Statement by designers: In support of the global protests for climate protection by the Fridays for Future Movement
Version 1.0, 03/2019
We as designers (whether employed, self-employed, freelancers, teachers, students, researchers) want to show our solidarity with the students in the Fridays for Future Movement, and to take our share of the responsibility. We also wish to express our appreciation for and solidarity with the consequential statement by the Scientists for Future!
Young people are currently protesting against the negligence of those who shape and design our present, and whose inaction is jeopardizing the possibility of a livable future for the following generations. Clearly, politicians are not the only ones who should bear responsibility. We are all standing idle, but remain concerned and feel incapable of action – yet we are the ones who can form and create! So we too, as designers, take the causes and effects of climate change seriously, and must take responsibility for our practice.
All areas of our life are subject to design processes and are therefore malleable. We are co-designers of communication, objects, meanings, value and interactions between people and environments as well as spaces, structures, processes and (eco)systems.We help provide and shape habits, rituals, and basic necessities. ‘Design’ eagerly presents itself as an instance for innovation and change, but often acts to stabilize the unsustainable status quo. But design and aesthetics do not only further consumer interests, but help shape new realities.
No single authority or profession can resolve the question of how we want, and are able, to live sustainably. It is the discourse of society, and is not free of contradictions. We therefore want to strike up new alliances: to imagine potential transformations; to make changes visible and determinable; to lend a voice to things, topics and people; to mediate and translate; to dream and speculate; to protest; to construct and to (re)manifest a livable future. In global and local networks it is necessary to understand connections and dependencies, and how values, (eco)systems, objects, communication, and interaction emerge and change to enable a respectful transformation of everyday reality and possible futures. This is important to counteract a blind trust in technology, to stand against neoliberal and market-driven logics, heteronormative, ableist, transphobic, racist, and misogynist narratives, colonial practices and greenwashing.
We have to think, we have to discuss, we have to design! We want to shape the present and the future to make a life within this world possible, and to take planetary boundaries as seriously as design possibilities. Design for Futures!
What is next?
This statement wants to send a signal to our profession as well as to the general public, on whose cooperation we mutually rely. Our thanks and full support are directed at all the young people who are engaging in the Fridays for Future movement! We want to spread this engagement.
Many dedicated designers, organizations, research groups and courses, etc. are already facing up to the challenges of our time – these initiatives have to be made more visible, and should be discussed and continued. So we would like to extend our contribution with further discussions, comments, and controversies which will be published on designsforfuture.org. Design for Futures invites you to formulate contemporary guidelines to which designers and institutions can commit themselves. The ecological crisis demands radical transformations within the professions of design, that need to be shaped and put into action.