Sustainability goes beyond just "being green" and is moreover not easy to achieve. Its concept is interconnected with everything we do, consume and make. Currently there is nothing created by humans that truly fits its definition. Sustainability is defined as allowing for the needs of all people to be met without preventing those same needs from being met by future generations (Brundtland Commission, 1987). This definition of was conceived to benefit only humanity. However, it is evident that plant and animal ecologies are connected with human well-being, therefore the definition must be expanded to include the potential for nature to thrive. True sustainability is achieved by finding a balance in the Quadruple Bottom Line which incorporates economics, sociology, culture, and ecology. Unfortunately, not all people have access to clean water, education, income, or healthy food and it is logical to assume, neither might their children. To achieve true sustainability all societies and cultures must allow for those without to 'have.' This goal is arguably utopian, political, and of course challenging.
Re-nourish believes that sustainability isn't necessarily the best term to describe what is needed for our world. Designers must create to re-nourish instead of merely doing "less bad." Rather than sourcing a tree-fiber paper, why not select a paper that uses a readily available, fast-growing local agricultural fiber (like wheat straw or prairie grass) that when grown improves the nutrients of the soil?
The rest of the story of sustainable design is unwritten, and at this point no one really knows what it will look like. However, this is why you, the designer is here. It's our job to design a better future. It's challenging and exciting in the same breath.
What does it mean for paper to be sustainable?
How can you limit printing waste? How should you select a greener printer?
What makes a better more environmentally responsible ink choice?
What constitutes a sustainable material? Where can you find them?