A Fair Share of Planetary Resources

Will Brown, Product Design

What if we measured our daily purchases based on what is our allowance of safe greenhouse gas emissions to slow down the effects of global warming? Or if our purchases were based on a fair share of planetary resources so that everyone was adequately fed? These are some of the questions I have been exploring over the past couple of months as part of my master thesis, FoodPrint. This project explores how we might shift individual’s behaviours around food consumption towards a food system that is in balance with the planet’s ecosystem that sustains it.

This has been achieved through a masters thesis and practical studio project that have run in tandem with each other over the course of the past four months. The thesis side of the project explores theory that make sense of systemic (or ‘wicked’) problems, behavioural change, values and sustainable mindsets. This is complimented by the studio side of the project that acts on the theory to develop methods to find opportunity areas (or as Donella Meadows would put it, “leverage points for change”), understand the role designers can play in collaboration with other stakeholders within the domain topic of food sustainability, and strategies for achieving the unashamedly idealistic visions that we need to aim for to mitigate the current environmental and social damage caused by the food system. Thinking strategically, not just idealistically, about the problem has the potential to overcome the inertia of such a wicked problem like the environmental impacts of the food production system.

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