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Part 1: Ethical Design Education

For my first entry from the Citizen Designer book, I decided to read "Ethical Design Education: Confessions of a Sixties Idealist" by Susan S. Szenasy. The article was very informative about green design and why it is an important aspect of a designer's work. I feel this is extremely relative to what we have been and continue to talk about in class.

The article is written by a teacher from the Parson's product design department in New York city. She leads a senior seminar which discusses our degrading natural environment and the need for designers to figure out how to use this knowledge to create more eco-friendly design. I agree with her when she says: "Sustaining the environment, in turn, is our highest priority as thinking, verbal, tool using creatures." We are the animals on this planet that have a choice in what materials we use. We are the ones who are destroying more of our world than any other organism, and we are the ones who can slow the process down. I also found it interesting that the first students to resist her ecological thinking, were the fashion students. Susan explains that the fashion students believe that to be part of the fashion industry, to make a living in it, we need to figure out how to make money, how to become stars. Susan aslo went on to compare American surgeons/nurses working in Vietnam to us as designers today. These doctors would work under highly primitive conditions, and would bring all of their technical knowledge and love of humanity to their task at hand. She states that it is important at times for us as professionals to step outside of our comfort zone. If we sacrifice some of the conveniences we are used to, for the betterment of society or our world, it can result in rewards far beyond our expectations. As professional designers, we need to realize that good design means responsible design.