. From the UN’s Climate Change and Biodiversity Conferences, Climate Week in New York, and London’s Climate Action Week there’s plenty to choose from. But it is one of the few that focuses on the intersection of the climate emergency and the design sector.

Along with new events like Footprint+ and the London Design Festival’s growing programme of sustainable exhibitors, a conference is a good moment in the year to take action. But then the rest of the year rolls on and our momentum wanes. We have to take action all year long. Eating a more plant-based diet and reducing the number of flights we take are ways in which we might take action in our daily life but what does it mean as a designer? And what kind of change can we expect? In a world where the dopamine hit of the next click, swipe and tap is instantaneous, something as systemic and complex as climate change won’t give us the same gratification.

So we have to pace ourselves, gather our tools, start to build something very slowly one step at a time. Maybe it’s a birdbox, but then it might lead to a shed and eventually a geodesic dome in the middle of parkland.

We Are All Journeys

Listening is a good place to start. We published Design for Planet Fellows and there’s also 2Climify repair by The 3Restart Project.

You might then follow up with in person or virtual nice way to meet new people who are also ready might not be ready to act. In person or virtual community Designers, 5Climate Action Tech, or our 6London-based informal spaces.

Once you start learning, you might figure out what about. This is where more formal learning comes or paid for courses out there, everything from bite-sized by 7 to climate justice courses by 8Climate University class on climate change. If you work in Net Zero offers training and there are over 200 design 11Climate Framework you can dive into once you

1Fellows Podcast Series 2Climify 3Restart Project 4Climate Designers 5Climate Action Tech 6London-based meetups

Journeys To Change

a 1podcast series with our 2021 Climify and a series on the right to virtual conversations. This is a ready to start talking, even if they community groups like 4Climate London-based meetups are great what you’d like to know more comes in. There are plenty of free bite-sized learning provided Climate in Colour or the 9Open in digital design 10Product for design methods collected by you feel more confident.

Once you start, it’s hard not to be that person who talks about the climate all the time but we know that with any big change, it starts with your friends and peers. Acting as an ambassador for the planet in your team or business might mean talking to your human resources department about getting everyone trained up with the Climate Literacy Project, getting a BCorp certification or signing up to Design Declares.

No matter where you are on the journey, take it one step at a time, and take some friends along with you.

London-based meetups 7 8Climate in Colour 9Open University class on climate change 10Product for Net Zero 11Climate Framework Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino Chief Officer at the Design Council

Double Coupler (2022)

Double Coupler creates a möbius loop in form and meaning between a temporal human structure and the geological. The structural element used in scaffolding embodies the erection, preservation, and dismantlement of the built environment. Carved from stone there is a suggestion of a melding of futures, between human and non-human environments.

Conor’s work

Festival Keynote

At the edge of the Amazon Rainforest in north central Brazil sits the largest iron ore mine on the planet. Scientists have learned that nearly 10% of the deforestation the Brazilian Amazon has been between 2005 and 2015 due to mining activities. Previously, it was thought to be just 1% to 2%, but they did not take into account all the ancillary services that were also needed, like roads, housing, airports, and hydroelectric dams to provide energy for mining operations. Wood from the surrounding forest is cut for charcoal to fuel the pig iron plants resulting in annual deforestation of 606,100km².

On a recent field trip, I heard a lecture from Helmut Antrekowitsch, Chair of Nonferrous Metallurgy at the University of Leoben, Austria, about the bigger geopolitical and economic tensions around mining. He spoke about the dysfunctional economics of certain forms of recycling where dumping a unit of red mud (the bauxite residue waste) is €5 while recycling costs €500. We know the destructive impact of mining on ecosystems and communities - a recent article in the National Geographic explores a tragic story of a 890km railway stretching from the Mina de Carajás iron ore mine to the port of Ponta da Madeira in São Luís. The train carries ore in metal boxes, destroying ecosystems and communities along the way.

In an article for The New York Times, David Wallace envisions life after climate change and how renewables revolution will require a mining revolution, and that the need for lithium for electric vehicle batteries will grow eight fold by 2030. A 2020 World Bank report emphasises that the production of minerals such as graphite, lithium, and cobalt could increase 500% by 2050. To meet the growing demand for clean energy technologies, they estimate that 3 million tonnes of minerals and metals, with the need to deploy solar, wind, and geothermal power as well as energy storage in order to achieve a sub-2° Celsius rise. Lithium is everywhere. It’s in antidepressants, the stainless steel in needles that deliver vaccines, the aluminium in heat pumps, the copper in wind turbines, the titanium in Mars Exploration Rovers, and the gold in the James Webb Telescope.

It is evident that our actions to the challenges we face have an ecology of causes and effects that we need to be cognisant of. Larger political infrastructure challenges need to take into account wider economic, political, social, and cultural implications. These things don’t happen in isolation, and to say “stop extraction” or “only take trains” means we are pushing the problem elsewhere. Understanding externalities and unintended consequences becomes crucial and we need to understand that every action has a wider ecology of effects.

It made me realise that there needs to be a step between the problem and the solution - something that does not promise quick solutions but opens possibilities, foregrounds the ecological nature of the problem space and acknowledges the interconnected nature of such complex problems. This means that the solutions will also be equally entangled and not siloed into narrow forms.

A lot of my understanding of the space further deepened since we at Superflux have initiated an experiential research project called Cascade Inquiry with the support from King’s College London, a generative space for collectively imagining and building features where positive climate action has been taken. In this project, we investigate the planetary climate crisis and the lack of ecologies of action at the scale that is needed. We ask, where is power located? Who can access it? How can we act on that power? And, what change can we create? One of the people we revisited was Karen Barad, whose writing in their book Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning resonated deeply. They write, “There are no singular causes, and there are no individual agents of change. Responsibility is not ours alone, and yet our responsibility is greater than it would be if it were ours alone.” Responsibly entails an ongoing responsiveness to the entanglements of self and the other - here and there, now and then. We need to meet the universe halfway to take responsibility for the role that we play in the world differential becoming.

Anab Jain designer, filmmaker, futurist, & educator
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‘...there needs to be a step between the problem and the solution - something that does not promise quick solutions but opens possibilities, foregrounds the ecological nature of the problem space and acknowledges the interconnected nature of such complex problems.’
>National Geographic Amazon communities transformed by a freight line >New York Times Davd Wallace envisions affects of climate crisis

I believe that the 21st and 22nd century century versions of design, reimagined and renewed, could operate in this halfway space: to become the collective tissue that conjoins our actions to a larger ecology of change; to understand and take into account externalities and unintended consequences; to generate multiple tipping points of positive transformation; to empower the non-institutionalised fugitive spaces and the commons; to attune us with the wider ecology of planetary life. I want to call such a practice Ancillary Design.

Ancillary Design meets the universe halfway. It is the connective issue that conjoins our ecology and our actions for larger ecology of change, understands externalities, generates multiple tipping points of positive transformation, and powers the undercommons and attunes us to a wider ecology of our planet. A quick Google search shows that Ancillary Design is a thing - it’s a term used to describe a variety of informal office furniture that supports multiple postures like sitting, perching, lounging, and standing. Ancillary furniture is more for in-between spaces like lounges, lobbies, cafes, and so on. I love that idea of expanding this beyond furniture to how design can truly support multiple postures and truly exist in these in-between spaces.

Something that is connective, liminal, and operates in this halfway space is not easy to explain. There are some big challenges: polarisation, short term thinking, equal paralysis, inequality. And as the in-between connective tissue Ancillary Design can fix these challenges through deeply collaborative, rich practices and tools, coproduction methods such as deep listening, embodied experiences, mythmaking, and movement building towards an ecology of incredibly positive effects empowering communities to activate hopes and reimagine plural worlds.

You may argue that in and of itself, these are not really design. I agree. But together I think these methods, approaches, and tools can aid us in the times ahead to reimagine design’s changing role. The end justifies the means - but what if there is never an end? All we have is means, so I’m going to share some examples of what I see as Ancillary Design to emphasise that none of these are new or recent works, and they’re not the only possibilities. Here, we’re not inventing anew but you’re looking at what already is as if it were new, connecting with rather than producing.

Ancillary Design can fix these challenges through deeply collaborative, rich practices and tools, co-production methods such as deep listening, embodied experiences, mythmaking, and movement building

A designer, filmmaker, futurist, and educator, Anab Jain grew up in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, within the entangled postcolonial landscapes of a fast-growing nation. Through a series of planned and unplanned circumstances, she has made London her home. Although the idea of a home remains as expansive as our hearts and minds. Anab believes that a rigorous praxis of imagination and experiential storytelling can emotionally connect us with plural futures – enabling us to make better decisions today, a belief and commitment which led her to establish the speculative design and experiential futures practice Superflux in partnership with Jon Ardern. Now in their 13th year, Superflux has just received the Design Studio of the Year Award in recognition of their contribution to the fields of speculative and futures design with a committed social mission. Working for a diverse set of clients and commissioners, Superflux imagines and builds future worlds we can experience in the present moment. By creating new ways of seeing, being and acting, their work inspires and challenges us to look critically at the decisions and choices we make today.

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Social & Planetary Benefits In Architectural Reuse

The process of reusing existing materials and building components rather than manufacturing new ones has been gaining greater traction in the construction industry recently due to the reduction in waste materials and carbon consumption this can generate. As designers, reuse strategies require us to radically change the ways we conceive of the design of our schemes, bringing into question how we might respond creatively to buildings, components, and landscapes which have been designed by others, and to consider the potential afterlife of the materials we use beyond their application in the projects we are constructing.

Yet there are many benefits to this approach which stretch beyond the environmental and aesthetic credentials which we have come to expect from employing such strategies in our designs. As the following project demonstrates, embracing creative reuse can open up novel opportunities for a reviving historic craft techniques, and for helping introduce a new generation to the construction industry.

When artist Lucas Muñoz joined with business entrepreneurs Felipe Turell and Javier Antequera of Proyectos Conscientes, they set out to transform a redundant building in Madrid into a restaurant which would take a holistic view of responsible consumption - in terms of the way the building was created, as much as in the food they would produce. Rather than measure value in purely monetary terms, the scheme privileges the values of sustainability, social engagement, business ethics, and inclusivity. MO de Movimiento has become a centre for testing and experimentation, which sets a new agenda for design practice by placing an emphasis on the social benefits of creative reuse, and by establishing a more equitable working environment.

The building had once been the Espronceda Theatre which had closed in 1991, and then become a recording studio. It required a large-scale strip out to form the open spaces necessary for the creation of the restaurant, which generated 1.8 tonnes of construction rubble, along with numerous redundant light fittings, pipe work, and timber which would otherwise have gone to waste. To make best use of the materials presented to the team, it was necessary to adopt a more dynamic design process than might ordinarily be expected in a building refurbishment. Rather than having a predetermined outcome, the design of the interior, furnishings, and fixtures was developed incrementally through a process of improvisation and experimentation, which required the team to respond to new discoveries, and open up to unforeseen opportunities which presented themselves. Muñoz served as chief collaborator, working with local artisans who were trained in traditional techniques. These artisans often operated on a small-scale, and were thought of as being rather out of date for the contemporary construction industry, yet their mutual collaboration enabled them to explore new applications for their specialist craft knowledge.

Dr Ruth Lang the Royal College Future Observatory’s at the Design For Change: published by

For example, to minimise its operational carbon consumption, the space is cooled using a traditional adiabatic cooling system. A series of sculptural, hand-formed terracotta pots made in a vernacular style from Badajoz were fired using a 500-yearold underground oven, and filled with water before being hung at high level throughout the space. These make use of evaporative cooling to mediate the hot, dry air which characterises the environment of Madrid. To heat the space, water is warmed in pipes which run through the two pizza ovens on site. This is then pumped around elegant sculptural coils of copper piping which are suspended from the walls, their curves celebrating the skilled handiwork of plumbers which might ordinarily be concealed behind wall finishes.

Lang is a senior tutor in Radical Practice at College of Art, and is lead researcher for the Observatory’s Low Carbon Housing project Design Museum in London. Her book Building Change: the architecture of creative reuse was by gestalten in 2022.


Book Building For Change

Calling upon his practice expertise in transforming industrial materials into highend products, Muñoz helped guide the upcycling of waste materials, through collaboratively prototyping innovative fixtures for the restaurant. As a result, the rubble from the demolition works has been encapsulated into thick terrazzo tiles which form bench seating to the perimeter walls, complemented by chairs and stools crafted from the blocks and timber which were reclaimed during the removal sprung floor of the theatre. Strip lighting which has been reclaimed from various car parks across the city has been deconstructed, with the casings fitted with more energy efficient LEDs to form industrial chandeliers. The old neon tubes have been repurposed to create sculptural light fittings, whilst bundles of electrical wire have been reformed to serve as door handles. Even the staff uniforms - designed by Inés Sistiaga - have undergone a process of transformation. Clothing from charity shops has been dyed using natural colourings, including dyes created from the nails reclaimed from the theatre’s auditorium. These have then been embellished using ancestral embroidery techniques, by working with the women of the Atheleia workshop.

Yet some of the most impactful strategies employed in the scheme are less visible. Behind the scenes during development, a sustainability team led by Cristina Freire and Marcel Gomez scrutinised the supply chain for every material used in the project, calculating the energy consumption at the point of production, the impact of transportation, and even researching the employment conditions at the suppliers’ premises to challenge the social values the project was supporting - which often challenged the normal collaborations the contractor would undertake.

The ethos of local sourcing of materials which once applied to the architectural transformation of the space has now been applied to the produce used within the kitchens - which also reduces the carbon footprint of the food served. The greater impact on the ecosystems within which this food is produced is also taken into consideration, ensuring organic, fair trade, and ethical practices are in place throughout. Half of the restaurant’s staff come from three different youth foundations - Norte Joven Association, the Tomillo Foundation, and the Raíces Foundation - supporting those who have experienced aspects of inequality, barriers to employment, and social exclusion, to help gain new skills which will provide opportunities in the workplace.

Employing strategies of reuse have reduced the scheme’s carbon footprint by over 70% in comparison to a standard restaurant refurbishment. Yet alongside the benefits for environmental sustainability, the processes employed in delivering these strategies offer long-term social and economic sustainability for the region, with a scale of positive influence which stretches far beyond the project itself. The scheme highlights the advantages of embracing adaptation - not only in terms of the materials used, but also in relation to our design approach in employing them, and the need to rethink how we might use experimentation, learning, negotiation, uncertainty and collaboration as positive attributes with which to build in the future.

How To Retrofit A Home

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) is an environmental education charity situated in mid Wales. Over the last 15 years we’ve undertaken comprehensive research and modelling on Zero Carbon Britain (ZCB), developing a possible zero carbon endpoint scenario. One of the big things that we’ve identified is that in order to meet our energy needs we need to power down the amount of energy that we use. The retrofit agenda sits very well within that and CAT offers a variety of training to look at identifying solutions for community groups, councils, and organisations.

Pre-pandemic, we were hosting about 35,000 visitors a year. We have a Graduate School of the Environment, which has 600700 students studying Masters programmes via a blended approach of on-site and digital learning. Much of our training now is delivered online and we intend to continue and develop our digital training as we move forward.

Why do we do this? We want a sustainable future for all humanity as part of a thriving natural world. And that’s key to our mission centred on inspiring, informing, and enabling humanity to respond to the climate and biodiversity emergency.

We also wanted to build expertise within the building industry itself, so we secured funding for a new partnership project to provide sustainable skills training in support of green jobs. We focused on sustainable and energy efficient construction and retrofit solutions. We wanted to demystify the skills involved - it wasn’t about creating experts or a full qualification in its own right, but about understanding what we mean when we talk about retrofitting a home and what the skills needed for that are.

We looked at the importance of retrofit in terms of the climate agenda, linking it to our ZCB report and findings. We looked at multisolving opportunities, as well as addressing fuel poverty. Critically, we looked at the whole house approach - where the house is, its history, how it’s used, and how it’s built. We looked at EPC ratings. We looked at moisture in buildings. We looked at all this theoretically, so all the participants had the same sort of base level of understanding before we started the practical work.

Then we moved into four days of practical and theoretical sessions. We looked at dampness, how buildings perform, and the use of sustainable materials - such as hemp lime and insulation types. We used an existing row of cottages on our site for participants to survey and get practical tips and experience, and looked at both traditional and modern buildings. We considered planning, air tightness, insulation types, and U-values. We looked at solar, wind, and hydro renewables energy sources and how to site them, as well as an extensive session on heat pumps. Towards the end, we considered careers and opportunities in retrofit and comprehensive overview on how you retrofit a home.

So what did we learn? We know that if we’re going to retrofit the 20,000 homes a week that we need to to meet those 2050 targets, training and knowledge is essential. We learnt that understanding the building is key. Expert tuition was key and hands on working with plaster, and external and internal insulation, brought about a better understanding of the materials and qualities of air tightness. We learned that collaboration between owners, occupiers, supply chain, and trades was particularly important.

I also want to highlight the work of the Supply Chain Sustainability School who are building networks and working with training providers and practitioners to look at what’s important throughout the supply chain in terms of retrofit.

Going forward, we’re looking at programmes to encourage retrofit as a career choice through programmes for both post-16 education and also 14-16 year olds, and signpost those opportunities to the green apprenticeship rates or further training. We’re also expanding our short courses to meet the needs of householders. We’re looking at upskilling the existing workforce through specific programmes and supporting roles in the workplace.

Our website contains a new programme of webinars - all free to join. Our previous webinars are also on the website. We produce blogs and articles with retrofit as a key running theme on our website. We’ve also got a Zero Carbon Britain resource hub with online tools, reports, guidance training, and webinars. We also have a free information service and fact sheets on retrofit, sustainable building, materials, renewable energy, and more.

As an outcome, these are our top 10 retrofitting tips:

1) Look at the house in context

2) Understand the building, its occupants, and their use of it

3) Learn from experienced tutors

4) Use practical skills and demonstrations

5) Understand the detail of what’s involved in retrofit

6) Gain as much hands-on experience as possible

7) Have opportunities to try different materials and methods

8) Build understanding

9) Share best practice

10) Collaboration and communication is key

Amanda has over 20 years’ experience in teaching, school leadership, adult training, and organisational improvement. She is a highly qualified and experienced educator with Qualified Teacher status, the National Professional Qualification for Head Teachers, and is a Specialist Leader of Education. Amanda is the Training Manager for the Zero Carbon Britain Hub and brings a passion for and belief in the power of education and learning to change lives and bring the understanding that the choices made as individuals, policymakers, or organisations are important at a global level.

Centre For Alternative Technology Supply Chain Sustainability School

Untitled (2023)

This is inspired by the artist’s Kat’s fragmented memory of childhood work growing up in a suburban environment of a mundane sameness in conformity of space and community.

Kat’s work

Norwich: A City of Strangers and Deep Design

Norwich is a fitting destination for the next Design for Planet festival which will be held at the Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia in October 2023. In an increasingly corporate globalised design landscape, the city’s brand and identity - and thriving creative and cultural industries - are testament to how supporting a connection to place and community can allow an ethos to thrive that is intensely local and yet truly global in outlook.

To understand why this is the case we must go back in time. Whilst geographically out a limb - and closer to Leiden than Leeds - during the 14th–16th centuries, Norwich was the second largest city outside London and a centre of regional and continental trade. To this day the traces of this prosperity are visible in the merchant marks – sort of proto-logos used by tradesmen across the city and designed to be distinguishable by a mostly illiterate population – that can still be found across Norwich. They are carved above door frames, engraved in stone, or rendered in stain glass inside churches and on gravestones. The marks themselves are strikingly modern, with the merchants crafting a visual language based upon angular lines and geometric shapes that is reminiscent both the less is more aesthetic of modernism.

It was also around this time that the Strangers arrived in the city.

By the 1580s they numbered nearly 6,000, living alongside an English population of roughly 12,000. These Flemish weavers bought great prosperity to the area. Again, their influence is still felt across the city which has embraced City of Sanctuary status as a reflection of this history of welcoming immigrants. The nickname of the local football team, The Canaries, is thought to come from practice of keeping caged birds, a habit enthusiastically adopted locally from the Strangers; an ornate tapestry produced as thank you by the weavers still hangs in the magnificent medieval church of Sir Peter Mancroft in the market square; and Strangers Coffee has four sites across the modern city and ships its beans internationally.

Whilst the prosperity of Norwich has waxed and waned, a nonconformist spirit has remained. Heading into the modern era, the city has continued to forge its own path throughout the periods of industrialisation and commercialisation since the eighteenth century. As the largest city in East Anglia, Norwich became a vital hub for domestic trade, largely centred around agriculture and textiles given its rural surroundings. The 18th and 19th centuries coincided with the continued flourishing of Norwich’s commercial scene with Start-rite, Colman’s Mustard, Norwich Union, and the Jarrold Group among many others bursting onto the national scene.

Jeremiah Colman was one of the first businesspeople to use colourful packaging to create a memorable visual style, utilising a distinctive bull symbol atop a yellow background and the company continued to innovate. In the 1890s an image of cricketer WG Grace - one of the most famous men in the country at the time - was used to advertise their mustard, the first instance of the now commonplace idea of a celebrity endorsement. In a sense,

Today Norwich has undergone a series of renewals, that have perhaps been aided by a geographical isolation which necessitates a kind of self-regeneration. Two world class higher education institutions have helped. The University of East Anglia is known for its Zigguratsthe iconic student residences, ingeniously designed by Sir Denys Lasdun to recall “a rocky outcrop on a slope”. The University’s raised decks and walkways linking faculties and schools set the scene for a creative, interdisciplinary institution. The University has an international reputation for breaking new ground in the study of climate science, international development, and creative writing and is a globally significant centre of research, driving social, cultural, environmental, and economic innovation far beyond its campus. Tracing its history back much further to 1845, Norwich University of the Arts is one of the great British art schools. Its graduates have

Refugees from the Low Countries, who were escaping persecution in their own lands, found a welcome home in East Anglia from the 1560s onwards
you could argue that modern branding was born in Norwich.

Professor Robert Jones has also been at global brand consultancy Wolff Olins for almost 30 years, working with around 100 clients of all shapes and sizes. He has advised chief executives and chief marketing officers at global businesses like Aviva, Tesco, and Virgin. Alongside these big businesses, Robert Jones works with smaller companies like Faber Books, start-ups like FutureLearn, and not-

for-profits like Historic Royal Palaces, Oxfam, and Wikipedia. He has also written two books: The Big Idea which shows why organisations need a purpose beyond profit, and why consumers are looking not just for value but for ‘values’ of money, and Branding: A Very Short Introduction which surveys branding, emphasising its power in our cultural as well as our commercial lives.

contributed to some of the most iconic companies, brands, and designs of the 20th and 21st centuries. Their awardwinning city centre campus comprises studios, media labs, and creative spaces in 11 buildings that sit among the cafés, bars, independent galleries, and shops of Norwich’s cultural quarter.

Norwich is a place where creative talent comes, stays, and makes things of cultural and economic significance happen. It has a £10 billion economy with 24,000 businesses and nearly 160,000 jobs of which 11,610 are in financial and related professional services. It’s also home to many vibrant design studios, global award-winning digital agencies and a plethora of independent creative businesses.

Brandland is a new membership organisation that flies the flag for this amazing and rich brand heritage and continued innovation. From historic and established brands such as Barclay’s, Aviva, Colman’s, Start-Rite, and Lotus Cars to the raft of exciting young start

up brands emerging from this area, it bridges the gap between large and small, education and industry, clients and agencies. The organisation is designed to be a movement that will build on Norwich’s maverick and do-different spirit to lead the world towards better branding. The ambition is that the city will become renowned as a centre of excellence that can show there is better way of doing creative work.

Inclusivity is at the centre of these plans. There can be a completely mad work ethic in London and the Norwich creative agencies are deliberately taking a very different stance and saying they don’t expect people to be working into the

evenings or working weekends, because that doesn’t actually increase creativity. By supporting a recognition of the local in what is increasingly a globalised creativity sector, we believe that Norwich can lead the way in offering cities across the rest of the country a sustainable, internationally excellent blueprint for the cultural industries that is rooted in a sense of place, heritage, and wellbeing.


Conversations about Design Declares started in 2019 when Extinction Rebellion were very active, putting pressure on the government. The UK Government then declared a climate emergency and it started rolling from there, triggering a series of industry groups to start declaring: architects, engineers, music, culture, business, and fashion all declared.

I was having conversations within the design community. We started networking, we connected with the Design Council, created a survey, and then faced some stumbling blocks around how it would grow and be funded. We’d been learning from the other movements and then early in 2022 Jo Barnard and I were introduced by the Design Council and we quickly brought in Abb-d Taiyo, Co-founder of Driftime® agency, and Aurelie Lionet, Senior Service Designer at Futurice.

There are four key aims for Design Declares: to bring the voice of the design industry together, focusing on service, digital, communication, and industrial designers; to support self-driven industry change and change in practice; to signpost excellence in industry and leadership; and to show the weight of the design industry and make demands of government. We have a framework of the 8 Acts of Emergency, we have a toolkit, and we have a community.

I am at the beginning of my journey in sustainability and design. I think one of the key statistics that has stuck with me over over the last 18 months of learning about sustainability is from the EU Science Hub who stated that 80% of product related environmental impacts are determined during the design phase of a project. I’m an industrial designer, we make physical things, and so there’s lots of energy and resources that go into making, using, and then disposing of products. We have a huge responsibility, but also a huge opportunity as designers to make a difference in projects we’re involved in.

Alexie Sommer is a designer and communication expert who focuses on business sustainability. Co-Instigator of Design Declares, founding member of URGE collective, mentor for Fashion For Good, a consultant strategist with Pentagram, previously creative director at Thomas Matthews, and design director for creative at The Guardian newspaper group. Past clients include Interface, Useful Projects, ThinkUp, Constructivist, 100% Design, The Get It Right Initiative, EBO essential beauty oils, Arlette Gold, Foster & Partners, LOCOG, Mayor of London’s office, British Council, Rix Mix, Saatchi & Saatchi Design, and Philips electronics.

Jo Barnard is the Founder and Creative Director of industrial design and innovation consultancy Morrama. From the idea curation phase right through to manufacturing and distribution, she continues to push the boundaries of innovation with Morrama on a day-to-day basis in her work with both start-ups and scale-ups. Alongside championing of the role of sustainability to create a better design industry through the instigation of Design Declares, Jo is also one of the few female founders within the design, tech and product development industries and an Associate Lecturer at the RCA.

Jo Barnard (Studio Morrama) Alexie Sommer (Urge Collective) & Alexie’s work Jo’s work

The 8 Acts progressively take you on a journey of learning, understanding, and acting on your impact as a designer, essentially acting to form an international manifesto for positive impact and practice:

1) Sound the Alarm

We are asking designers to sound the alarm and declare a climate emergency, essentially acknowledging and raising awareness of the climate and ecological crisis. So you’re basically saying “yes, there is a crisis, we acknowledge that and we’re going to do what we can to make a difference.”

2) Start the Journey

We’re not asking people who sign the declaration to have done all of these acts, but to commit to starting this journey through beginning to learn, speaking to experts, using Design Declares resources, and speaking to each other.

3) Bring Clients With Us

Many of us work with clients or stakeholders and we are asking how they can be brought along through meaningful conversations about what it means for their business. There isn’t an option for businesses to survive without making these considerations, so we don’t need to change people’s minds - they know the importance of this - but it’s worth acknowledging how we could start to make a difference together.

4) Measure What we Make

As designers we often get involved in a small sliver of a seemingly much larger process, so how do we measure our impact? We don’t necessarily yet know where a final product will be made, its impact, or its end of life, but there are tools to help us create comparison studies. We can carry out full life-cycle assessments with hindsight, but also to learn from for our next project.

5) Redefine ‘Good’

This is about encouraging and recognising excellence in sustainable and regenerative design, and showing that through media and awards aesthetic isn’t good enough anymore - we have to make sure there are criteria and consideration of projects across the industry to look at better practice.

6) Educate, Accelerate

This is about building networks. We are in a highly competitive industry and as designers we pitch ourselves against one another, and the challenge is to start collaborating and sharing knowledge, tools, and resources with.

7) Design for Justice

To understand the communities within which we are designing for and how they’re affected by climate, design impact, and a transition to a low carbon world.

8) Amplify Voices for Change

This is about designing alongside policymakers, campaigners, ecologists, scientists, and activists to use design skills for impact and to strengthen voices.

Why We Joined

Aurelie Lionet

The reason I joined Design Declares and put time into helping bring it to fruition is because for a few years I feel there’s been an appetite and attempts at initiatives to try and bring together the industry, and it’s the community aspect of this initiative I’m excited about. I really feel like we can collectively define and learn around our roles and approaches as designers about tackling the climate and ecological crisis. As a collective, with designers coming from different backgrounds, industries, and sectors, we can have a massive impact not only by showing the weight of our concern, but also by learning and sharing from one another.

Angus Dick

I urged the design and sustainability community at my company, Arrival, to get behind Design Declares as a positive action statement, but also to nudge everybody to think in their day to day capacity, “are we doing enough?” and to think a little bit more critically as designers about our frustrations, and what we are missing from our day to day processes and knowledge fields that might help more ambitious sustainability targets. From our bus to our delivery van, we often take for granted that as a technology company making electric vehicles and leading our own material and components developments, that we’re doing enough already. However, recent global industry situations and encounters with the Design Declares initiative led me to reflect on where we might have done more. As much as Arrival have design principles encouraging us to act, minimise, reduce, and be mindful, there have been broader challenges when dealing with materials. When designing something such as a vehicle, made from hundreds of products and sub-assemblies, there is often a lot that can be overlooked, so making the right choices can be very difficult as many forces are acting upon those decisions.


We’ve got a climate emergency that demand’s action, and secondly I’m a huge advocate of responsible design in so many ways, so ThinkDo becoming a founding signatory was was a no-brainer. It aligns with my design practice, both as a creative consultant and my role in education.

I’ve been operating as a sustainable responsible designer within the sphere of communications, branding, and strategy for over 20 years and as an academic bringing this into the curriculum and research for about 10 years. What I particularly like about the 8 Acts of Emergency is how they build from declaration through to activation across different sectors and relationships. As a result, there’s an accessible entry point, the commitment, through to a demonstrable behaviour.

When I talk about responsible design practice, I often do so through the lens of process and purpose. By process, I mean designing in a way that’s resourceful of both materials and energy, that is system aware, and circular, that is ethical, inclusive of diverse voices, and is co-designed. In terms of purpose, I mean designing with an intent to have a positive, eco-social impact, maybe to champion causes, to facilitate behaviour change, and to be critical in exploration of solutions and challenges. Ideally, both principles would be observed, but by having multiple entry points to understanding and applying responsible practices, there’s greater opportunity to bring people along the journey. I think signatories will find some of the acts of emergency more accessible to them than others and they can evolve as their practice shifts in line with their commitments and the experiences they develop.

Angus’s work Tara’s work

Designing the Commons

I wonder whether, like me, you learned about the commons in high school history lessons. I remember my outrage when I became aware of the historical enclosure of common land in England. Through legislation, collective resources were taken into private ownership, to the benefit of the rich. Before this shift, commoners shared access to the land, using it for fuel and food for themselves and their animals; afterwards, they were forced into waged labour as the only option for survival. This process of violent dispossession has been replicated, time and time again, in societies around the world.

Perhaps you’ve heard about the tragedy of the commons: the argument that any arrangements for sharing a resource are doomed to fail, because someone will inevitably take more than their fair share. This idea, made famous by Garrett Hardin in a 1968 article for the journal Nature, resonated in an era of individualisation. Yet studies of commons that have thrived over time demonstrate its falsity. After all, a field, forest, or river is not, by itself, a commons - other ingredients are needed. These ingredients are the rules, norms, and relationships that shape the use of the resource and ensure that it is sustained over time.

In recent years an alternative approach to the commons has emerged, influenced by the writing of historians such as Peter Linebaugh.

The Craftspace curated national touring exhibition behind that catalogue, We Are Commoners: Creative Acts of Commoning, was informed by a research network that brought together academics and artists to explore the many intersections between commoning and craft. Through these conversations, I came to understand that while commons can be linked to physical resources, they can equally be mobile, temporary, and intangible: they arise whenever and wherever people find ways of acting collectively, negotiating ways to share what they have, and rubbing along together. As a designer, I wondered how design might play a role in supporting these commoning practices, recognising their value in a world devastated by extraction, competition, and growthcentric thinking.

blue items. such hub, an initial and mending exhibition contributing the maintenance were able of commoners withdraw My installation interpretation – or, perhaps, What come up

Attention thus shifts from the management of resources to, in the words of my collaborator Leila Dawney from We Are Commoners, an exhibition catalogue for Craftspace: “collective practices that produce a world in common.” As Dawney explains, this notion of commoning “has gathered traction both as a way of imagining ecological and political futures, and as a way of finding ways to live in an increasingly privatised world.”

My thinking took form in an installation for the exhibition titled A Temporary Outpost of the Blue Fashion Commons. The installation was part of my wider Fashion Fictions project, which brings people together to imagine and explore alternative fashion systems. I imagined a fictional parallel world in which the sale of all blue textiles has been banned for environmental reasons; in response, community-run Blue Fashion Commons Hubs have been set up as spaces for people to exchange and repair their

How design new practices?

How can to support for the

Virtual exhibition tour of We are Commoners: Fashion Fictions:
Rather than discussing commons as a noun, the focus is on commoning as a verb.


items. I designed and created one hub, including a simple set of rules, initial stock of used blue clothing, mending supplies, then invited exhibition visitors to get involved. By contributing items or spending time on maintenance of the resource, they able to join a shifting community commoners and earned the right to withdraw garments for their own use.

installation is just one possible interpretation of designing the commons perhaps, designing for commoning. other interpretations might we up with, together?

How might we use design to nurture

commoning practices?

can we use our skills as designers support people to act, on the ground, collective good?

Dr Amy Twigger Holroyd is Associate Professor of Fashion and Sustainability at Nottingham School of Art & Design. She has explored the emerging field of fashion and sustainability as a designer, maker, researcher, and writer since 2004. Her Fashion Fictions project explores engaging fictional visions of alternative fashion cultures and systems as a route to real-world change. Amy is the author of Folk Fashion: Understanding Homemade Clothes (I.B. Tauris, 2017) and co-author of Historical Perspectives on Sustainable Fashion (Bloomsbury Academic, 2023).

Dr Amy Twigger Holroyd Amy’s work

Residue (2022)

Beverley Duckworth

Residue was installed in the window of a disused clothes shop in Catford, South London, displaying the debris of fast fashion in its passage to waste dump, landscape, and soil. The clothes used in the installation were charity shop rejects, leftovers from clothes swaps and uniforms found in the vacant Peacocks store it was exhibited in, and following deinstallation all of the clothes were passed on or recycled.

Beverley’s work

Festivals To Fashion.

My primary approach to the challenges fashion presents today, is to repurpose old to new, based on the three main principles of sustainability: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.

Secondly, I am an avid problem solver, particularly motivated when there is a greater purpose and good to the problem I’m looking to solve. In short, I don’t want to be adding to a problem, I want to be part of a solution.

Sustainability requires greater step-changes in attitude to a by gone era where items of clothing were considered valuable items with lifelong purpose and to serve multiple generations in many cases via hand-me-downs. The idea to use discarded festival tents was down to my personal experiences of attending a local festival since my early teens - I saw first-hand the amount of tents and camping material left behind each year. In addition to the festival waste,

living close to the Lake District waters, I often see tents left up in the fells and down at the waters edge after tourists decided they no longer want them.

-Repurposing Camping Waste.

These experiences are what lead me to begin looking for ways I could be part of the solution to a problem I saw on my own doorstep.

With any challenge it’s good to find the fun in a solution and

Tents and camping equipment are interesting, they often have many quirky but interesting elements to them - whether the bespoke material itself, or the seams, clips, zips, ropes, and fibreglass poles - which provide interesting challenges from which to create new products.

Each year I learn more about my customers and what is important to them, but primarily they are likeminded people who share a passion to help the environment any way they can, and through a love of something different. My clothing is purposefully gender neutral and each item is unique in its own right. The nature of my supply chain means I don’t know the base materials I’ll be working with on any new project, a creative response which continues to feed my enthusiasm.

the challenge of trying to make clothes, particularly outdoor clothing that performs functionally, only added to the design pleasure.
Molly Sellars is a designer and maker creating bespoke functional outerwear and accessories from repurposed festival waste! Based in the Lake District, UK.

Resilient Stories? - How Do We Narrate the Climate

Resilience is a word at risk of being stretched to breaking point. Banded around as a catch-all, it crops up in discussions of mental health, sea defences, farming and cybersecurity. It has nudged sustainability out of its pole position in the climate crisis lexicon as an unarguable good thing. Yet resilience has an impeccable scientific pedigree straddling ecology and psychology that speaks to the capacity of any system to recover and react to change – and we face, in climate change, the greatest challenge to all our systems. So what role might artists and storytellers have in building resilience?

Design’s role in achieving a resilient future is largely uncontroversial, namely the fashioning of net-zero products in a circular economy that leave as little trace as possible. The task for storytelling is more debatable; and I speak as a playwright who has written a play hubristically, even ironically entitled Resilience – one half of a diptych of plays called The Contingency Plan, revived in 2022 by Sheffield Theatres.

One aspect of how stories build resilience, is how they might affect the manner of their telling. The material life of fiction varies radically in impact: a poem’s carbon footprint is minimal, whereas a multi-part TV drama is colossal. Yet one virtue of creating stories that don’t dodge the calamitous state we’re in is they compel all participants in the process to step up. Staging my plays about climate change in the hottest year on record necessitated Sheffield Theatres adopting the policies of the Green Book devised by the Theatres Trust to achieve more sustainable production processes.

In the context of the cost-of-living crisis, such a shift is commonsensical: re-using timber, upcycling as much of the stage set as possible, scoping out reductions of waste enabling a win-win convergence of form and content.

But storytelling’s role in building a resilient future surely goes beyond tweaks to our production processes; the very nature of our stories may need to change. In his seminal work from 2016 The Great Derangement, novelist Amitav Ghosh proposes an inversion of mainstream storytelling to address the magnitude of the challenges we face. In effect he argues that fiction should engage directly with the “uncanny intimacy of our relationship with the nonhuman”, or what philosopher David Abram calls the ‘more than human’ world. Yet too often the dominant narrative frames of our time draw on the so-called Hero’s Journey, derived from the Monomyth deemed to lie behind all human narratives by anthropologist Joseph Campbell. In this schema, which now often serves as a model for narratives, the heroic individual advances into a hostile environment in search of an elixir to bring back to their Ordinary World. This matrix, which seems innately colonial in bias, is also predicated on the separation of human from nonhuman experience, as if narrative itself must celebrate human domination and exploitation. Can this model be shifted?

In my recent work I’ve tried to move the dial in my own small way, through my research project Song of the Reeds: Dramatising Conservation. Story design has been central to this. I have sought to frame narratives driven not by humans but by creatures –butterflies, snails, bitterns, and eels in the case of my seasonal drama for Radio 4 Song of the Reeds – or environments, as in my site-based collaboration with Tangled Feet Theatre company, Murmurations. In this endeavour, I’ve taken inspiration from the work of conservationists to whom such a focus is second nature (no pun intended).

This kind of work is interdisciplinary and the autonomy of the artists’ imagination must be ceded to accommodate the insights of researchers in other fields. No one can pretend that forging such collaborations are straight forward; art and science have separate languages, imperatives, and tempos. Yet stories can provide a bridge between the sometimes arcane work of the research scientist and the anxious lay audience.

Song of the Reeds

Theatre Green Book

Climate Crisis

Universities and artists lucky enough to work in them, have an advantage in convening such conversations. At UEA, for instance, we’re attempting to frame dialogues between fields through our Developing Resilience Through Climate Narratives initiative. Here, thanks to structured conversations across schools and silos, exciting collaborations are emerging. Take film scholar Dr. Christine Cornea’s work on Visual Narratives, in which she is creating accessible short films to envision malign environmental impacts, such as those of Microplastics. This is a truly global endeavour bringing chemists and filmmakers into a partnership extending from Norwich to Malaysia.

Steve Waters is a dramatist and UEA Professor of Scriptwriting. He writes works for stage, radio, and screen, also writing about the pedagogy of playwriting and the nature of plays. Having written The Contingency Plan, a diptych of plays about climate change, in 2009, he has been at the forefront of artistic practice and reflection on climate change, most recently through his AHRC funded project Song of the Reeds: Dramatising Conservation which yielded a four-part seasonal drama for BBC Radio 4 starring Mark Rylance, and site-specific theatre project Murmurations with Tangled Feet ensemble. His books include The Secret Life of Plays and A Life in 16 Films: How Cinema Made me a Playwright.

Likewise, poet and critic Dr. Jos Smith, whose Speculative Nature Writing, a collaboration with Bird Life International, attempts to envisage futures corresponding to emissions scenarios. Upstream of this kind of work is the very notion of discipline hopping, a structured set of conversation between scientists and writers led by Professor Jean McNeil. Out of such meetings storied solutions emerge to provoke new modes of problem-solving or thinking to break us out of the fatalism this crisis often provokes.

One thing is now abundantly clear, the climate crisis is not a future event, which can only to be addressed through sci-fi or cli-fi, it is a reality we will all be living in for the foreseeable future. Writers and artists must play their part in getting us out or through this mess. Stories have always been a tool with which humanity has imagined itself out of trouble; and as philosopher Donna Haraway has said, maybe the task of all art right now is “staying with the trouble”.

Developing Resilience Through Climate Speculative Nature Writing

Festival - Keynote

I am going to talk to you about the story of an unusual chocolate bar - a chocolate bar on a mission to make all chocolate 100% slave free, not just our chocolate but all chocolate worldwide. We classify ourselves as an impact company that makes chocolate, not a chocolate company that makes impact. We make every single decision with the lives of cocoa farmers in mind.

You might not be aware of any issues in the chocolate industry. In West Africa, including Ghana and the Ivory Coast, there are two and a half million cocoa farmers. Then, we have billions of chocolate lovers, predominantly in the Western world. Between the two there are seven big chocolate companies who control all of the world’s chocolate production as a mixture of liquid chocolate producers and brand owners. These are all profit making companies, it’s in their interest to pay as little as possible for cocoa, and so the price paid to cocoa farmers in humanely low.

Both Ghana and the Ivory Coast are on the equator, with perfect conditions for cocoa production - 60% of the world’s cocoa comes from these two countries. Any big chocolate brand you can name will buy their cocoa from these nations’ 2.5 million farmers and their families working on smallholder farms, and also 1.6 million children working illegally carrying out hazardous work such as carrying heavy sacks of cocoa using pesticides. There are also at least 30,000 instances of modern slavery, where kids are trafficked from neighbouring countries like Mali and Burkina Faso with the promise of work on cocoa farms and the chance to send money back to their families, but they are trafficked.

Our story started with a team of journalists in Amsterdam who made a TV show that delved into the food industry. It was a kind of comedy, breaking the myths of the sustainability claims companies would make on wrappers. The journalists tried to speak to Nestlé and other large chocolate manufacturers but couldn’t get the CEOs or anybody from the companies to speak honesty about the problems. So, they flew to Ghana and spoke to two former cocoa farm child slaves and recorded their testimonials.

Their activist-journalism made some noise and drew attention to an issue that most people had no idea about, but it didn’t do enough. Eventually, they decided to create something that might have more impact than a piece in a newspaper - they wanted to show the world that it was possible to make chocolate 100% slave free and in 2005 began making what they believed to be the world’s first slave free chocolate bar. They created 5000 Fairtrade chocolate bars, packaged in bright red packaging to really stand out. Tony’s Chocolonely was born and they sold out in two hours at Amsterdam train stations. Tony is the international name of the Dutch journalist, Teun, and lonely comes from his lonely battle against inequality in the chocolate industry.

It was never intended to become a large company, but just make noise around the issues. But it became so popular they continued. Our mission - and our pack design - has not changed changed in those 17 years, and it all comes down to five things. We call these our five sourcing principles, and they are our recipe for eradicating illegal labour from supply chains.

‘You might not be aware of any issues in the chocolate industry.’

Trace those beans:

Full traceability of our supply chain. We know where every single bean and every single bar comes from, and also the human beings involved because knowing the faces of those business people you work with has a huge impact on how you treat them.

Pay a higher price:

We pay a higher price than the governmentset minimum price for cocoa to help eradicate poverty. We add a Fairtrade premium on top, but that still isn’t enough for a living income, so we bridge the gap with the Tony’s premium. As a result, we are currently paying 77% to 82% more than the standardised price which large chocolate makers pay.

Support strong farmers: We work with farmer cooperatives to support them in becoming stronger, more professional businesses.

Go for the long term: We engage in 5 year deals with farmers, so they know they have a minimum amount of sales, can plan ahead, and invest for the future based on a guaranteed income.

Focus on quality and productivity: We are helping suppliers with the impacts of climate change, which has a massive impact on cocoa production. Our farmers are on the equator and seeing huge swings in terms of weather events which impact their crops. They are solely reliant on their cocoa, so we are help them to protect their farms and improve their crop quality and yield.

How do we get the rest of the world to

adopt our sourcing principles? Firstly, we create awareness and tell everybody about problems in the industry, and that we have a plan to help fix it. Secondly, we lead by example by proving it is doable to build a sustainable, delicious, and market leading chocolate without exploiting cocoa farmers at the start of the supply chain - and still make a profit. Thirdly, we hope to inspire people to buy differently and shout our story, spreading the issue through word of mouth.

We need to inspire governments to change legislation, to inspire retailers to source currently and, ultimately, we need to put so much pressure on these large chocolate companies so that they have to adopt our sourcing principles - because they really hold the key to changing the entire industry. So, finally, we’ve created something called Tony’s Open Chain, our industry-leading initiative inviting other companies who buy cocoa to adopt our sourcing principles.

The first ally to join Tony’s Open Chain, adopting our sourcing principles, was Albert Heijn - the Netherlands’ version of Tesco. They are now making all their ownlabel chocolate according to our sourcing principles. Then we had JOKOLADE and vly, two German chocolate brands. Aldi has joined Europe wide and created the Choco Changer label, and finally the biggest ally to recently join is Ben and Jerry’s.

In our last trading year, 2020-21, Tony’s Chocolonely sourced 8,617 tonnes, and then our mission allies was nearly 4000 tonnes more on top - and that means hundreds more farmers and their families earning a living income, getting out of poverty, and not having to use child labour on their farms.

Nicola, aka The Countess of Cocoa, is UK & Ireland Head of Marketing at Tony’s Chocolonely, the chocolate makers on a serious mission to end slavery in the chocolate industry. Nicola joined the team to launch Tony’s in the UK in 2019, bringing 8 years of commercial, marketing, and innovation experience from Diageo and start-up CocoPro to the role.

‘We know where every single bean and every single bar comes from, & also the human beings involved because...
...knowing the faces of those business people you work with has a huge impact on how you treat them.’

The Design Council teamed up with Tony’s Chocolonely to set a challenge for design students across the UK: to create a sustainable wrapper for their vegan chocolate bar inspired by this year’s Design for Planet Festival.

UK households generate up to 2.87 million tonnes of food packaging waste a year, so it’s key that new designs help to tackle the problem.

The winning design was chosen by a panel of experts from the Design Council’s Design for Planet Festival and made into 50 real bars for the winner to enjoy!

Design for Planet Competition

The judging striking their very powerful over the packaging

Carmen Middlesex Winner

judging panel loved how their design was with powerful messaging all packaging

Rebecca Lloyd-Jenkins Wolverhampton Uni Amelia Hutton Sussex University Runner-up Runner-up Runner-up
Carmen Pandele Middlesex University James Ali London South Bank University

You might wonder what a non-designer can tell you about design for repeatability and disassembly? I’m not a designer and I’m not a professional repairer, but I’ve been witnessing and helping to build repair events and activities for the last 10 years as part of the work of The Restart Project, and what we’ve seen time and time again is work that helps us make a better sense of the key priorities that should happen in this world. I like to say that we want to focus on a real and universal right to repair.

Right to repair is a phrase that’s been mentioned frequently over the last few years and has become a catchy term with policymakers around the world. I would say it’s quite contested territory, where many people are using it in almost greenwashing ways, so it’s important to be precise with its meaning. We cofounded a right to repair campaign in Europe, focusing on some key aspects extremely relevant for designers - and I don’t just mean people designing products, but also those designing services surrounding the product.

How to design for disassembly

Products should be easy to disassemble without risk of breaking when it needs to be repaired. It’s also about fair access, ensuring that the spare parts and repair information are available and fairly priced.

A key reason people often choose not to repair a product is due to the exorbitant expense to do so. It’s also about making sure that people are properly informed as to what their options are when buying a product. This is not tackled by any of the legislation we’re looking into as campaigners, but we see that the appetite for this is massive - according to the 2020 Eurobarometer report, 8 out of 10 Europeans would prefer manufacturers to be required to make products easier to repair with approximately 85% of people in the UK thinking the same.

Part of our work has been on helping develop real data around the repair movement in America to make sense of the barriers people experience when trying to repair products. This can help acknowledge the massive impact that community repair can have towards change. We collected data and made it openly available, so for designers this could become a great resource on over 62,000 reported attempts to repair products. These attempts are by and large successful, with over 50% recorded as positive fixes at repair events, approximately a quarter that we deem repairable but can’t do at that moment, and about 20% is unrepairable and end of life.

There are a wide range of products that people wish to repair - It’s not just the obvious ones such as smartphones or laptops. While there’s some right to repair regulation coming up in different parts of the world for specific products, it’s a great challenge and opportunity for designers to think ahead of such legislative requirements because designers or manufacturers are in a position to think differently about the way things are done.

Zooming in on an example from our work analysing data from vacuum cleaners brought to repair events and the type of faults they show, we notice an importance for an extremely wide range of spare parts. This data was used in a consultation run by the European Commission considering whether a law requiring only three spare parts available is enough. The same data exists on our website for smartphones, reflecting work we’ve been doing recently in advocating for ambitious legislation on electronic products such as smartphones.

From our data, we notice the age of the products people wish to repair. We see many laptops are five and a half years old, with some much older. We observe that laptops and mobile phones are products with the shortest lives, but which people are extremely keen repair. Building for durability and repairability is essential, people really do care about the products they buy and want to keep them longer.

Restart Project Repair
Products should be easy to disassemble without risk of breaking the product when it needs to be repaired.

disassembly & repairability

We asked repairers in our network to indicate the key barriers to repair for products they deemed unfixable. This is really crucial data to help us understand what can be done differently. First of all, spare parts clearly need to be available, but they should also not be too expensive otherwise people will simply not go for it. There is research from France pointing to the fact that people start doubting the benefits of repairing versus replacing at around 25-30% of the price point of a brand new product. There are questions around the value of products once they’re a bit older, but from an environmental perspective repairing continues to be the most important thing that anybody can do for the broadest range of products.

There are other important barriers, such as whether a product is built in a way that makes it near-impossible to open, or whether there’s not enough documentation on how to take the product apart for repair. Also, there is a lack of equipment for a product requiring proprietary devices that may be less common or unavailable.

In a way, we’re not telling a story that’s remarkable. It’s simple ideas such as not using adhesives, or making sure to colour code screws, and to document and provide openly accessible reliable repair information. But somehow there are other forces at play, whether it’s considerations from a business perspective or that manufacturers have difficulty moving from a linear to a circular approach.

It’s important to consider that we don’t just want some products to be repairable, but to make every type of product repairable, and some federal regulations are coming which will help find a way. The French repair score has helped some manufacturers to start some changes to ensure a slightly higher rating - so for example, you might see a company like Samsung potentially making available smartphone repair manuals in France, but not elsewhere.

Ugo is a co-founder and steering member of the European Right to Repair Campaign, a coalition pushing for the universal right to repair, meaning legislation at national and European level requiring manufacturers of all electrical and electronic products to design for repairability, while providing access to all independent repairers and the general public to repair manuals, affordable spare parts and long-term software and security updates.

Some companies are beginning to make available a level of spare parts, and they are making quite a bit of noise about doing so. But often, the way products are designed require replacing multiple parts in a bundled way. We recommend at a legislative level the un-bundling of spare parts, so a product is designed for modular replacement of only the smallest components to reduce cost and environmental impact.

Some manufacturers are actively increasing the barriers around, for example, the use of third party spare parts or the reuse of original parts from a secondhand device. This can be controlled through software which matches the serial number of a part with the serial number of the device. These practices might appear fringe, but there’s a risk manufacturers might reduce our ability to repair even while we are achieving an extra layer of right to repair, so I think it’s essential that designers think about how to make products self sufficient with minimal software involved, or at least to make the software easily patchable

There are plenty of ways community repair initiatives - like our Restart Parties, the repair cafes around the world, or community fixing factories we’re currently testing - can encourage people to engage and come together in ways that are not competing with for the forprofit repair world, but attempting to give a second lease of life to things that would otherwise not find a suitable marketbased way of finding repair and reuse. There are multiple ways people attempt to extend the life of products designers create, and so all these possible players should be considered when developing a new product design.

Ugo Vallauri
we don’t just want some products to be repairable, but to make every type of product repairable

To The Man Burning Windows

To start the blaze you curl up a paper watch fire eat their words about global warming now climate crisis as if language makes a difference as if that’s what it is.

People kick up a fuss as the fire kicks up smoke but you can’t see the ice melting.

In cities gates are hemmed with barbed wire vicious scrawls of birds’ nests where binbags roost rip themselves into rooks flapping in the wind pronged metal clenched into talons.

Fox fur lines coats roads shop windows scavengers in cities which used to burn thick with whale light. Building sites drop nuts and bolts sowing rust into the ground wires grow thorns

ripping roses unaccustomed to blooming by night lights bleed onto rivers until the water’s artificial blue swarming with shopping trolleys ads pop up like weeds we forget to notice there’s a catastrophic braille of gum. Above Delphinus is drowning in orange light The Great Bear is skeletal star and pelt The North is recognisable as a speck of white a foreboding mirror of the globe.

You think it will be a star-studded fight Orion and his blazing belt gladiatorial against the lion with a glint for an eye but they’re both snuffed out by bush fire.

It’s too late you say anyway might as well enjoy seasons as they flare into travesties.

What difference is in 1ºC

you say you won’t be here to see you are content to settle as the dust retreating in another’s hourglass. You are content with the polystyrene semblance of ice rotting to an eternal hail a stranger to winter you are content to germinate tomorrows in which we will be stung by the rumour of honey you are content to throw away plastic cups bottles of birdsong messages bobbing inaudible on high waters you are content to leave a tideline rivalling the skyline knowing that we cannot plough the sea.


You leave us with dark smoke retire home scuttle back to the city deserting plump woodpigeons for the metropolis’ kind hobbled and homeless unaccustomed to trees in urban uniforms of city grey oiled plumages iridescent & every colour of the rainbow

laid upon the ground by a car.

You are happy to watch the sun rise in the West as oblongs of glass band light around running ragged the skyline an erratic heart.

Extinction is on the flatlining horizon but you cannot see it.

At sunset your city must look beautiful as though the world is on fire.

Daisy Campbell is interested in the intersections of literature, visual art, and the environment. Daisy is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Modern and Contemporary Writing at the University of East Anglia.

Daisy Campbell

How to make your business carbon

Carbon literacy is an environmental accreditation that an individual can achieve by attending a competency course. They will have an awareness of the carbon costs and impacts of everyday activities, and the ability and motivation to reduce these emissions on an individual, community, and organisational basis.

A carbon literate citizen will understand how their own actions - and the actions of humanity at large - are impacting the planet, but someone who’s carbon literate will also have the skills and desire to go out and do something about these impacts. After someone has been on a carbon literacy course, they can apply to become a Carbon Literate Citizen and receive a carbon literacy certificate, a nationally and increasingly internationally recognised accreditation which demonstrates successful completion of a day’s climate change training.

The concept of carbon literacy stems from Manchester’s 2009 Climate Action Plan, which aims to create a low carbon culture in the city. There was a kind of acknowledgement that a key barrier to climate action was knowledge - people not being on the same page about the causes of climate change. From here, the concept of carbon literacy was formed, and a working group established to outline the Carbon Literacy Standard, the framework underpinning all our work as a charity

Carbon literacy courses have been delivered in a variety of sectors across the UK and the world - but we’re not a training provider. We can better be understood as an accreditation body and provider of the framework from which an organisation can develop their own carbon literacy course which will be tailored to specific organisations audience. This audience might be an organisation’s stakeholders, trustees, or community members. It will be sector specific and maybe geographically specific.

The idea is that carbon literacy courses shouldn’t be generic, so encourage them to be as relevant as possible to the audience receiving the training to have the greatest impact and so the content entails advice and knowledge that will help them make a difference. We have courses for museums, the NHS, and councils, social housing bodies - and if you are from any of these organisations you can go to our website and have a look at the Toolkits.

Most of the time an organisation that wants to engage with carbon literacy will develop their own course which can be embedded as part of their internal training and sustainability programme. We have resources such as slide packs and resource links that can be incorporated so they are not starting from scratch. Once the course has been developed, it will be sent to us for accreditation as a carbon literacy course.

The Carbon Literacy Standard is a framework underpinning the work we do. The first element is knowledge: all courses must include the science of climate change, why it’s happening, and how we know humans are causing it. It must also include the international, national, and local impacts of climate change, and cover what some of the solutions might beboth generally but also within the sector being considered.

There is specific information to be covered, but it’s also a flexible framework with room to include information that might be relevant to a specific audience. We’ve accredited courses including biodiversity, climate justice, degrowth, and welding - so there’s room for creativity within the process as well.

The next element is the learning method: all courses must be one day’s worth of learning, the amount we feel is the minimum time needed for someone to come away feeling empowered, knowledgeable, and able to make a difference.

Then we have peer to peer delivery: we encourage organisations to roll outcarbon literacy internally with staff members training each other rather than through external facilitators. Our colleagues and peers understand the specific challenges and issues each organisation or sector faces, and we trust our community. We find the training to be more effective, leading to more effective communication, with the planning that comes from it then incorporated into an organisation’s strategy.

We encourage course writers to focus on positivity: highlighting ideas that can be done and not what can’t be done.

There are values key to carbon literacy that we encouraged to be embedded within any course:

Jack Rhodes-Worden Carbon Literacy Project

carbon literate?

- Climate action can and should help us create a better world. We are trying to reconfigure some key elements of society and we think fairness should be embedded within this process.

- We think that individual behaviour change is important. The Committee for Climate Change stated that almost 60% of emissions reductions that must occur for the UK to meet the 2035 Net Zero target will include some degree of individual behaviour change, so carbon literacy can lay the groundwork for to help people get on board with these changes that are going to have to take place.

- We know there’s massive value in working together to achieve change.

- At the end of every course, each learner will create two actions to reduce their carbon footprints - one individual action and one group action that they might do with a colleague or team. We hope that these actions are undertaken by the learner to create organisational culture shifts.

We worked with the construction company Jacobs UK, who have estimate 5-15% emission savings per person after having taken a course. We estimate that 160,000 tonnes of emissions have been saved due to the 44,000 citizens that have undertaken carbon literacy training. This impact is only going to grow.

Carbon literacy training can help ensure everyone within an organisation has the same level of clarity, knowledge, and carbon emissions knowledge. Having everyone in an organisation on board helps to address big issues the organisation or sector might be facing, for example waste, energy usage, or procurement. You begin to discuss these solutions more effectively when there’s a consistent level of knowledge across the organisation. Because carbon emissions are often coupled with energy or resource usage, financial savings come along as well. It is also empowering to provide staff with an opportunity to make decisions about their roles and give people confidence to speak up about climate change - especially considering how anxiety inducing climate change can be.

It’s also demonstrates to stakeholders, shareholders, and customers that an organisation is committed to reducing emissions. And this is something that obviously a lot more observations are being done that way as well.

It’s also something fun and great for wellbeing through an opportunity to engage and connect with one other and consider solutions to problems together.

Jack is the Museums Coordinator at The Carbon Literacy Project, and supports museums and other cultural organisations to engage with Carbon Literacy and take carbon emission reducing action.

When Computers Were Women (2021)

Crystal Bennes

When Computers Were Women is a project connected to feminist critiques of physics, and stems from an invited residency at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, in 2018. The work comprises four hand-woven Jacquard wall hangings created from translating CERN computer punch cards into Jacquard weaving instructions.

Beverley’s work

Fifty years of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia

The Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) has been at the forefront of environmental science since it was founded in 1972.

CRU was founded in 1972 by Prof Hubert Lamb, with the aim of establishing climate change records “over as much of the world as possible, as far back in time as was feasible.” At the time, the assumption was that CRU might exist for only a decade before the research was wound down or taken up elsewhere. But the realisation - partly due to CRU’s findings at the end of that decade that human-caused climate change was becoming a global concern led instead to an expansion of the unit. Its scope expanded from establishing historical changes to developing modern datasets that could be used to detect whether human influence could already be seen in the patterns of changing climate.

CRU celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and its mission is as clear as ever: to improve understanding of how and why our climate changes, using machine learning, statistical, and physics-based models to make better predictions of future warming. CRU’s work also helps to make sense of, and reduce, uncertainty in the climate data used to determine worldwide environmental policies.

As well as being a leading institution in climate science, CRU is also a supportive and active community of academics and students. Some of CRU’s past and present staff and students reflect on their experiences working at the ground-breaking organisation:


Professor in Climate Change, Griffith University, Australia

What were you working on in CRU?

When I first joined, we looked at the relationship between the current climate and variations in industrial production and tourist activity. I also worked with Clare Goodess, Senior Research Fellow, School of Environmental Sciences at UEA, on nuclear waste disposal and longterm variations of groundwater movement. We looked at very long-term variations and the occurrence of ice-ages because those are timescales that are of interest for the nuclear waste industry.

It reflects the way in which the United States funded research, which is something that hasn’t really impacted elsewhere. If researchers demonstrated value, their research would continue to be funded over the long term. This allowed Tom Wigley, Phil Jones, and others in CRU to go on to do something of extraordinary value.

How do you think CRU’s work has impacted our understanding of climate change?

The global temperature record is embedded nowevery year the series is updated and every year people make statements like “this is the fourth warmest year on record.” The fact that it has become something watched, continually updated, and continually reported on every year is important, because it focuses everyone’s mind on what’s happening.

Taking The Earth’s Temperature UEA Article Manoj Professor UEA What I ie. it what’s observations, CRU anticipated days get?” How CRU, the collaborative. collaborate collaborate vice understanding. Climate understood established future the needs That’s a what going
The work that was done for the US Department of Energy was fundamental, foundational, and very important.

What do you work on in CRU? work on climate dynamics and climate modelling, ie. how we understand the physical climate and how it may change in the future. If we want to understand what’s happening in the future, then we must combine observations, theories, and model projections.


CRU translates this into useful information, for example, anticipated sea level rise around Norfolk, or how many days above a certain rainfall threshold are we going to get?”

How collaborative an environment is it?

CRU, the School of Environmental Sciences, and the Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences are collaborative. I think in an area like ours you must collaborate with other people - the modellers must collaborate with the people doing the observations and vice versa because that’s how you build up your best understanding.

Climate change is now robustly observed and understood at the global scale and has become established as the defining issue of our time. CRU’s future research focus is on providing the knowledge, and the underpinning scientific understanding, that society needs for developing its response to climate change.

What do you work on in CRU?

My research addresses climate uncertainty. I developed a tool during my PhD that helps our understanding of changes in weather in response to different climate scenarios. I now work with Peer Nowak, Lecturer in Atmospheric Chemistry and Data Science at UEA, looking at using machine-learning techniques to constrain cloud feedback projections.

What impact do you think CRU has had on global efforts to halt it climate change?

Members of staff, both previous and present, have had a lot of impact working with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as producing the global temperature record, which is used by scientists all round the world.

The Warmest Decade UEA Article
That’s what CRU works on: building up a more complete picture of the climate,
it did in the past, and what it’s going do in the future.

Rubbish Tools & Questions: how do we think about waste?

What have you wasted?

This was the question that Adapt, a climate club and design studio founded by Josie Tucker and Richard Ashton, asked the public with their experimental project The Waste Database in 2021.

“My precious youth on this boring job”, said one respondent. “Electricity online window shopping, even though I never buy anything…” wrote another. “Chemicals down the drain from all of my expensive hair products”, replied a third.

The responses, submitted through an easyto-use and visually punchy online interface, ranged from funny to poignant. They reveal the kinds of anxieties we associate with waste – I should be, I could be, I want to be less wasteful – and yet, despite these good intentions, we continue to produce millions upon millions of tonnes of waste every year, enticed by persistent whispers of consume, consume, consume.

What have I wasted?

When I ask myself this question, the dread creeps in. Too many glass pickle jars to count as I have snacked my way through cycles of writing and procrastination; thousands of half-drunk cups of tea, mindlessly abandoned to grow cold in moments of distraction; and plenty of minutes, hours, and months fretting about all that I am wasting and my lack of agency and action on this huge issue.

Over the past few years, I have thought a lot about waste. I have researched and written on the topic and its relation to the climate crisis for several different projects – most recently working as the assistant curator of the Design Museum’s exhibition Waste Age: what can design do? (October 2021- February 2022) with curator Gemma Curtain and chief curator Justin McGuirk. Waste is a hugely complex topic, full of contradictions, conditions, and nuances that shift based on factors such as context, economics, systemic infrastructure, geography, legislation, transportation, social behaviours, and material knowledge. This makes it a frustratingly difficult area to communicate about and, therefore, take action on. As an out-of-sight-out-of-mind problem, it is easy to avoid because, while waste is everywhere, we hardly ever see it. Waste is obscured by enormous systems of production and disposal that occur behind closed doors.

The Waste Database is a useful reflective tool to prompt us to think about waste. Through a simple question and bold use of colour and fonts, the designers reframe waste as something relatable rather than a boring, far-away issue. According to Adapt’s Instagram post, the survey aimed “to help people notice different forms of waste from themselves and others.” The individual focus of their waste tool was likely the result of the project being produced in partnership with household cleaning product brand Ecover, and while individuals have a part to play in helping to mitigate the harmful impacts of waste by applying pressure through their buying decisions, there are other, more powerful players in the waste and climate crisis we face.

Designers can create new systems and materials for manufacture. Large-scale corporations and manufacturers can ensure their materials, supply chains and products are less wasteful. Governments must legislate more actively and aggressively against waste. But, what would these tools look like? And how can the question then transition from what have you wasted? to how can we deal with the waste problem? And, how can we waste less?

Most Prefereable


Reuse Recycling Energy Recovery

Least Prefereable

In 1979 Dutch politician Ad Lansink was asking similar questions. He proposed a ranking system for waste management called the Ladder of Lansink. The schematic illustration clearly and simply orders options for waste management and resource conservation from top to bottom: “reduce” being the most preferable option, followed by “reuse”, “recycling”, “energy recovery”, “incineration”, and, as a last, least preferable resort “landfill”. The ladder clarified what should be considered each and every time we confront the potential for creating waste and disposing of it in order of what will be the least damaging to the planet and what will save the most resources. It was incorporated into Dutch legislation in 1993.

Over into Management management of the the product’s when extraction production toxic Graphically down Management optimum dealt its purposes, As lies everyone use can actions makers, inform from, other to project an issue. immediately entangled we of its precious

Incineration Landfill

Preparing for re-use Prevention

Other Recovery Recycling


Over the years, Lansink’s ladder has evolved into the EU and UK’s Hierarchy of Waste Management which similarly ranks waste management strategies but rephrases some the words and includes ‘prevention’ as the top priority. This inclusion speaks to the design and manufacturing stage of a product’s life and the waste that is created when we produce goods – through the extraction of raw materials from the earth, production offcuts, energy consumption, toxic chemical use and so much more.

Graphically presented as an upsidedown pyramid, the Hierarchy of Waste Management is effective in showing the optimum weighting of how waste should be dealt with. Its design is utilitarian reflecting creation predominantly for legislative purposes, rather than consumers.

As a tool, the charm of the waste hierarchy lies in its simplicity and applicability for everyone despite its origin and intended use is in the political sphere – an individual can apply the hierarchy to their microactions while at the same time, designers, makers, or manufacturers can use it to inform design, where to source materials from, and how to manage by-products or other waste. A governing body can use it decide on which kinds of legislation and project funding to prioritise. The hierarchy is approachable entry point into a complex issue. It acknowledges that we cannot immediately solve the problem of waste, entangled as it is with our everyday lives, but we can take steps to mitigate the production waste and, as a consequence, reduce environmental damage while diverting precious re-useable resources from landfill.

The Waste Hierarchy is not perfect – it is law binding but it is difficult to enforce its use, it does not acknowledge the need for resources such as finances, time, and systematic infrastructure necessary to support the categories of the pyramid and it can be limited is addressing the nuances of different materials needing unique waste treatments e.g. metal vs food waste. However, it is one of the most useful tools I’ve come across for thinking about - and taking action on - waste.

The wonderful thing about the hierarchy’s visual and structural simplicity is that each word encourages the user of the hierarchy to think about how and where they apply it. Behind each tier (with the exception of disposal) are thousands of implementable approaches and design strategies that can be taken to reduce waste - e.g. design for disassembly, borrowing, and renting goods, identifying valuable waste streams and resources etc. The broad yet clear words encourage us to ask questions that can lead directly to actions and decisions. In uncertain times and with a mounting climate collapse, these urgent questions are much needed. The upside-down pyramid gently replaces the incessant whisper of consume, consume, consume, with an alternative: consider, question, act.

Lara Chapman is a London-based writer, design researcher & curator. Her work explores the intersection of the climate crisis & design & the stories we can tell through everyday objects. Lara has written for publications such as Disegno, Architectural Review, and DAMN. She has exhibited projects at the V&A and Dutch Design Week. She holds an MA in Design Curating and Writing from Design Academy Eindhoven and a BA in Product and Furniture Design. She is currently an assistant curator at the Design Museum in London.

Lara’s work

Festival Keynote

It’s fair to say that we are in unprecedented times and how we respond collectively is really important. In Newcastle we were the first to declare - across the university, the council, and the hospital - a climate emergency. We have set our net zero target for 2030, and have been recognised as one of the leading local authorities for tackling climate change.

Every year we emit around 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. We have a responsibility to drive down these emissions. It’s no exaggeration to say that we are putting all our efforts into making sure that we continue to tackle climate change at a local level, whilst trying to model what a city should look and feel like, and we have a real leadership role to play in making sure that we have energy security and inclusive economic growth which integrates green jobs.

Somebody asked me the other day “What does a green job look like?” and my response is “a job!”. Every part of our economy needs to be green and if it is, then it will impact on those inequalities. The two go hand in hand: we want a green economy, we need energy security, and we need to make sure that we drive down those inequalities using green technology, green ways of working, and designing with our community - this isn’t something that we should do to them.

‘What does a green job look like?’ my response is ‘a job!’

How communities and neighbourhoods work and thrive is critical to our strategy - but it’s also about designing products and services that will help residents and businesses behave and live in a more sustainable way. We take the idea of a circular economy seriously, and want to involve people in Newcastle to develop it through becoming a test bed for innovation, but rooted in reality, so we are working in partnership with universities and college to establish a centre of excellence for low carbon training. We want to become a magnet for green growth and to see Newcastle maintain a first-mover advantage working on green and blue energy. We have natural assets: a tidal river, ports, the coast, and Dogger Bank, one of the biggest wind farms on our coastline, is being developed. We were there at the First Industrial Revolution leading the way, we want to also lead the Fourth Green Industrial Revolution, but ensuring our people feel involved and are part of it.

We want to redesign the city for people, with fewer cars. We want to build in low carbon heat networks. We want to put sustainability and green credentials into city planning, into its spatial plan, to embed it into our buildings and how we connect our city. We want to use our resources in a more sustainable way. But we also seek acceleration funding for our work - Newcastle secured around £30m to decarbonise our public sector and domestic estate in the past year and £10m to improve the thermal efficiency of homes, including installation of low- or zero-carbon heating systems and ground source heat pumps.

We work to be an exemplar as council and city by focusing these funds on things we can change quickly, but also recognise some things take longer and should be integrated into policy. We seek to tackle inequality and climate change at the same time, considering them two sides of the same coin and not as separate initiatives. Our green agenda is linked to inequality and we work to ensure that capital programmes across the city have embedded net zero considerations and built-in social value. Being healthy and sustainable means tackling inequalities and poverty simultaneously.

Pam Smith is the Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council and joins at a great time as the city seeks to emerge strongly from the pandemic. Passionate about people, communities and neighbourhoods, Pam is eager to work with residents and colleagues from across the region to achieve the best outcomes for the people of Newcastle; leveraging the opportunities that levelling up and devolution offer to secure outstanding schools, excellent jobs, and high-quality homes to make Newcastle one of the best places in the world to grow up, work and, live.

‘We seek to tackle inequality & climate change at the same time, considering them two sides of the same coin & not as separate initiatives.’

English Channel From the series

Adrenochromes (2023)

Leon Chew Leon’s work

Design For Planet Sprints

The realities of the climate emergency often feel too distant or too large to address - we feel the urgency only in the abstract, at the edges of our working lives. We know the climate is changing and we know that the design of places, products and services is a big part of that change, but we also know that design is vital to how we adapt and change for the better.

Design and the effects of the climate emergency have long been on converging paths, but how those paths meet and what happens when they do is something we set out to explore through the design sprints at the Design for Planet festival 2022.

We started by asking: “What kind of world will we be designing for in the decades ahead, with what new constraints and opportunities? How could a design brief help us explore these, and who will need to be a part of the design teams that answer them?”

In our sprint sessions we brought designers, innovators, businesses, students, communities, and policymakers together to explore urgent challenges centred on the homes and neighbourhoods in which we live; the town centres where we work, shop, and come together; and the regions that define the UK.

We created a deck of cards with four suits – Risk / Focus / Context / Outcome – that when dealt to the teams, generated a random design brief made up of a real climate risk, a major sector to focus on, a familiar place in the UK to contextualise it, and a category of design to concentrate on as an outcome. We worked with Damon Hart-Davis who built the online brief generator that shuffled the deck and dealt the cards.

This randomness meant we could engage participants in a fresh way, but also let us emphasise that climate impacts will be unpredictable and non-linear – and that the design challenges we face as a result of them are complex and will require new coalitions of people and design disciplines to help us adapt to them.

Our cards took real climate risks from a Climate Change Committee report that shows the likeliest health, infrastructure, biodiversity, and social justice implications of the climate emergency. They pose design challenges across energy, food, transport, and community and are deliberately rooted in places that feel real – from dense innercity neighbourhoods to changing coastal communities, left behind towns and remote villages. They ask for outcomes at different scales – from policies to places, infrastructure, products, and services.

Throughout we were preferable futures, as defined Cone, in order to create North but aspirational ways of explore climate action that but within the bounds of Randomly generated discussion, and rapid ideation teams zooming in on one and share back to the this we were supported illustrators from Northumbria distilled each of the discussions had into impactful visuals. three of these that show food, energy and transport.

These Design for Planet opportunity to bring designers, businesses, students, policymakers together to oriented, systemic design look and feel like.

Coalitions of different stakeholders, of systems thinking and show us a powerful new design practice. A new design that can connect third and public sectors, businesses and brands tackling the climate emergency.


Hugo is Programme Lead at the Design Council working across Social and Business Innovation. He is an Industrial Designer and Anthropologist with over 15 years working at design studios and consultancies across Europe – connecting the conceptual, the strategic and the commercial.

careful to pitch for defined by the Futures North Stars of realistic of living: a sandpit to that was progressive of the feasible.

briefs, focused ideation led to our sprint one idea to visualise wider group. To do by a group of brilliant Northumbria University who discussions and ideas we visuals. We’ve highlighted system-sketches on transport.

Planet sprints gave us the designers, innovators, communities and to show what climatedesign solutions might stakeholders, as part and mission-led design future of sustainable baseline of inclusive connect us all – from the sectors, via communities, to – as we all commit to emergency.

The UK Climate Risk Independent Assessment

The Futures Cone, use and history

He has explored this across industries from transport to consumer electronics, creating design experiences that blend people, place and product. He has worked on modular aircraft systems for Airbus; customer experience-led service and physical design for HS2; flexible and equitable autonomous vehicles for technology brands; and eCargo bikes for start-ups who are transforming supply chains, and our cities, towards a more human scale.

Design for Planet Brief Generator

Design For Planet Sprints

Green Landing

Shaping community around shared mobility

A social space and mobility hub that lets us find and share the usual and more unusual modes of transport depending on when- we need them and what we need them for. Large, small, fast, slow, recreational or functional - From scooter to e-bike to cargo bike, and from EV to RV.

Green Landing is a place to share, store, repair and charge vehicles, rather than own them built around repurposed street space and shops. It is mobility as a service with a rich local community wrapped around it.

Transport Sprints

Design For Planet Sprints

Village Green 2.0

A distributed village hall and re-imagined village green

A re-imagining of the village green and village hall that repurposes underused outdoor spaces and buildings as a new kind of sustainable, community owned, and managed village infrastructure based on food.

Village Green 2.0 is a blend of smallholding, community centre, market, composting facility, and refectory or restaurant that brings a community together to grow, cook, sell, and share food and sustainably manage the land around them.

Food Sprints

Design For Planet Sprints

Neighbourhood Power

Community energy

Neighbourhood Power reflects the emerging concept of locally generated renewable energy that is harnessed, managed, and shared by the community.

In villages and urban communities alike solar PVs and wind turbines – on and around our homes – form part of a physical, digital, and social infrastructure that lets us reimagine our neighbourhoods as 21st century, community-driven power stations.

Energy Sprints


A game,

• 1-6 players

• A deck of cards

• A coin

• A piece of paper

• Writing implements

• An hour or so


Take turns to read this text out loud. The player whose birthday is nearest the start of the year can go first. At each TITLE, change reader. In this game we will tell a story of a newly liberated land, a land coming to terms with its past and trying to form something new. The Authority has left, but they’ve left us with this alien fruit, many bad memories, and a hundred things unsaid.


This is a game that can involve material around colonialism and trauma, so should be played with care for all involved. Place your coin on the table, heads-side up. If anyone is ever uncomfortable with what is being discussed, turn the coin over for the group to change subject.


Now we will create our setting, the place where our story will take place and where we live. The following things are true about our community:

• We fought for our freedom, but memories of the time before are still raw.

• The galaxy outside is hostile and treacherous.

• The alien power, the Authority, is gone, but still has a hold. People, industries and memories still remain. Processing their alien fruit is our main employment and source of trade. These truths can be threatened over the course of play.


This is a game of uncovering a world together. Together we will create a map and a story. We will build up the map as we play. Each player will add something new to each place. Eventually we will know more about this place, and we will seek to know the community that lives here. This story is based on a real place and real events, but we will imagine another planet, and a particular place on that planet where all the characters now live.


First we’ll descibe a far-away world. We’ll take a few minutes to choose or invent five aspects of the local environment, while we draw them on our piece of paper, starting our Map. What does our land look like? What are the main features?

Red dust landscape, twin moons, low mist, shimmering haze, jagged rock, rolling fields, verdant crops, bioluminescent moss, deep jungle, angular craft, drifting clouds, blazing sun, cool breeze, rolling rivers, wind turbines, smooth forms, curved chrome, orange sky, smoking vents, cool streams, vivid flowers, churnedup tracks, crystal growths, sprawling roots, quiet ruins, murky swamp, heavy heat, cool breeze, canopy, intense scent, birdsong, silence, dappled light, heavy rain, teeming with life, deserted, sweet odour, quietude, wilds, fluorescent lighting, grasping vines, multichromatic haze, strange critters, large beasts


Now we’ll draw a settlement somewhere suitable in the middle of the map. As we draw, we’ll give the settlement a name. What does it look like?

spherical dwellings, cuboid forms, fractal architecture, organic forms, elevated homes, dusty bioshells, crystal structures, smooth stone, modular buildings, vine-covered, blazing lights, subtle glow, grown from the earth, built of metal, deep caves


Now let’s take a few minutes to choose or invent three aspects of who we are.What do we look like? What do we do together? How do we live together?

large, small, hairy, smooth, reptilian, mammalian, vegetal, fungal, amphibian, lithe, ponderous, loud, quiet, eating, drinking, dancing, signing, playing, fighting, debating, painting, looking, cooking, building, writing, storytelling, burrowing, bathing


We’ll take turns to draw and describe three more sites. Dark Forest, Winding River, Verdant Highlands, Hermitage Shack, Rebel Base, Cursed Place, Fathomless Caves, Scorched Lands, Great Mountains, Deserted homesteads Does anyone live in these places? If so, we’ll note their name at the location.


Now let’s choose or invent three aspects of the Authority, the alien power that has recently left. What do they look like? What did they do together? What did they do to maintain control before they were forced to leave? We’ll draw their Abandoned Headquarters on the map as we describe the Authority. large, small, hairy, smooth, reptilian, mammalian, vegetal, fungal, amphibian, lithe, ponderous, loud, quiet, eating, drinking, dancing, signing, playing, fighting, debating, painting, looking, cooking, building, writing, storytelling, burrowing, bathing


The Authority still has an influence on some of our places. We’ll draw the Authority’s remaining sites on the Map; the Colonial Farmstead, the Industrial Cannery.


What has the Authority left behind? We’ll draw some features on the Map. strange creature, intricate flower, deserted camp, something hidden, something forgotten, stacks of cans, machinery, packed containers, uniforms, rotting fruit, vast hangars, maze of boxes, piles of papers, abandoned complex, wreckage, tubs of poison, agricultural machinery, tattered tarps, someone’s diary, mould and spores, web-covered furniture, photographs in cracked frames, moss and lichen, inscrutable technology, empty storerooms, wardrobe of clothes, burnt documents, abandoned outposts, defunct Authority branding, canned alien fruit, wrecked spaceships, rusted bolts, vats of poisons, clunky machines

The monsters’ time is over. But some still remain Along with the alien fruit That fills pockets, And their bellies. We strive for another world Perhaps the world from before. But the world from before Is gone. So We must grow Something new.


The economy revolves around an alien foodstuff, grown for profit and export. This plant was introduced by the Authority, and requires the use of toxins to survive. Let’s choose or invent three aspects of this alien fruit. How did this fruit change the land? How did this fruit change you? We’ll draw the fruit, and then draw the Vast Plantation on the Map.

Sweet, sour, nourishing, aromatic, addictive, psychotropic, stinky, juicy, sharp, smooth, delicious, pungent, deadly, restorative, substantial, succulent, buttery, luscious, fleshy, gourd-like, berry, bean, plump, creamy, fragrant, moist, pulpy, seeded, tangy


Now we take a pack of cards. Seperate them into the characters (jacks, queens, kings), the secrets (the remaining Hearts, Ace to ten, with the two Jokers), and the oracle (a deck of the remaining cards), removing the Ace of Spades. Shuffle all three decks seperately, and shuffle the Ace of Spades into the second half of the oracle. Deal the character cards out, one each to each player, and place the rest face up on the map at suitable locations. Deal out a secret, face down, to each character. Consult the Character and the Secrets table for your own character. Take it in turns to introduce your characters and the characters on the map. What is their name and appearance? What do people say about them? Also think about how your secret effects your character, but keep it private from the group.Keep the map characters’ secrets hidden, and place them under their character card.


Take it in turns to take a card from the oracle and consult the oracle table. Read the event. Describe the action and draw something to represent the event on the map. Once completed, play passes to the left. It is close to the celebration of independence. When the Ace of Spades is drawn the day arrives, and everyone gathers at the Settlement to celebrate.


A past that shapes the present. The secret is something that happened or started during the occupation by the Authority. Think about how it effects the character and their actions.


Ace Murderer

Two Informant

Three Collaborator

Four The Betrayed

Five Thief

Six Lover Seven Witness

Eight Trauma

Nine Lover

Ten The Bereaved

• JOKERS Strange Fruit Addict



King The Settler-Farmer From the land of the Authority, anxious Queen The Horticulturalist Tends the Alien fruit Jack The Farmhand Works the land of the Alien fruit


King The Rebel Loner Lives alone, once a hero of the rebellion Queen The Leader Looks after the people of the Settlement Jack The Freedom Fighter Fought for freedom, but what is life now?


King The Soldier Has seen conflict, on which side?

Queen The Factory Manager Oversees processing of the Alien fruit

Jack The Police Officer Kept order before, keeps order now


King The Bureaucrat Arranges shipments and payments

Queen The Worker Works processing Alien Fruit, dreamer Jack The Archivist Writes of the times before, and times now



• DIAMONDS The occupation left you all altered. Everyone say something about how that time changed you.

• CLUBS Someone discovers a vast trove of paperwork hidden by the occupation. What does it show? Who is implicated?

• SPADES Finally, it is the celebration day of independence. Who unburdens a secret? What does this change? Everyone say something about how our story ends, each player offering final words.


• DIAMONDS Two people who live here decide to commit themselves to each other. Who performs the rituals for the union? Describe the moment.

• CLUBS Someone vows to reclaim what the occupation have taken. Who? Why?

• SPADES A secret is revealed. Is the community altered?


• DIAMONDS A character reveals their secret card and speaks. Who reacts badly?

• CLUBS A character reveals their secret card and speaks. Who is changed?

• SPADES A secret is revealed. Does it make things better?


• DIAMONDS The cannery is still running, exporting tinned alie fruit. Who benefits?

• CLUBS Someone is stealing the alien fruit. Why? What happens?

• SPADES The cannery is giving out free cans to the people to celebrate independence. How does everyone react?


• DIAMONDS Someone speaks up about grievances from before the occupation. Everyone say something about the old conflicts of this community.

• CLUBS Someone who has been spraying the crops has fallen ill. What happens?

• SPADES Conflict flares up among community members. Who is involved and why? Everyone say something about how it’s resolved.


• DIAMONDS The children have made a new game. What is it? Who disaproves?

• CLUBS The children have made a new song. What is it? Who is made happy?

• SPADES The children are witnesses to a secret What is it?


• DIAMONDS Your character is leaving the community. Why are they leaving? Remove your character card from play, and choose a character and secret from the characters on the map. The departing character reveals their secret. Everyone say something about how they react to this change.

• CLUBS A settler child has started climbing the fruit trees, copying the other children. Who disapproves?

• SPADES A storm is brewing. Which two characters meet as they shelter?


• DIAMONDS The harvest is starting. Who’s happy? Who is sad?

• CLUBS The alien fruit has evolved in an unusual way. Who notices? What happens?

• SPADES Someone is stealing the pesticide. Who? Why?


• DIAMONDS Creatures are dying where the pesticide is used. Which creatures? Everyone say something about the community’s reaction.

• CLUBS Someone calls for the cannery and plantation to come into community hands. What happens?

• SPADES Someone from outside is proposing terms to purchase the cannery. How does the community react? Everyone say something about what happens.


• DIAMONDS Who calls for reconciliation with the Authority? Everyone say something about this idea.

• CLUBS A terrible atrocity is revealed from the time of the Authority. What was the atrocity? Who uncovers it? What happens?

• SPADES A settler family is leaving. Why is their child sad? What happens?

Playtested by Derek Tumala, Maya Marshak, Viviana Checchia, Yasmine Sefraoui, Emilio Hernández Martínez, Agnes Cameron

Supported by Delfina Foundation

gia art foundation


by David Blandy

My grandfather always regretted what happened in Kenya. The introduction of the pineapple cash crop, the use of insecticides like DDT that destroyed a whole ecosystem, the enclosure of lands, the entire colonial project. It was the beginning of the silent spring, at the time of a last brutal chapter for the British Empire. He was a part of the Swynnerton Plan, a British scheme to create an indigenous land-owning class in Kenya, consolidating colonial authority through agriculture. The plan failed to quell the rebellion, but helped to create a corporate pineapple industry that survives to this day. But now the earth is burning, crops are failing, and people try to live on.


• A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o

• Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler

• The Quiet Year by Avery Alder

• Orbital by Jack Harrision

• The Deep Forest by Mark Diaz Truman and Avery Alder Mcdaldno

• The Ground Itself by Everest Pipkin

• Beak, Feather & Bone by Tyler Crumrine

• The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin

Gathering Storm was developed during Delfina Foundation’s fifth season of The Politics of Food, for which David Blandy was a UK associate artist. The season was made possible through the partnership of Gaia Art Foundation, with additional support from a range of partners and individuals.

Image courtesy the collection of the artist David’s work

How to - Rewild

Typically sited in rural locations, very broadly speaking, rewilding is about restoring ecosystems, encouraging back species may have disappeared, and getting that a place into a state where an ecosystem is somewhat self supporting. In cities, it’s a little bit more complex. Firstly the notion of rewilding a city is a bit of a misnomer because there’s no previous quasi-natural state to which a city can return. So when I talk about rewilding cities I talk about urban wildlife or wild cities.

Cities are already complex systems and if you’re going to try and change the human nature balance, you’re inevitably going to run into complex issues. There isn’t a whole lot of information about how to do it well in cities, and there are very few case studies of urban wilding success stories. Where they have failed, evidence has shown that it’s almost always because communities have not been sufficiently involved or motivated - the science of ecosystem restoration is quite well understood, but when you throw humans into the mix all bets are off!

I think there’s a question to be asked about why we should wild the city at all. In my opinion, wilding cities is the 21st century equivalent of the space race - it is the thing that we should be putting all our resources behind because it is fundamental to tackling the climate emergency. It is one of the best tools that we have for doing so, because cities make up such a massive proportion of our carbon footprint, so any way that we can improve them will contribute to tackling the climate emergency. London is supposedly one of the world’s greenest cities and full of parks, but in an aerial photograph it looks covered in concrete. We might like manicured parks, but we don’t seem to embrace natural systems.

The reasons for wilding a city are fairly straightforward, First of all, to improve biodiversity, which has all kinds of knock on effects.

Secondly, from a very selfish perspective, it helps to improve human health and wellbeing. It’s been shown again and again that birdsong improves our psychology and that environmental improvements contribute to our wellbeing

Thirdly, it helps economically. It’s been shown that when you wild cities, you can actually improve the the cost basis and you can save money.

Finally, and I’m really focusing on the selfish human perspective, it will improve our own survivability. We already know that if we don’t manage to achieve the targets set for tackling the climate emergency, if we humans disappear from the face of the earth there’s a decent chance that life will continue without us. So even if we forget everything else but think that we might want to survive, wilding is a way to help improve that chance.

I am an architect, and I was Creative Director on a project called Re:Wild Royal Docks, initiated by EdenLAB in association with Eden Project to develop a 10 year vision for wilding East London. Unfortunately the project is not now going ahead, but it helped develop key thoughts that I would suggest one should consider when urban wilding.

The first is that it’s important to consider what wild even means. The concept of wild means very different things to different people and can have radically different connotations for people from different backgrounds, perspectives, or cultures, suggesting a very different relationship to nature. You might think that everyone loves green citiesparticularly if you’re white and middle class - but there is no broad consensus about what it even means, or how it might be funded, implemented, designed, or maintained.

One person’s lovely wild meadow is to somebody else an unkempt, unloved bit of the city, forgotten and possible a waste of taxpayers’ money. A key thing to consider when starting an urban wilding initiative is to consider the diverse meanings and relationships that the word wild has to different people.

The second thing to consider is that when proposing to transform urban spaces to recreate or introduce wilderness, is to ask what is lost in the process? Dr. Bridget Snaith has shown that what might otherwise seem like unprogrammed green space serves quite different functions with different meanings across communities and cultures. So when you get rid of a park to create some new habitat, some may see a loss of a vital play and social space for their kids. When you remove something to put to put in place a wild habitat, the notions of what good taste are quite complex and I think it’s important not to assume everyone is just going to love the transformation of urban space when it’s already quite contested. People have many different desires and aspirations for what their urban spaces should do, how they should function, and what affordances that they might have for them.

The third thing is that as we try to coax non-humans back into our cities, and as we start to reframe our relationships to them, I suggest that we must also become a little wild ourselves. We have to radically transform how we relate to non-human neighbours and embrace the complexity and the unexpectedness that wildness entails - this might even impact on the way we treat our neighbouring humans. For example, mice share our homes, they live in our walls, they eat the same food, and they even breathe the same poor air as us, and their cousins give themselves to medical experimentation. I think it’s time that we at least meet them halfway and embrace the interdependence and unexpectedness that being wild actually means.

Usman Haque founder & creative director of Umbrellian
‘...from a very selfish perspective, another reason for wilding a city is that it helps to improve human health & wellbeing.

Fourthly, as anyone who has worked in participatory projects knows, one of the best ways to get people onboard with something complex is to get them doing things together, to have some sense of agency, responsibility, contribution, and most importantly a sense of accomplishment together. So, in developing programmes for wilding cities, I suggest that it would be useful to consider all the different ways to get people to participate around the theme of wild as a concept - growing plants together, nurturing together, nurturing non-humans together, perhaps cooking and eating together - hopefully not eating the non-humans!

It’s even better if you can get non-humans involved in these activities. Human to non-human communication has recently shown interesting developments, we are getting to the point where we may begin to understand each other, and if we can start to understand each other a little bit better I think we could develop quite interesting propositions going forward.

Finally, you can’t just expect to roll out a wild city proposition and expect everyone to love it. All the evidence shows that if you don’t explicitly involve people in the governance of such projects, they’re bound to fail. This means getting people involved in active decision making from the beginning, or even better, try and figure out how to get non-humans involved. There are initiatives around the world where non-human species have been granted citizenship, and so I think that it would be interesting to consider all the different ways that this could be cascaded across communities of humans and non-humans.

There are two texts I would like to draw your attention to. One is a pamphlet by the Zoological Society of London called Rewilding Our Cities* and was the first text I’d seen really to begin to summarise the challenges and opportunities in our cities.

The second is a book called Ways of Being* by James bridle, whose work describes the strides we’ve made in exploring our relationship to nonhumans, and explores different ways of communicating, interacting, and making sense of each other.

In summary, my urban wilding considerations are:

1) What does wild mean to different people?

2) What is lost? What is being replaced when creating a wild urban scheme?

3) How can we become wild ourselves? How can we build on the idea of mutualism, not just between humans but towards an interdependence between humans and non-humans?

4) How can we design a whole scheme of propositions where we are interacting and accomplishing something together? Humans to humans, humans to non-humans.

5) Who gets to decide? How can we distribute decision making so that it’s not just individual humans, but groups of both humans and nonhumans?

Trained as an architect, Usman Haque is the founder and creative director of Umbrellian, a London based design and build studio dedicated to transforming urban environments. His work embraces many disciplines, including design and architecture, the internet of things, urban community infrastructure, and large scale public art performance. Usman also heads up strategy and investment for Starling Technologies, a spin out from Umbrellium dedicated to pedestrian safety, and in 2021 was appointed as Creative Director of Re:Wild Royal Docks initiated by EdenLAB in association with Eden Project.

Festival Keynote

I’ve been a designer for many years - I’m 71 and I’ve been designing since I was 21. I was born in Japan after the 2nd World War, and it was at college when I started thinking about design. I was reflecting on my childhood and I couldn’t understand why people would try to kill each other and how a city could disappear in seconds. I was in an Ivy League university asking these questions and I ended up taking International Relations - only to find out that detente and mutually assured destruction were driving so much of the political agenda. And I wondered about how we can destroy a city so quickly, when building is so slow.

I realised I wasn’t going to be very good at international relations, so I decided to go into the arts and do creative work. I thought if I ever do work as an architect I’m gonna design buildings like trees and I thought about what a tree can do, like sequestering carbon, emitting oxygen. All the zero emissions talk conversation is about carbon and things that are damaging, but what about good emissions like fresh water or oxygen? It’s not simple. It’s about qualification not just quantification. So let’s emit good things, sequester things we want to sequester. That’s when I decided I wanted to build like trees.

Then we had the energy crisis in 1973. I remember thinking I have to design a solar powered building and I want to do something in Ireland, the place of my ancestors. I was working on this idea at Yale when a famous professor came by. He said, “What are you doing?” and I answered that I was working

on a solar heated house for Ireland. “Young man,” he said, “solar energy has nothing to do with architecture.” So I proceededbecause Vitruvius seemed to think that it did! - and I went to Ireland to experiment. I built it by hand, working with local craftspeople, and it was an amazing experience - not easy, but great - to connect those ideas of the Sun, Earth and humidity. When energy from the sun meets the dead rock with water, and we get soil, we get humus, and when we get humus we get humans - the word human is a derivation of the word humus, we are soil people. It’s also the root of the word humility, which means to be grounded.

After graduation, one of the first buildings I designed that got a lot of attention was competition I won for a skyscraper masterplan and tower in Warsaw. The idea was that they could have the the building, but we also calculated how much carbon it would release to construct and operate the building. I worked out that we would need 10 square miles of trees to offset the building, so my idea was to say they can have the building but must plant the trees. This was in 1989 and people thought it was a bit odd but we priced it at $150,000.

I also worked on a competition entry for a daycare centre in Frankfurt. We explained that it was a negative entropy building and order out of chaos for the children. It would be solar powered, children can operate it with shades and shutters that can move, it would have food growing on the roof, connection to the underground to create stable geothermal temperatures, it would have shutters in the

Cradle to Cradle has five fundamental conditions:

1.Material Health

In biological & technical metabolisms.

2. Circular Economy

Material reutilisation & continuous assets.

3. Renewable Energy

Clean energy & restorative carbon balances.

4. Water Stewardship

Clean water in production & use cycles.

5. Social Fairness

Shared abundance.

skylights to let in winter sun but block it in summer, and a laundry for the parents with solar powered cleaning while they wait for their children. Another project was a forest centre in Louisville, Kentucky, where we use old bourbon vats. It was a building made of wood - a building that was a tree in a forest - with a roof covered with plants, which is solar powered, and purified water. It did all things trees do.

We evolved this design process into what we called cradle to cradle, which has become the circular economy. In 2002 I wrote the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things with Michael Braungart. The idea was to look at the world through biological nutrition and technical nutrition, two metabolisms, and we would design things to be safe for soil and to work in cycles of resourcefulness. It was a fundamental way to look at the world, not just make stuff, take stuff, throw it away, but really develop the base of circular economies.

We designed a whole office complex in the Netherlands this way, the first circular economy real estate development. All the materials we considered were cradle to cradle and even certified by our protocol that had been put into a nonprofit, independent certification organisation. We started to look at buildings as material banks to think about the idea of design for this disassembly and of cataloguing all the materials in a building. Today we can use RFID tags - radio frequency

identification at very tiny scales so we can mark every component and know where it originated and what it can be used for in the future. So a building can become a material bank for future generations.

We’ve even designed fabrics, looking at the 8,000 chemicals in the textile trade and eliminating 4,362 based on our criteria - helping to reduce endocrine disruption, cancer, and birth defects. Working with chemists we developed lists of materials and we could create fabric with 38 chemicals instead of 256 and the water coming from the Swiss factory was so clean that it can be reused. We have been working on these methods with companies in India and Bangladesh and it’s exciting because they have factories which are renewably powered, have clean water, people are treated with dignity and grace, and you end up with very cost effective production.

From 2014 to 2016 I was the inaugural Chair of the World Economic Forum’s MetaCouncil on the Circular Economy and we brought these ideas into commerce, not just for one company, but for all companies, all industries, and at all scales. It is like a fractal, self-similar at every scale, so we can

work at the molecule level, product level, building scale, or with regions - we can even go planetary. It was exciting to look at it as a design philosophy. It’s a unified philosophy - but it’s obvious and simple, it’s nature. Nature has astonishing power if we think of it as intentional and design, nature is beautiful and knows how to find beauty by just being.

Now we can have a circular carbon economy. I wrote a protocol for the 2020 G20. The idea is to look at carbon within a diagram of a circular economy, considering carbon as both material and fuel. We burn it, but we could make things from it. Instead of just saying “carbon is bad, we need zero emissions,” we’re could say “carbon is the source of life, we design with carbon.” We can take hydrocarbons and think of them as hydrogen and as carbon, and we’re working on experiments now which follow ideas of using petroleum, petrochemicals, and hydrocarbons as a production of hydrogen. Then we have carbon, but instead of making the carbons a fugitive problem in the atmosphere we can have living carbon, durable carbon, and stop making fugitive carbon.

There are also exciting design ideas coming based on the idea we must remove carbon from the atmosphere now, not just reduce emissions. We can create this regenerative Biosphere, a cycle of life powered by the sun. We also need a circular economy formed of our technical materials going back to human technology, which I call it the circular Technosphere. We design things for human purposes, intention, and use, but they’re not living things - so we have to think about design language because we talk of lifecycle assessments when discussing sourcing and disposition. But nature doesn’t have resources, it has sources - and it’s our job to turn them into resources to use again and again and again in a circular Technosphere. If they can return to nature, then they become part of its regenerative recreation.

I’m so excited about this. It requires immense humility because we don’t want to do geoengineering, but we can think about restoration, regeneration, reuse, and recycling. It’s time to to put down our old tools and take up new tools. As designers we know this.

William McDonough is a globally recognised leader in sustainable design and development. He co-authored Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002), widely recognised as a seminal text of both the sustainability and the Circular Economy design movements. McDonough advises leaders on ESG, sustainability, Circular Economy, and design of products and facilities through McDonough Innovation. He is also an architect with William McDonough + Partners, a firm known for having designed many notable landmark buildings of the sustainable architecture movement. Through McDonough’s third firm, MBDC, he created the Cradle to Cradle Certified® Products Program. Cradle to Cradle Certified® is an independent, science-based, third-party, multiattribute product standard.

William’s work

Utopia as Method

Tim Waterman is Professor of Landscape Theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. He is the author of The Landscape of Utopia: Writings on Everyday Life, Taste, Democracy, and Design and editor of Landscape Citizenships with Ed Wall and Jane Wolff, Landscape and Agency: Critical Essays with Ed Wall, and the Routledge Handbook of Landscape and Food with Joshua Zeunert.

5 references for further reading regarding Utopia as Method for Planetary Landscapes

Ruth Levitas’ The Concept of Utopia

Tom Moylan’s Demand the Impossible: Science Fiction and the Utopian

Kenneth Olwig’s The Meanings of Landscape: Essays on Place, Space, Environment and Justice

Lyman Tower Sargent’s “The Three Faces of Utopianism Revisited” in Utopian Studies Vol. 5, No. 1

Lyman Tower Sargent’s Utopianism: A Very Short Introduction

Utopias commonly appear throughout literature or film as islands - as More’s original Utopia in his 1516 of the same name. Scaled up, pictured, in science fiction, planets on which ideas for social are tested out. Commonly utopias on Planet Earth are narrowly of as totalising diagrams, but to film and fiction we can see testing grounds for an astounding of possible social relations, possibilities, and most excitingly visions of future flourishing and goodness. The great power of utopias providing an authoritarian model perfect world, but rather in the envisioning relations differently philosophy of hope can introduce possibilities for improving everyday everyday places and situations.

Utopian scholar Lyman Tower identifies three faces of utopia: literature, utopian experiments are practical experiments in lived often called intentional communities), and utopian social thought. Sociologist Ruth Levitas furthers this in The of Utopia by identifying that in particular desire for change fuels these utopian formations.

Tom Moylan in his seminal Demand Impossible: Science Fiction

Utopian Imagination tells us utopia’ - first it operates as critique, second it is critical in the nuclear - with the critical mass to act explosively upon relations and possibilities world.

Tim’s work

for Planetary Landscapes

throughout in Thomas 1516 book up, they are as whole social relations utopias here conceived if we look see they are astounding range relations, political excitingly for goodness. is not in model for a the way that differently through a introduce radical everyday life in situations.

Tower Sargent utopia: utopian experiments (these lived space communities), Sociologist The Concept that desire, change often, formations. And Demand the and the of ‘critical critique, and nuclear sense explosively possibilities in our

Critical distance is also important, and

because, well, many of the ways people live just look really weird when you step out of the ruts you’re in and simply look.

I’ve spoken above about relationships, and relationships are central to the study and experience of landscapes everywhere. Commonly landscapes are thought of, like utopias, as total diagrams or plans, like the geometric layout of the gardens of Versailles. But landscapes in everyday life are the environments that make people who they are, and people have a relationship with the places they inhabit that shapes them in return. The Nordic philologist Kenneth Olwig tells us that landscapes can also be thought of as landships, relations of belonging and meaning-making that are embroiled in the particularities of place. By way of example,

The complexities of landscapes require thinking through everything about a place, and to transform them often requires the sort of all-at-onceness found in utopias. The scenario-making function of design is then privileged over the form-making function, and this too is like utopias in that narratives and possibilities for a better world in which all species might flourish are allowed their full expression.

and weather than about the imposition of a geometric order on a defined ground.

Perhaps what is finally of greatest importance in all of this is that the moral imagination must be employed fully in projecting landscape futures, which repeatedly forces the question through the process of design, “Is this right, good, and desirable?” in the face of the everpresent insistence that “This is just how things are done” or, worse, “There is just no alternative.” Utopias are tools for better futures, in substantive landscapes, here and now.

Tim Waterman Professor of Landscape Theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.
landscape architecture as a profession is becoming more and more about relationships between humans, other species, the inorganic elements of lifeworlds, and climate
imagining situations that allow us to understand and evaluate our own world from afar, in often transgressive ways, creates possibilities for change

How Do We Begin A Meaningful Conversation About Art’s Place Within the Climate Crisis?

British people infamously love talking about the weather, but what happens when UK temperatures start to regularly exceed 40 degrees? Will the conversation shift when climate-related mortality becomes a commonplace form of death? How will we begin to truly acknowledge the impact of the climate crisis?

Human-made climate change has an interconnected impact across our social, economic, and cultural lives. It shapes communities on a local and global level and determines everything from the food we eat to the age we can expect to live. Its effects are insidious and unavoidable.

In recent years, positive news on the fight against the climate crisis has become increasingly hard to come by. In 2019 the Oxford Dictionary declared climate emergency as the word of the year. Following a huge increase in usage British newspaper The Guardian started using “climate emergency” or “climate crisis” instead of “climate change” to better articulate the urgency and immediacy of the situation. Promises are broken as quickly as they are made; over a third of the world’s largest companies are committed to Net Zero targets, yet nearly all (93%) are set to fail if they don’t at least double the pace of emissions reduction by 2030.

Curbing carbon emissions is often presented as a Sisyphean task, but the consequences of failure will be catastrophic. What began with the degradation of biodiversity, rising sea levels and the gradual disappearance of coral atolls is now a global problem witnessed in a myriad of catastrophic ways. In 2022, a record-breaking heat wave swept across Europe, intense weather disturbances occurred across North and South America, major floodings took place in Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, Haiti and beyond, and Wildfires engulfed massive

swathes of Australia, North America and Europe. This list is by no means exhaustive, as severe weather warnings become a commonplace occurrence.

Such a topic is emotional and often evokes deep defence mechanisms and eco-anxieties. For this reason, my curatorial approach in dealing with the climate crisis at the Sainsbury Centre aims to initiate a frank and honest conversation, one that dares audiences not to turn away, but to confront their personal hopes and fears and our collective concerns for an uncertain future.

Over the past years, the relationship between art, ecologies, and the environment has become more and more vital as artists across the globe use their work to raise awareness and initiate change. The work of John Gerrard, whose art practice examines energy production, consumption, and environmental degradation issues has never felt so topical. In 2022, the artist created a timely NFT

work on the global impact of burning 100 million barrels of oil per day and dedicated 25% of the artist proceeds to atmospheric C02 removal. The rest of the proceeds will be donated to regenerative farming organisations across the globe to help farmers adapt to a more sustainable form of farming, an approach that moves beyond petro-agriculture and the use of nitrogen fertilisers.

Another striking example is The Edible Hut project (2011–2014).

Located in Detroit’s Osborn neighbourhood, the space – which features an edible roof and oculus ceiling made from a reconfigured Detroit garage – is a collaboration between residents, organisations, artists, and schools. The Edible Hut is a place for people to organise creative activities: spoken-word and hip-hop performances; the growing of healthy food and enjoying the art of cooking; plant education and exploration, cultivation and transformation of artistic energy; and support a neighbourhood sense of community belonging, ecological awareness, and sustainability.

The cross-over between art, the environment, and ecologies is not new. The 1960s saw artists commonly utilising and embracing recycled everyday objects and waste as materials of art. Artists such as David Medalla, Nancy Holt, Agnes Denes ,and Joseph Beuys used the environment as both a resource and modern cabinet of curiosities. Much like an artwork, such materials possess the tremendous power to excite the imagination, raise public awareness of environmental degradation and galvanise the public in an urgent attempt to encourage humanity to live more sustainably with the planet.

Sediment Spirit: Towards the Activation of Art in the Anthropocene

Sediment Spirit is one of the Sainsbury Centre’s developing exhibitions dedicated to addressing the climate crisis. Its title is a neologism I propose to offer as a new framework with which to engage with such a complicated and destructive issue, arguably the biggest threat to humanity that we have ever faced.

Sediment (From the middle French sédiment and from the Latin sedimentum) is a solid material from the Earth that moves and flows through different locations. It is composed of varying sizes and shapes of minerals, rocks,

Hut Detroit

Conversation Crisis?

pebbles, remains of plants and animals, debris of branches, massive boulders, and it can be smaller than a grain of sand. Sediment moves through the process of erosion (the removal and transportation of rock or soil from one point to another). It is of vital importance as it enriches the soil with nutrients. The science of Geology informs us that habitats rich in sediment are also often rich in biodiversity and life.

Spirit (From the Latin word anima and spiritus denoting the undying part of humans and animals which inhabits a body that gives it life) is the non-physical or dematerialised quality of an artwork to evoke an intellectual or emotional response. This concept is connected to what American academic Donna Haraway defines as Sym-poiesis or “making with”: the idea that nothing is self-organising or can nurture life alone. In her essay Symbiogenesis, Sympoiesis, and Art Science Activisms for Staying with the Trouble in the book Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet, Harray states: “Sympoiesis is a world proper to complex, dynamic, responsive, situated historical systems. It is a word for worlding.”

arts of living on a damaged planet

Haraway argues that earthlings are implicated in the earth’s ecological assemblage, ranging from, cells, organisms, fungi, bacteria’s, and other microscopic beings. The cycle of life that we cannot see beyond our human eyes. This idea offers us a relational understanding of the complex systems of symbiogenesis, an evolutionary theory that promotes cooperation between species in order to increase overall survival and interconnectedness of life in polytemporal, polyphonic, and polyspatial unfoldings.

Sediment Spirit pertains to contemporary art’s multiform and transformative processes to translate the complex science of climate change (data, graphs, maps, archives, and narratives) into the relatable language of our shared humanity. It connects us back to the corporeal, poetic, social, and visceral experience of humanity, so that we may engage with human-made climate change on an intimate level. Doing this expands our capacity to re-imagine our surroundings and how we exist within them in more sustainable ways, to provoke new ways of living. The exhibition aims to stimulate new discoveries of attunement, resonances, and interconnections and simultaneously invoke and summon the life force of art in creating a new language in this age of rapid geopolitical, ecological, and technological change.

The curatorial proposition of Sediment Spirit is an understanding of anthropogenic climate change as a transformation that happens simultaneously inside of our bodies as well as our external environment – it is something intimate, immediate, interconnected, hyperlinked, and altogether quite abstract to grasp. As the 2006 Al Gore documentary posited, the impacts of human-made climate change is an Inconvenient Truth.

It is a change that not only redefines our understanding of humanity as the new terrifying monsters of the Anthropocene, but also implicates the very essence of how we personally and collectively exist in society. It works in and outside of our bodies to manifest new methods of forming our future stories, songs, language, art, politics, economics, and our dreams of societal metamorphosis in the face of an ever-transforming world.

Sediment Spirit opens in autumn 2023

John Kenneth Paranada is a Filipino born, UK-based Curator, Researcher, and Writer. He is the first Curator of Art and Climate Change at the Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia. His interdisciplinary practice focuses on experimental futures, hybrid forms, and practices, with a focus on climate change, sustainability, historical entanglements, the Anthropocene, social sculpture, new media technologies, and platforming climate narratives.

John’s work 3D model of a Head-dress ornament in the form of a fox, AD 100-800

Balinese Cremation Documentary

I watch it flaming like meat or a building or wood Or anything else I’ve ever seen burning. Why not let go?

I think of the Catholics embalming time into marble, And the Celts sinking slowly into moss-topped bog, Then the sensible, anglicised service Where we threw roses after my grandparents And drove to a teatime wake behind a bus. Back to the flames now, The skull flaking and charring Like a chain-smoked planet. Why not let go? We must, we must.


Jessa is a 24-year-old poet and creative writing MA student at UEA, whose work has been shortlisted for the Bloodaxe Challenge and published in The Mays anthology, the Young Writers anthology, the Oxford Review of Books, Acumen, Better Than Starbucks, and the Brixton Review of Books.

Reducing Dairy Emissions

ZELP (Zero Emissions Livestock Project) is a London-based company working on developing cattle-wearable technology to reduce methane emissions in the agricultural sector – the largest methane emitting sector globally - and so the problem we are helping address is a large one. The demand for animal protein is increasing, in part due to a growing world population, but also due to developing societies accessing animal protein for the very first time as they break away from poverty. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations predicts an increase of 70% in demand for beef and dairy products by 2050, a figure that puts tremendous pressure on our food system, and on our capacity to deal with the substantial emissions associated with the production of these goods.

High-emitting sectors like energy and transport have shown over the years great capacity to rapidly reduce emissions with tangent and implementable solutions. Other sectors, including agriculture, remain harder to abate. One of the biggest challenges within the agricultural sector is to achieve reliable inventorying of greenhouse gases. Take entericfermentation methane as an example; Cattle produce anywhere from 70-150kg of methane a year, and understanding how much methane these animals produce is a hard task requiring spot-measurements in low volumes (typically 4-8 animals at a time) in specialised chambers then later extrapolated to a vast number of animals. The spread and uncertainty in the measurements are large – within the gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The way our technology works is by routing the methane-packed bovine exhalations through a catalytic arrangement embodied on a wearable device for cattle. By catalytically oxidising the methane the animals expel, we convert this methane into carbon dioxide and water vapour, a stream of gases that warms our planet significantly less (methane has a global warming potential that is 85 times higher than carbon dioxide, when measured over 20 years). Reductions of methane are tracked in real-time, and all data is transmitted via LoRa into gateways located on-farm for farmers and project developers to access.

On a yearly basis, the company looks to certify emissions reduced – under carbon methodologies currently in the development process – for beef and dairy companies to reduce scope-3 emissions, those occurring in the value chain of the company. Additionally, in scenarios where processors are not looking to keep the insets, these certified emission reductions can be traded in the voluntary or compliance carbon markets to help companies in different sectors achieve their emissions reduction targets. The transparency in our approach ensures ZELP only certifies what has been oxidised, nullifying the risk for over-issuance of credits.

With Design

Other ways of reducing methane in the agricultural space would normally involve feed supplements – organic or chemical formulations – which need to be pre-mixed into the animal feed. A key challenge that arises, however, is how to dose these additives in systems where cattle are atpasture, and where farmers are not feeding controlled rations. ZELP’s technology, on the other hand, can play a key role in addressing large quantities of methane gas, both in housed and grazing cattle.

This way of addressing methane emissions, requires us to craft a wearable system that puts the animals front and centre of our design process. A key component of ZELP’s missions is to improve welfare on-animal while methane emissions are reduced. The way the company approaches this is via tracking and processing an array of health, performance, and reproductive parameters that can point towards early onsets of disease – preventing these conditions from escalating, and helping farmers save on veterinary visits, antibiotics, and yieldloss.

To materialise solutions in the agricultural space, one should understand first the realities of stakeholders involved in agricultural supply chains. Farmers are facing a complex challenge that can be tackled with the appropriate investment. Margins, however, are often too low for farmers to embrace solutions at a cost for them. Beef and dairy processors, who in most cases have aggressive emissions reduction pledges (from net zero to carbon positive), are facing the hard task of reducing scope-3 emissions (mainly methane exhaled by cattle in their supply chains). Solutions to these emissions represent a high cost for these companies too. As years go by, the key question continues to be how should cost absorption unfold for solutions that impact a whole supply chain: from farmers all the way down to the retailers and end-consumers.

While it is clear that a challenge of the magnitude of agricultural methane will not be solved by one approach, but rather a combination of efforts and solutions, we are excited to play a role in the decarbonisation of this hard-to-abate sector.

Francisco Norris is an Argentinian-Italian design technologist based in London. He holds a Master’s Degree in Information Experience Design from the Royal College of Art, and has experience developing technology for Google, Panasonic, and the British Paraorchestra amongst others. Francisco is the founder of Zero Emissions Livestock Project (ZELP), and currently leads a team of designers, engineers and scientists in the development of an innovative technology to neutralise cattle methane emissions in real time, while gathering unique data to increase welfare and productivity on-farm.

From the series Human traces (2019)

Carlo Zambon

Carlo’s work

Festival Keynote

Daze Aghaji

Climate Justice Activist

I was born in North London in Tottenham and my story is not that uncommon - like many in the UK I was living in poverty. I had two brothers, a mum, and a dad, and we lived in a one-bedroom apartment. I remember when my mum drove over the A406, she would tell us to wind our windows up. I didn’t really understand why, until I got older - then realised that the urban environment we were living in was not safe.

Flash forward to around 2008. My mum had a dream about starting her own restaurant - for an immigrant woman who didn’t have her own bank account, this was a dream that felt far-fetched. But she made it happen, and by 2008 we went from living in relative poverty to being middle class in the span of around a year. We moved from Tottenham to Enfield and I started experiencing a different type of life. It made me think that if this one financial shift changed my life so rapidly, it made me think what it might look like if we changed other systems as well.

Around 2011, my mum sent me to a slightly quirky boarding school attached to a state grammar, led by an amazing couple, Mr. and Mrs. Nuttall who taught me how to love nature. I had a transformation of learning how to love really deeply and about the safety nature can bring to someone from quite an unstable childhood.

In 2016, aged 16, I moved back to London for college and that’s when I started getting very ill, having a lot of breathing issues. I found out about air pollution and I recognised that a lot of the health issues I faced were caused by the incinerator burning only a mile and a half from my home. And then I learnt that the issue of air pollution did not just affect my community, but many working class, black, and brown people globally. Then, I found that air pollution was only the beginning and that there’s a larger climate crisis that’s affecting people already on the margins of society.

When I went to university I started thinking about what I had lived through in my youth, recognising that the issue is systemic and about how we change systems to prioritise life. Then I had an awakening by accident. One Wednesday evening my friend took me to an Extinction Rebellion meeting. There were around 40 people - people who cared, people who understood the climate crisis in the same way that I saw the reality of it, but then also people who had a level of hope that if we gave our best efforts everything could change.

In 2019 I remember going to a shop and buying an array of strange things - from piping to hazmat suits. The cashier asked what we were doing, and I answered that we were starting a rebellion to take over London. He laughed.

One of the most beautiful things about that 2019 rebellion across London was a recognition that it wasn’t solely about the climate - it was about people and all living life, it was about helping everybody understand what the world could be like on the streets that we took over, it was about free food, community spaces, and yoga classes. It was creating the community a lot of us longed for, and this has been a narrative throughout all the work I do.

The work I’m most proud of at the moment is my design work to help us imagine what Utopia might look like for urban settings. We’re in a time that if societal collapse happens, those of us in cities would find it very difficult to live. In the countryside there is an understanding of where food comes from, of how communities are built, but in cities we lack this - but this needn’t be the case. So how do we get designers to work with Utopia in mind of creating, for example, council housing that aims to connect people with nature, or to help people with their health, and to fight an urban setting that’s not compatible with human flourishing.

This brings me on to my final point and the work I now do Phytology nature reserve in London. I went from working with big governments and international NGOs to working in local nature. It was quite a shift, but one of the most important shifts I’ve experienced because it reminded me how to really design something for community and of service to the people who live around, and to learn what a space like that can do for everyone.

We need regenerative cultures that are caring, that are loving, that have a duty not just to ourselves but to our communities and to Earth. When things feel tough, there are these systemic changes that are needed and can happen - and that will happen if we have the hearts to dream big enough.

Daze Aghaji is a London based Youth Climate Justice Activist who centres on regenerative cultures, intersectionality, radical social justice, and youth political engagement in her work. Described by The Guardian as “a ball of energy, conviction and warmth”, Daze’s advocacy for racial systemic change has led her to work with charities, institutions, governments, and grassroots change-makers globally. In 2019, she became the youngest candidate to stand in a European Parliamentary election and ran under the banner of a Climate and Ecological Emergency Independent to bring awareness to the need for political will in addressing the climate crisis. She has strong ties with the climate movement Extinction Rebellion since its early days and she was a founding member of the movement’s youth branch. Daze is a Creative Director at 1Earthrise Studio, a creative agency dedicated to communicating the climate crisis as well as an Artist in Residence at 2 Phytology, the Bethnal

Green Nature Reserve. 1Earthrise Studio 2Phytology


Dis is a disability-led research collective using storytelling to advocate for the value of disabled experience within space and culture, working against the increasing isolation and atomisation of disabled people in art and architecture. As a new collective, Dis plans a network of disabled voices that brings form to our experiences. We see the disabled experience as not always a medical fact, but a living reality that comes with its own way of being and acting in the world. We see the disabled experience as a shared one, and the aim of Dis is to embed this experience, to teach it to others, and ultimately use its structures to critique, deconstruct, and reconfigure art and architecture.


James Zatka-Haas is a writer and artist who has been working within the realms of disability art and culture for the last five years. He has written for and has covered the Shape Open, Unlimited Festival, and Tate Exchange. He is interested in the ways meaning is expressed through art and writing, and blends different disciplines together to create an integrated body of thought. Having been born with Cerebral Palsy, James’ work probes what it is to experience the world from an altered perspective, understanding how that perspective shapes the way we see, feel, and love.

Jordan Whitewood-Neal is an architectural researcher, designer, and artist whose work addresses disability, domesticity, pedagogy, and cultural infrastructure. He is currently co-leading a Design Think Tank at the London School of Architecture on retrofitting as a process of civic reparation. Jordan is also an Architecture Foundation Young Trustee, and co-founder of disability-centered research collective Dis.

There are moments in the places we share where you become suddenly exposed. The full brevity of your difference falls into view and history floods through you - of the times you were pushed or fell as a kid because of certain inescapable facts. Here you are caught wrestling with the potential future - of falling, tripping up, or being hit - as to placate the insecure present. Mosh Pits are preceded by countdowns: they are slow until they are suddenly not. They do not only belong to festival crowds and pub basement blizzards, but also exist in streets, squares, and stadiums - urgency and conviviality combine to aerate the atmosphere with movement. Bodies pulsate around an ever moving centre, and those whose rhythm differs or dapples become offset and fall off kilter. The mosh in the pit of the public, as if crowds had overflowed through the gates and security had retreated. This unique cultural act now surges. What is shopping if not a mosh pit, a capitalised response to necessity or love. But hear the music break. Crowds freeze in an instant. Bags are dropped and bodies reorganised as time slows and a well forms. The high street dissolves and the ground follows.

The mosh has returned home, but it is still no home to me. I go as fast as I can to escape the centre but its borders continue to grow. But what if I don’t need to fear it? The bodies take one last look before rushing, and this is either my last moment, or my greatest.

Mosh Pits splayed out over social media; droves of people, bodies moving in and then out, marching without music. Their presence here is political, floods of voices hammering out messages of loss and hope. Their protest is a mosh pit bigger than any other.

With meaningful ability and scream us advance; of Do not having action? Cyberspace big out in a cements droves, it’s This for dictated, of to us.

We bigger not but

and roam and freely




With the fracturing earth, our capacity for meaningful protest is rapidly slipping away. Our ability to move to a location, usually far away and built up, and sit there for 4, 5, or 6 hours to scream our anger doesn’t come easily. Some of us only use motors; some must plan weeks in advance; some of us have to weigh up the cost of infection. What is the cost of not showing up? Do our voices become muted or are we seen as not really engaging? What if showing up means having to use tools which go against climate action?

Cyberspace is an alternative, using technologybig tech technology - to step forward and mark out our positions. Yet for the sake of drowning data, a thousand online voices rarely matches hundred physical ones. To be presently there cements a moment. Our online voices come in droves, and they may be small an atomised, but it’s what we use and we’ve learnt to use it well. This rings true for disabled people as much as for anyone. That our lives and our wellbeing is dictated, perhaps more than most, by the whims of politics and culture, means we are obligated to show up in full when things do not work for us.

enough so that we may engage. How far we move is really down to our own ability, what we have access to and what has been denied us. Tethered protestors occupy the roads of London, tied together by motive, and means, as the storm brews and grounds shake with angry footsteps, they remain. They all come via different meanssome live close, others take the train, some walk - and yet the fact that they could easily make it is never brought to question. Protest is, they say, for us all. It is written into the folds of our communities, that we will be present when we are required to be.


Perhaps disabled people are ripe for climate action because we live close to the earth. For many of us, our lives are dictated by the environment, we have a fine-tuned relationship with it; of how it ebbs and flows; the overcrowded and over polluted streets, the lung blistering air and the burnt out summers. Our lives are impacted by these things greater than we might have thought, yet we have learnt to weather it. What impact the degrading climate will have on disabled people is very much dependent on who you ask. For some, the stagnating supply chains will block access to vital medicine, for others, the gradual move to electric cars will render the stock of cars granted on mobility allowances obsolete. Greater floods will leave us drowning.

Yet what of the near future? As our earth gradually divides between those most affected and those least, the supply chains we rely on for technology and medicine will become increasingly fraught, we will be left behind, forgotten, sacrificed, and omitted.

Climate change demands both movement and movements, displacement, and action. But what does it mean to be tethered? To be tied like an animal, to pull and yank as the rope tears itself and you. Events of man and worldly monsters circulate around you, the eye of the storm hovering overhead as you try and try and try to pull away.

To be disabled is to be tethered to procedure and habit. That procedure and habit allows us to roam the earth, It gives us a little taste of agency and a little autonomy over our patch. To move freely is a privilege, we know that, but we move

We are tethered to structures bigger than us. The question is not whether we should show up but whether we are able to.
There can be no universal disabled response to the climate emergency because there is no universal disabled experience.

How To Design For All

I work for the RNIB and we’re here to support 2 million people in the UK who live with sight loss. I’m the Accessibility Innovation Lead and my role is to work with brands from across the world to raise the bar with accessibility. When we talk about blind or partially sighted people in relation to design, we tend to focus on visual aspects and getting that right when and getting that right when when blind or partially sighted people can’t actually take in those visuals is a challenge, but it’s also something that can be used to enhance design, making it better for everybody. There’s reasons related to the health of the planet, but there are also commercial reasons - so how do we use the needs of disabled people to enhance greater design and actually create a more accessible and inclusive world..

Packaging is something we all interact with on a daily basis. Our research shows that 9 out of 10 blind and partially sighted people either found it difficult or impossible to read package information. That’s crazy, isn’t it? Package information is critical, from allergens to nutritional information, right down to information on recycling, which the UK’s 2 million blind or partially sighted people find it difficult to impossible to read.

We wanted to make a step change in this space to give people equal access information. Back in 2020, myself and my team worked with Kellogg’s on the world’s first integrated NaviLens code. In the corner of a box of cereal we have a colourful square about the size of a stamp and is the next generation of QR code. Using only a smartphone to detect this colourful code and I can go through all the information about the product at my leisure. Everything that’s on that box is given to me in an accessible format, and it’s simply a design change on a box.

sTrATegic AccessibiliT y leAD AT rnib

We can consider the wider benefits as well. All this information is read out loud by the smartphone, so this is also really useful for people with low literacy levels. Or, for example, if English is not your first language, this product information can automatically convert to the native language of your smartphone. Where we started around accessibility and the needs of blind and partially sighted people, we’re now talking about a much bigger demographic.

Another aspect of design where the RNIB has worked with a very challenging industry was the energy sector and the widely rolled-out smart meter. The meter contains a visual display which wasn’t accessible, so we worked with the industry to create an accessible version of the smart meter - or at least one that would not necessitate a touchscreen but have actual buttons and enhanced visuals. We designed something called the accessible in-home display - you can now ask your supplier for one - to relay your energy consumption in a way that you want it to, I choose voice. This is all about giving the control and the ability to make decisions to the user. We know from a lot of a lot of the research and feedback that this device is just better for everybody - some people prefer the physical button, some prefer the clear visuals. Ultimately, what we’re talking about is enhanced design.

Both of these examples are designed from inception, which is useful in allowing us to to embed accessibility from the outset rather than it being a retrospective application - which can be a lot more cost effective. If we design for as many audiences as we can from the start, we tend to get it right for many more people, and they can be simple changes.

RNIB Article ‘How NaviLens helps people with sight loss get the information they need’

Marc is a passionate advocate and evangelist within the world of accessibility, having represented the RNIB since retiring from his professional sporting career as a Paralympic judo athlete. Marc is the Strategic Accessibility Lead at RNIB and works closely with start-ups and global organisations to raise the bar when it comes to accessibility and inclusion, creating sustainable long lasting social change. He has a genetic eye condition called Cone Rod Dystrophy, which has affected him since birth. He has been featured in many social media campaigns which aim to educate the public on the spectrum of sight loss and takes every opportunity to raise awareness of visual impairment.

Atmospheric Consequences

Doors slam. A hornet enters through the window, adding its thrum to the distant snore of her slithers from between sheets, and secretes herself through a doorway as the insect rockets towards

Dusk. Plants are beginning to droop after a spell of heat. Girls chatting beneath a large curly garden. A revving sound, building to a roar, draws their gaze up towards a dark cloud expanding twisted branches. The oldest girl orders the youngest to run and they race to escape the swarm, mother in the kitchen.

Silent and still on the floor of her studio, she guesses you must have died from lack of oxygen. body in the palm of her hand, she studies your truculent appearance, seeing that you are about Not yet drained of colour, your perfectly formed body sparks an impulse to draw. Charcoal meeting her hand moves around the page as you appear, erupting into a 4’x5’ space. You grow magnificent

A shadow moves past her ear, arcing and weaving through organic material and papier-mâché long enough to be seen clearly, then disappearing over a ledge. She knows with her body, for are no more absent than the living.

Mandy Rogers is a student on the Creative Non Fiction MA at UEA, exploring a relationship between the written and the visual.


her neighbour’s mower. She towards her.

curly willow, water the expanding into the air from swarm, screaming to their oxygen. Balancing your tiny about four centimetres long. meeting thick white paper, magnificent and she feels small.

papier-mâché sculptures, hovering for a moment, that the dead

Mandy’s blog

Books The Green Room

In the UK, people read about 15 books a year. Why not make one of them a book about climate change?

I’ve selected the ones that connect the climate emergency to design practice so no matter which area of design you work in, there should be something in it for you. And there’s no harm in reading outside of your own practice either - we can all do with a little cross pollination this spring.


#futuregen: Lessons from a Small Country



The need for collective change; colonialism, climate change & consumerism

published by Brazen / Hachette

Plastic Pollution Is Colonialism

published by Duke University Press


Why the Key to Fixing Everything is All of Us

Books For Continual Learning

Regenerative Architecture

Flourish: Design Paradigms for Our Planetary Emergency

and Michael Pawlyn

published by Triarchy Press

Natural systems Ways of Being: Beyond Human Intelligence natural systems

published by Allen Lane / Penguin Books

Civic Society

The Ministry for the Future


Reassembling Rubbish: Worlding Electronic Waste


published by MIT Press

Product Design

Meaningful Stuff: Design That Lasts


published by MIT Press


Architecture for the Commons: Participatory Systems in the Age of Platforms


published by Routledge

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Articles inside

The Green Room - Books For Continual Learning

page 45

Atmospheric Consequences

page 44

How To Design For All

page 43


page 42

Festival Keynote - Daze Aghaji

page 41

Reducing Dairy Emissions With Design

page 39

Balinese Cremation Documentary

page 38

How Do We Begin A Meaningful Conversation About Art’s Place Within the Climate Crisis?

page 37

Utopia as Method for Planetary Landscapes

page 36

Festival Keynote - William McDonough

page 35

How to - Rewild

page 34

Gathering storm

page 33

Design for Planet - Sprints

pages 29-32

Festival Keynote - Pam Smith

page 27

Rubbish Tools & Questions: how do we think about waste?

page 26

Fifty years of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia

page 25

When Computers Were Women (2021)

page 24

How to make your business carbon literate?

page 23

To The Man Burning Windows

page 22

How to design for disassembly & repairability

page 21

Tony's Chocolonely Design for Planet Competition

page 20

Festival Keynote - Nicola Matthews

page 19

Resilient Stories? - How Do We Narrate the Climate Crisis

page 18

Festivals To Fashion. -Repurposing Camping Waste.

page 17

Residue (2022)

page 16

Designing the Commons

page 15

Design Declares

page 14

Norwich: A City of Strangers and Deep Design

page 13

Untitled (2023)

page 12

How To Retrofit A Home

page 11

Social & Planetary Benefits In Architectural Reuse Book

page 10

Festival Keynote - Anab Jain - designer, filmmaker, futurist, & educator

pages 16-17

Double Coupler (2022)

page 8

We are all journeys to change

page 7

Thoughts from John Selwyn Gummer, Lord Deben

page 6

Northumbria University Photo Essay

page 5

Welcome from Minnie Moll, Chief Executive

page 3

Editor’s introduction

page 2
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