Did you know that most average Americans live as though they have 4.8 planets? This is what Dutch industrial designer Babette Porcelijn discovered when she largely left behind a thriving business working with commercial clients to focus on the hidden impacts of design.
After 11 years working with agencies, she began her own design studio in 2011. And since 2015, she’s dedicated her career to studying how we can make an “eco-positive world” through our choices as designers and consumers. Her book, De Verborgen Impact (Hidden Impact), maps the environmental impact of the consumer, giving a large scale view in order for individual understanding of how each choice made contributes to the larger problem.
In her research, Porcelijn looks at everything from the global impact of importing and exporting to the environmental toll of producing single consumer items, such as a laptop computer. Her “Impact Top 10” breaks down, with surprising results, the average items used by consumers that cause the largest amount of environmental impact. Who knew that meat would come in second, beat out only by consumer products, but well above cars? (If you speak Dutch and want to understand your individual impact, answer a few questions to see how you compare to others.)
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