Alistair Fuad-Luke ‘s chapter on Global-Local Tensions shows some crazy statistics from the WWF’s Living Planet Report. This maps out different countries’ ecological footprints, which are calculated according to how much is consumed according to what is deemed appropriate for their land/population ratio, compared with how much the country imports, which is essentially borrowed ecological capacity from other countries. At least this is how I understand it. Anyway, of the over-consumers, I am not surprised that the great U. S. of A. is second (after United Arab Emirates), but coming in for a 3-way tie for 3rd is… Finland!?! I, being originally from there, find this fact of interest.
Then I looked at the rest, and Finland was in good company. The other names in the top include other Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, Australia, Canada… all places we consider to have a high standard of living (see Human Development Index), all places that I enjoy, or have desire to visit.
These places feel good, comfortable, that high standard we desire. The big question is, how do you convince all of the places with the highest standard of living, to give it up, or at least create it in a different way?
This reading also highlights a truth that all designers must consider. “Every choice a designer makes when specifying materials has an effect on the habitat of other living species, so knowing where materials come from is an essential design skill.” Christien Meindertsma is a wonderful Dutch artist whose work identifies the source of materials, as well as their end use, such as in her project, “Pig 05049,” in which she researches where all parts of the pig end up. I am looking forward to seeing the book on this in person.
On the source topic, she worked on her signature oversized wool “Flocks” with a particular ranch in Idaho, where each sheep got recognition for its wool. This was part of a multi-artist project with the Nature Conservancy called “Design for a Living World.” This is definitely worth checking out.
Another great fiber artist, who also happens to be Dutch (Hey, they have great design!), is Claudy Jongstra, who raises her own sheep and plants for natural dyes. These ladies are my role models. To follow in their footsteps, I am going to be taking a natural dyes course, and I plan to check out the 2010 Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival for some local wool. Hopefully my environmental impact won’t be a whole footprint worth, maybe just a pinky toe.