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Why this challenge now?
WDCD believes that designers have a meaningful role to play in climate action. Since 2015, WDCD has organised global challenges around different social and environmental issues, from clean energy and pollution to the health and well-being of refugees. In that time, WDCD has learned that many of the problems we face are deeply interconnected, whether we are talking about plastic waste in Kenya or the housing crisis in the Netherlands. Fortunately, the same holds true for our solutions, too. In this light, tackling the climate crisis is a matter of not just working smarter or harder — but together — and applying pressure from as many different angles as possible.
That is why this year — as the planet enters an era of global ‘boiling’ — WDCD is throwing the door wide open and launching their most expansive challenge yet. “Redesign Everything is first and foremost a call to action,” explained WDCD co-founders Richard van der Laken and Pepijn Zurburg. “It’s also an invitation to think laterally about how our world should be redesigned, in ways both big and small. Now, more than ever, there is an urgent need for inclusive, circular and regenerative solutions, and for the transformative, disruptive and healing power of design.”
Liz McKeon, Head of Planet at the IKEA Foundation, says: “In the face of our planet's greatest challenges, design emerges as a powerful catalyst for change. The What Design Can Do challenges that we’ve supported have ignited innovative, design-focused solutions led by the creative community themselves, in addressing issues such as climate change, health, well-being, and social equity all around the world. This demonstrates that designers can become the architects of solutions, building a bridge between imagination and impactful change, and have the transformative ability to shape transformation towards a sustainable future."
Where can designers make the biggest difference?
Tackling the climate crisis means changing how our economy works (and how it doesn’t). No sector can do this alone — but designers can make an impact by shifting from linear to circular ways of making, using and living. Next to this, the most important role of design is that of radical imagination: seeing what does not yet exist, making ideas real, and forging ahead with optimism. That is why for this competition, WDCD is looking for creative climate solutions that cut across various sectors and disciplines. This includes new and existing enterprises that address issues like waste and biodiversity loss, as well as conceptual proposals for how we might transform key industries: from food, fashion and packaging, to consumer goods and construction.
With the help of WDCD's partners from Brazil, India, Japan, Kenya, Mexico and the Netherlands, they’ve put together some useful resources and research around the greatest climate challenges and opportunities facing communities around the world. This content will be published on the Redesign Everything Challenge platform, and is set to include deep-dives into 8 key strategies for change that designers should consider. Some are more practical — and focus on how we might prevent waste and pollution by reducing, repairing, refusing and recycling. Others will push you to think about climate action on a different level: looking at how we might completely reframe the problem, restore our relationship with nature, reconnect different groups of people or reimagine alternative visions of the future. All are needed in order to make redesign a reality, and to deliver impact where it is needed most.
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