Innovation & Sustainability

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The words innovation and sustainability are two words that designers hear and use quite often- sometimes in conjunction and other times in opposition. As discussed in class, innovation can be seen as both an aid and a hindrance. In relation to environmental sustainability, one of several factors that make up sustainability, innovation acts as more as a hindrance than an aid.

The reason we are creating new innovations in relation to the environment is because previous innovations were the things that harmed the environment initially.

For example- an iPhone sensor has been created to tell you if your food is organic. Historically, we have been tied closer to our food and more knowledgeable as to where our food was coming from. Our grandparents and great-grandparents often times were friends with the butcher, grew their own produce, and baked their own bread. Previous generations have eaten more locally, and therefore more sustainably than the current population. Nowadays, if produce is stamped with the word organic, we buy it without questioning where it came from, or how it was grown- we assume it is the best option at the supermarket. In reality, chances are an organic bag of apples was simply grown using less pesticides versus the bag of apples next to it.

Using your iPhone sensor to scan your food may in turn be harming your food on an entirely new level that hasn’t even been researched or determined yet. But not to fret, perhaps a new innovation can reduce the unknown harm created by the latest iPhone app.

Photo Credit: Suzies Farm flickr.com

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