The workshops may be over but these Problems Worth Solving are still there. Read up, learn more about them and challenge yourself to address them - at home, at school and in your community.
The United Nations in 2015 published a set of 17 interconnected goals designed to be a global roadmap to achieve a better sustainable future for the planet and its people. The aim is to achieve these goals by 2030. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are also known as the SDGs or Global Goals. The 17 SDGs are:
The 17 SDGs are: “(1) No Poverty, (2) Zero Hunger, (3) Good Health and Well-being, (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality, (6) Clean Water and Sanitation, (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, (10) Reduced Inequality, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (13) Climate Action, (14) Life Below Water, (15) Life On Land, (16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, (17) Partnerships for the Goals.” (The United Nations, 2022)
For the Design Thinking Workshops, Inscape focuses on SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities and SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production. Linked to these SDGs are the concepts of Circular Economy and Circular Design. Circular Design principles provide a foundation on which to build ideas that contribute to the sustainable use of planetary resources.
A Circular Economy rejects an unsustainable linear economy where natural resources are taken from the planet, things are made from it, used, and then discarded in landfills. The circular economy is a systems solution framework that advocates for strategies to circulate products and materials (at their highest value). These strategies include (1) Maintaining and prolonging the lifecycle of products or moving from ownership to access or sharing approaches, (2) Reusing or redistributing goods, (3) Refurbishing or Remanufacturing, and (4) Recycling, as the least valuable approach. A circular economy is based on three principles, all driven by design, namely “to design out waste and pollution; keep products and materials in use; regenerate natural systems” (The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, no date).
- Campus Cafe - Food, Food Revolution
Background: The human population is constantly growing and along with it is food production and consumption. As people we gather around food, it forms a part of our daily rituals of nourishment, celebration, comfort, to name a few. Inscape campuses across South Africa offer a wonderful opportunity for students to not only learn but connect with other students at the campus cafes. Beverages and food form a vital part of these cafes and so produce waste as students and staff make use of the services.
For the purposes of this brief consider the overall process it takes for food to be produced and consumed on campus. How can this be done in a more sustainable manner?
Problem: How can Inscape campus cafes encourage sustainable production and consumption?
- Cell Phone Waste
Background: Cell phone wastes are a part of WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), a term derived for obsolete electronic devices by the European Union Directive on WEEE.
The useful life of a cellphone phone is estimated to be less than 3 years in developing countries, such as South Africa and 2 years in developed countries such as the USA.
Cell phones and other smart devices contain an array of precious metals: copper, aluminium, iron, nickel, tin, as well as gold, palladium, and silver. Eighty percent of cell phone components can be recycled, including batteries, headsets, cases, cables and chargers.
Problem: United Nations University estimated that 49.8 million tonnes of e-waste were generated worldwide in 2018. Calculated into just smartphones, this is the equivalent of 9,023 phones being thrown away every second of the entire year!
What happens to the 9023 phones? For the purpose of this brief consider circular economy principles and what will happen to your cellphone once it can no longer be used?
- Responsible Fashion Consumption
Background: The fashion design sector also called Fast Fashion is responsible for massive amounts of clothing and footwear material wastage. This waste typically comes from two places; firstly, production waste, generated during the garment construction process, and secondly post-consumer waste that results when ‘used’ clothing or footwear is discarded irresponsibly. As South African consumers of fashion, what could we do with our used clothes or used footwear at the end of its life? Choose between either denim clothing or active footwear and brainstorm unique ideas for how to creatively deal with the materials in a way that is socially (people), environmentally (planet), and economically (profit) friendly.
For the purpose of this brief, denim clothing refers to jeans, denim jackets, shirts, skirts, or pants. active footwear, could mean takkies, sneakers, gym shoes or trainers.
Problem: What is the future of used fashion in South Africa? Students can choose between either used denim clothing or used active footwear.