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Valerie Casey gave a solutions-based thought-provoking presentation at South by Southwest today, focused on getting us, in the interactive community, involved in change and the sustainability movement. She had a great balance of imagery and insight with the call to action….

Here’s my notes and also some words have been brought across from what people tweeted during this session:

The interactive community has been pretty much absent from the sustainability movement. The interactive community should be leaders in sustainability movement.

The prevailing narrative about sustainability for people in the world is that we’re on our way down and can’t change it. So people don’t get involved.

Everyone is aware of the Pacific Gyre – a big island full of plastics and trash twice the size of Texas.

Plenty of negative messages – such as “Save the planet, kill yourself”

Hence, Valerie has set up Designers Accord ” the global coalition of designers, educators, and business leaders working together to create positive and sustainable impact.”

Principles of design thinking to create an access point that’s relevant to the interactive community

The design trap is designing to solve a symptom rather than solving the problem – e.g. DELL’s new computer – we should not be designing another desktop computer!

The taco project found that taco ingredients from a taco shop in SF traveled around the world twice. Here’s the link:

“the biggest problem isn’t policy. the problem is that the commoner doesn’t get it.” 


Naked Pizza (New Orleans) example – go into the fast food industry as a Trojan horse. Teach people through this pizza (which is healthy) about nutrition health. Concern: all the costs involved in delivering a sustainable fast food means it is cost prohibitive to the people you are trying to reach.

The Hub – meeting spaces, strategy and business support,

You can’t change behavior of a system without changing the system.

There’s been a hobbling of people. The concern is that people aren’t doing anything about it because they think someone else is doing it, “more people interested in a specific social change doesn’t mean more things get done.”

The interactive community are the people who can lead in sustainability – we are communicators, designers and implementers in one. What if “social media” was about “social impact”?

We have the potential to be the bridge. We don’t have the luxury to wait or to review whether we should do this.

It’s your turn now.

Impressive collection of images, thoughts and evocative words. Thanks Valerie.

Leave a comment – let me know what you’re up to in this space!

Further reading
For more information about the Global Garbage Patch – have a look at these other blog posts and

Session background
Valerie Casey Keynote
14 March 2010 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Exhibit Hall 1, Austin Convention Center
Casey, founder and Executive Director of the Designers Accord, works with organizations all over the world to create positive social and environmental impact. She has been named a “Guru you should know” by Fortune magazine, a “Hero of the Environment” by Time magazine, and a “Master of Design” by Fast Company.
For more information click here: #SXSW #valeriecasey #sundaykeynote

Thanks to many of the people who tweeted during this session – some of your words are included in this blog post!

Happy days to you

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