ENGAGED SUSTAINABLE DESIGN: CREATING MORAL AGENCY

Louise St. Pierre

Abstract


This paper integrates my journeys into the wilderness of northern British Columbia and the Alberta Prairies with my reflections on the relationship of sustainable design theories with an ethical practice of sustainable design. Drawing on deep ecology, Buddhism, and animism, I contend that the drive within research to connect natural systems theories to design practice is inherently instrumental and eludes the truths of the natural world. Within the domain of sustainable design, this instrumentalism reinforces an anthropocentric worldview that, as humans, we are separate from and more important than the unboundaried ecology of animals, plants, minerals and elementals (earth, water, air, and fire). As designers, we have not yet reconciled our responsibility for a comprehensive philosophical approach to our work with a deep and abiding relationship with nature.

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