Best in Sustainability ’11

Happy new year! Here is a recap of our top blog posts from 2011.

Susan Crow, MCAD SDO alum, shared what it’s like to build a sustainable luxury brand from the bottom up in her piece Eco=Lux Jewelery. Published October 2011.

“Real luxury is knowing the jewelry you are wearing is as ethical as it is beautiful. Creating a metamorphosis of change, East Fourth Street honors our environment by using recycled metal, conflict free diamonds and responsibly mined stones. This process of creation offers jewelry that is sustainable and original—not to mention stunning.” Read more…

Cindy Gilbert, MCAD MASD director, learned through physical pain what Freedom From Stuff really means. Published September 2011.

“As I sat drinking my single-serve soda, I thought about how much stuff I have waiting for me at home. How much energy and resources did my stuff embody? Where would it all end up? What of it did I really need versus simply want? I thought about the potential freedom I would feel to not have, want, buy, care for, protect, and use as many things. I think I am starting to understand why the retired folks in my life are offloading their stuff on me. Physical and emotional freedom from stuff costs nothing and it weighs nothing. Now that’s something I am prepared to carry with me.” Read more…

Dan Halsey, MCAD MASD faculty, gave us the permaculture lowdown in 12 Sustainability Principles of Permaculture. Published in June 2011.

“Nothing exists outside a relationship. Everything is related in the working systems of nature, economics, or package design. A designer that does not take into account the effect delivered works will have on users, resources or society, depletes the designs potential and future viability. Systems thinking requires that we develop the awareness and skills to define and design the functional relationships, which reduces waste and enhances, yield from existing relationships. Permaculture is a practice that uses a set of principles to assure the long-term viability of self-sustaining systems in agriculture and offers sustainable design lessons. Permanent plus agriculture is Permaculture.” Read more…

Rita Penrod, MCAD SDO alum, told us how she was able to Get a Career, Get a Life in one fell swoop. Published May 2011.

“About midway through the double-zero decade I decided that I needed to enhance my skills and move in a direction that would give me a possible edge over other designers and creative directors. What I got was a life AND career changing experience.” Read more…

Denise DeLuca, MCAD MASD faculty, showed us an alternative business model in Nature’s Business Plan. Published March 2011.

“What is nature’s alternative to the old plan-and-execute model? Nature, actually, has many alternatives to that, one of which is to sense and respond. Nature’s organisms and systems are full of feedback loops constantly operating at all scales of time and space – feedback loops that are composed of perfectly matched sensors, receivers, and responders. The sense-and-respond approach allows appropriate positive outcomes to emerge in nature rather than pushing pre-determined goal forwards, regardless of changing conditions.” Read more…

Susan Crow

Jewelry designer Susan Crow is the creative mind behind the brand, East Fourth Street. Once referred to by Huffington Post as the “woman with a passion for sustainable jewels for the conscientious person,” Susan’s work is a marriage of design and socially responsible ethics.

Clean lines, organic shapes created in 18kt gold for a client seeking minimalist elegance without complexity, characterize her work. East Fourth Street was recently included in the leading B2B Italian Fashion Trend magazine Collezioni Accessori’s Eco-Feature because Susan is devoted to responsible jewelry supply chains, design practices and was one of the first designers to bring Fairmined gold to U.S. jewelry buyers in 2013.

She sources diamonds from certified reclaimed diamond suppliers, colored gemstones from suppliers that have established programs that support the mining and cutting communities that mine and produce them, and using Fairmined metals that return profits back to artisanal mining communities ensuring that their gold is mercury-free. Her studio strives for zero waste, low energy, and responsible chemical use.

Rita Penrod

Rita Penrod is a designer and sustainability consultant for FourFive Sustainable Design based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Motivated by a desire for positive change, Rita’s work approaches sustainability through holistic systems thinking – with the understanding that everything is designed, from products and services to businesses and lifestyles, empowering all people to create a more sustainable existence. She uses systems thinking methodologies, life cycle assessment, innovation techniques and ethics-based marketing methods to design products, strategies and communications for our clients that positively affect the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit. Rita believes Four Five’s thoughtful and creative
approach is critical to a company’s survival in this era of consumer awareness, economic challenges, and tightening environmental regulations. Rita graduated with a Professional Certificate in Sustainable Design in 2009. Rita is based in Minnesota.

Denise DeLuca / Former Director

Denise DeLuca is the Director of MCAD’s Sustainable Design program. She was co-founder of BCI: Biomimicry Creative for Innovation, a network of creative professional change agents driving ecological thinking for radical transformation. Denise is author of the book Re-Aligning with Nature: Ecological Thinking for Radical Transformation, which was illustrated by MASD alum Stephanie Koehler. She also teaches with the Amani Institute.

Denise’s previous roles include Education Director for the International Living Future Institute, Project Manager for Swedish Biomimetics 3000, and Outreach Director for The Biomimicry Institute. Denise is a licensed civil engineer (PE) and holds a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering with a focus on modeling landscape-scale surface and groundwater interactions.  In addition, Denise is a Biomimicry Fellow and a member of the Advisory Council of The Biomimicry InstituteBoard Member of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP), on the editorial board of the Journal of Bionic Engineering, and an Expert with Katerva. Denise is based in Oregon.

contact:  [email protected]