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HAPPENINGText: Yoshihiro Kanematsu

Hello! My name is YOSH from greenz. greenz is a web-media outlet that sends domestic / international eco-wonderful future news. I am in charge of writing columns every month for SHIFT. Nice to meet you!

Anyhow, when you hear “green design,” what do you imagine? Is it “feel the nature” design which uses plants and trees cleverly? Or “eco-friendly” designs which try not to produce waste? There are obviously many ways of thinking and no right answer.

For greenz, “green design” means designs that can kill four birds with one stone. Killing two birds is not enough. We believe that the essence of “green design” can fetch a leveraged result.

So, in the concrete, what is the example of killing four birds with one stone? This is an example from one of the articles in the greenz.

“Children’s energy to play is a motivating power – wonderful mechanism of Play, Pump, International.”

Green Design

This is an article written by Lana a blogger in the U.S.. In agricultural areas in the South Africa, there are many people who get sick by drinking unsanitary water from rivers because of the lack of water facilities. Also, they have a big social issues due to the fact that many children cannot go to school because they spend too much carrying water. To solve this problem, ‘Play, Pump” is designed. To spin the merry-go-round like playground equipment which is combined with a pump, people can pump up water from the ground.

In the article, the merit of establishing “Play, Pump” is listed up as follow.

Green Design

– To reduce sickness by drinking clean water.
– There is no need to spend time to carry water, so girls can go to school with boys at the same time
– Can provide water to 2500 population size community with comparatively low cost (around 750000yen)
– The message for prevention of AIDS on the water tank will be an education for children.
– The trained local residents establish and maintain the pump. It will increase the employment opportunity in the local community.
– The pump is placed at the center of community or near school. So it gives the opportunity to children to play after school. Moreover, it is a big fun for children!

In the first place, the purpose for this pump might be to “secure clean water!” But, the result killed not only two birds with one stone, it killed six birds and made everybody smile. I believe that this is the essence of “green design.”

Green Design

Another one is “Earthship: Future house made by waste.” This house has various merits such as “using waste as materials!,””experiencing sustainable life based on the weather of the area,” and as a result “natural air conditioning without AC!”
“Seesaw-power: generating electricity while playing” is also a model like a pump. It has a merit such as “by playing for ten minutes, you can supply enough electricity to build a school!,””making good use of local waste,” and “anyway, it’s a new playground!!!” These small ideas create a good loop line.

Green Design

These ideas are perhaps the designers specialty. They observe the users, make prototypes based on their subsequent hypothesis. The designers ideas make design without any contradictions. “Eco-friendly” designs produced by them are comfortable for the users and also bring the multiple effects naturally. (On the other hand, if there is a little contradiction, it is nothing but hypocritical greenwash.)

The real essence of the green-movement is in attitude to look forward without any contradiction. It means an aim to solve social and environmental problems. Here’s to more green-design which can kill four birds with one stone.

Text: Yoshihiro Kanematsu
Translation: Fumi Nakamura

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Hiromi Tango