My friends and longtime collaborators, Marc and Sarah of The Determined, co-founders of Climate Designers, and lecturers at California College of the Arts, are working diligently to create an awesome event for us in the climatetech space, The Climate Designers Party Program, taking place March 1-12 2021.
It is billed as "a new kind of event, designed to create a new kind of leader, who will be part of creating a new kind of industry."
Sounds like the kind of people I like to spend time with!
They take care to state that it is NOT:
A typical boring sustainability conference that drones on and on about how tragic the situation is.
A design conference that offers one sustainability track or a couple of workshops highlighting green design.
A conference just for architects; just for graphic designers; just for interior designers; just for fashion designers; etc.
The event takes place over 11 days at the beginning of March, with at least one event happening every day, and tickets are currently on sale here. Any climatetech or climate designers convening is a good convening, in my opinion. And this one plans to be FUN. I mean, "Party" is in the name!
Some of the topics covered are:
Indigenous Design, Circular Design, Green Graphic Design, Gamification, Design Innovation, Inclusive Design, Sustainable Packaging, Environmental Justice, Leadership Development, Behavior Change.
Keep scrolling to find the full text of their press release, after a bit of a deeper dive into the human side of this initiative.
I think that the 1,200-strong Climate Designers community (climatedesigners.org) is awesome, exactly what the world needs, other than "love, sweet love." According to Marc and Sarah of The Determined, here is the origin story:
We’ve been working within the climate space since 2016 under The Determined. Among our friend circles, my business partner and I started to become known as the “climate designer” folks. We thought there was something interesting with that title. At the same time, we’ve been collaborating with fellow designers and creatives also working on climate. We thought, “There has to be more designers out there working on climate or at least interested in working on it. Perhaps we can grow our list of collaborators with Climate Designers and at the same time, encourage designers from all industries to take climate action using their creative talents.”
We launched Climate Designers OCT 2019 with a landing page and an email sign-up form. It was an experiment. We gave ourselves a month to see if this idea was sticky or not. After a number of positive responses and signups, we realized we struck a nerve among designers.
This is the same story that resonated for Climatetech Advisors. I found myself as an Advisor for a climatetech business, so I thought, how about create a brand that would represent people like me? What might that look like? Boom, Climatetech Advisors was born.
AirMiners came from a similar story - what if there was a community dedicated to people who want to become air miners when they grow up? Approaching four years later, and over 800 people have joined the Slack community. If you read Climatetech Media Project, you see that we're tight with that community.
There's an aspirational context to all of these stories that is a critical piece underlying the vibrancy of the climatetech space. Here's their description of what makes a climate designer.
If you are a person in the creative industry using your skills and talents in taking on climate change, you are a climate designer. We’re not asking people to quit their regular design jobs to pursue climate full-time. If they can, great! If they are not in a position to do so, all good. Perhaps they can bring questions, processes, considerations into their work and workplace that address climate change in some way. Perhaps they volunteer nights and weekends with an organization in need of their skills. We believe it’s going to take an “all hands on deck” approach to address our climate crisis. And designers can play a huge role in helping others at the front lines; the scientists, researchers, policy makers, etc.
I completely agree. If Coca Cola, the biggest plastic polluter, can sell us sugar water in petroleum bottles, those same designers building Coke's marketing campaigns can market Community Supported Agriculture and climate resilience.
So, what does it take to design meaningful solutions in a complex and interdependent world? Marc & Sarah, again:
By breaking down those structures and institutions. By highlighting what’s not working and why, while at the same time, showing what’s possible. By co-creating with others, especially those on the front lines of climate devastation, a future that benefits all living species on the planet.
Here’s the thing, designers are a special group. We use creativity to solve problems and have the ability to visualize ideas. We help communicate important messages. We design interactions that encourage others to take action. Designers strive to create beautiful objects and experiences. If we were to direct that energy and drive towards re-imaging systems and institutions for the positive benefit of all living species, then that is the great design challenge there is.
You can join Climate Designers by heading to climatedesigners.org and engaging in the online community. There is even an opportunity to start a chapter near you. I attended one event through the NYC chapter, just before the pandemic shuttered all in-person events, and it was fabulous. I can't wait for in-person events to start back up again, and engage in-person with Climate Designers in my neighborhood.
Tracy Llewellyn, Head of Promotions
For Immediate Release
December 8, 2020
“Doom & Bloom”- An Upcoming Virtual Conference for Designers Plans to Flip the Script on Fighting Climate Change
Created by designers, for designers, the Climate Designers Party Program seeks to inspire creative professionals to take action
(Global) — Dec 8, 2020: Climate Designers, a global hub and professional network of creative professionals from all industries, is launching the Climate Designers Party Program (www.climatedesigners.org/partyprogram), a first of its kind virtual event that is targeted to experienced designers who are concerned about climate change and want to direct their talents to affect the crisis for the better. With the subject of climate change often examined with a “doomsday” approach, this event focuses on seeing the opportunities to save our planet.
The Party Program fills a gap among the usual design conference format, which have been Zoom conferences aimed at specific practices such as graphic design, UI/UX, industrial design, interiors, fashion, and so on. Instead, this event will be addressing the design community as a whole--featuring topics ranging from behavior change and environmental justice, to circular design and sustainable packaging. Additionally, live music, comedy performances, and design showcases will round out the experience.
“We are creating a new creative industry. Climate Designers Party Program will focus on a variety of topics that will elevate all designers to take climate action in their work. No need to fear—this will not be another boring online conference.”
- Marc O’Brien, co-founder of Climate Designers
“I don’t want to add to the doom & gloom and give you more climate anxiety, especially on top of the stress we’re all feeling as we deal with this global pandemic. What I want to do instead is talk about the amazing feeling of hope and excitement I get when I think of the opportunity we have in front of us to build new systems that work better for all humans and lifeforms on this planet. Designers and other creatives, including writers, artists, and entrepreneurs, are uniquely suited to this task of imagining better systems and solving complex challenges.”
- Sarah Harrison, co-founder of Climate Designers
This innovative event is anchored in four major key points:
- A New Kind of Event: this is a global two-week “party” centered around climate, and focused 100% on a creative audience. With events spanning various time zones, there is something for everyone.
- A New Kind of Leader: Designers don’t often have a seat at the table on matters of sustainability. The Party Program will empower creatives to make a positive climate impact with their solid design skills.
- A New Kind of Collaboration: The design field as a whole comes together over a shared climate-driven mission, shifting the mindset around design and the creation of "things" to include the creation of "ideas" and "culture".
- A New Kind of Industry: Taking a step further from the usual one-off volunteer effort or pro-bono project, designers are encouraged to be bold and cultivate a creative career at the intersection of design and climate.
Earlier this year, the Climate Designers held a “call for designers” to create a poster in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Shortly after, a few designers gathered to update the First Things First 2020 manifesto which calls on designers to commit their creative talents to address our climate crisis. The platform recently celebrated its one-year anniversary in October.
About Climate Designers: Climate Designers is a platform for designers in all industries who are committed to tackling global warming. Both a professional network and educational platform, designers may be connected with impactful work opportunities, while hiring companies and clients have access to a high-quality pool of talent. Climate Designers’ vision is for every single designer to feel confident in doing their part to fight the climate crisis by mastering the best new action practices — from communicating in ways that incite change, to developing knowledge of up-to-date terms, policies, and technologies, and in leading teams to take action.
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